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RANK AND FILE SCEPTICISM ON 'JUDGE DREDD' POWERS

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Police officers have doubts about the idea of giving them summary powers, as proposed by the Association of Chief P...
Police officers have doubts about the idea of giving them summary powers, as proposed by the Association of Chief Police Officers.

Glen Smythe, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, told BBC Radio Four's Today programme this morning: 'We're less than enthusiastic about the proposal.'

It would blur the line between the police and the courts and could be the thin end of the wedge, he said, adding: 'If you want a Judge Dredd type system, this would probably be the way you might start.'

Mr Smythe said his federation was calling for a royal commission that could consider 'the justice system, policing and what we expect of the police service'. An in-depth inquiry of this kind was long overdue, he said.

The LGA also expressed concerns. Graham Brown, deputy chairman of the Safer Communities Board, said: 'The police already have powers to deal quickly and decisively with rowdy behaviour in many areas. The courts may be relatively slow but, equally, local people may question extra powers that would allow the police to dispatch justice in this way.

'It is vital that individual police officers can be held to account for their actions. Proper safeguards would need to be put in place to ensure that the police do not abuse new powers and end up alienating local people.

'These kinds of measures need to be intelligently applied to stop them simply shifting problems to a different area. To issue fines and banning orders in isolation will do little to address long-term problems that affect towns and cities. The main focus of police and local authorities must be on stopping antisocial behaviour before it happens in the first place.'

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