Should Police Officers Carry Guns at All Time?

Campaigners argue whether or not police officers should start carrying guns with them at all times. The debate was fuelled after the recent tragic event with two policemen from Manchester who were injured fatally while checking a house for burglary. Whether or not police officers should carry guns with them routinely is a question argued strongly by both sides.

Recent debates have arisen among campaigners after two policemen got killed while on duty in Manchester. The debate is now whether or not police officers should routinely carry guns with them while on duty. The two policemen, Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes, are said to be killed the other day after they responded to a call about a burglary. When the officers went to the house, Dale Cregan came out firing and throwing a grenade which fatally injured the policemen.

Since the tragic incident, many have started arguing that officers across the entire UK should carry guns with them while performing their duties. Darren Rathband, the brother of late police officer David Rathband, stated that it is ‘beggar’s belief’ that policemen across the UK remain unarmed. Darren Rathband took his life after being blinded on duty. It is the 21st century and policemen should not be expected to fight crime with just a piece of plastic and a spray. No more police officers should die before actions are taken to prevent this and allow them to carry guns with them even for their own protection when circumstances require.

Other officials who supported the campaigners for policemen to carry guns include Michael Winner, founder of the Police Memorial Trust, and Toy Rayner, former chairman of Essex Police Federation. The former chairman of Tory, Lord Tebbit, went even further. He wrote to the Daily Telegraph by saying that the government should bring back the death penalty for those who kill police officers. According to him, ‘it is time we thought again about the deterrent effect of the shadow of the gallows.”

However, the other side of the debate called for no reactionary changes in the wake of the recent tragic events. As stated by the Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, Sir Peter Fahy, his force is “passionate that the British style of policing is routinely unarmed policing.” He alseo added that by judging the experience in America, even if police officers wear guns with them at all times performing their duties, sadly does not mean that they do not get shot. According to him, the fact that police officers will carry a gun with them at all times cannot guarantee the safety of their lives. A survey conducted in 2006 revealed that out of the 47,000 officers questioned, 87% of them actually opposed the idea of carrying a gun with them routinely. The former deputy assistant commissioner for the Metropolitan police, Brian Paddick, stated that to aim at all police officers in England, Scotland and Wales would turn out to be ‘cost-prohibitive in a time of austerity’.

Here, at The Legal Stop, we do not carry guns with us, but we are always armed with up to date legal documents to satisfy every business need:
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SRA Surprise Visits

The Solicitors Regulation Authority, or just SRA, has announced that
there will be unexpected visits to law firms. The reason for the
planned surprise visits is for the organization to collect accurate
statistical data about the diversity of firms staff and make sure that
firms comply with the diversity requirements and promote diversity in
the legal profession.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority is said to make 100 ‘randomly
selected’ visits to law firms. The intention of the visits is to
observe and assess whether or not those law firms comply with
mandatory requirements for diversity. This plan was
announced just last week in Manchester by the Law Society Firms
Diversity Forum. As stated by one attendee, the plan ‘went down like a
lead balloon’. Even though that the name of the 100 firms was not
identified, the purpose of the visits according to the SRA is to
identify ‘how equality and diversity outcomes are being delivered in
practice’. The visits are also part of a two-stage profession-wide
survey. By September the 4th, 7,131 out of 11,000 firms have completed
such questionnaires and the result showed that 186,084 people work in
those firms. The second-stage questionnaire is intended to be filled
out by each member of staff, providing information like their
ethnicity, disabilities, and age. Other information that will also be
collected includes data about sexual orientation, religious beliefs,
and gender reassignment.

The Legal Services Board in August 2011 announced that the main reason
why diversity data will be collected derives from a statuary
requirement. Additionally, it will become an obligation for all law
firms and chambers as well to present statistical information on their
company websites about the diversity profile of their employees. The
importance of publishing such information comes from the fact that
firms encourage diversity in the legal profession and they comply with
the diverse membership.

The survey’s findings by SRA will be published next year. However, for
the subsequent years it will be a requirement for law firms and
chambers to publish their own statistical data on their websites.
Mehrunnisa Lalani, SRA director of inclusion, stated that some firms
showed resistance to provide such type of information. She stressed
however that the required information must be presented and even if
some people prefer to stay confidential, there is a ‘prefer not to
say’ option. Lalani also added that the visits are intended to
‘capture accurate and complete data about diversity to ensure delivery
of the right outcomes’.

The SRA visits were supposed to start beginning of this month, however
due to the approaching SRA’s movement to new Birmingham premises,
these visits will be delayed. In order to help law firms and chamber
prepare for the surprise visits, the Law Society had published a
practice note earlier in July in order to help the companies comply
with the new requirements for collecting diversity data. According to
President Lucy Scott-Moncrieff, this is said to ‘help the Law Society
better meet the needs of our diverse membership and promote greater
diversity in the profession.’

If you are looking to employ someone visit The Legal Stop and get the necessary Employment documents

Overstaying Migrants hunted down by Capita

The services company Capita has been hired to hunt down migrants who overstay their visits in England, Scotland and Wales. The firm is hired to find those people and assist them in leaving the country within 28 days. Migrants whose visas have expired are no longer allowed to stay in the United Kingdom.
It was recently announced that a private firm will be hired to hunt down overstaying migrants in England, Scotland and Wales. The firm ‘s job will be to oversee if and which immigrants are staying in the UK more than permitted. Overstaying a leave in the UK is a crime and every migrant found to be convicted, will be forced to leave the
country as soon as possible.

The contract was won by the services company Capita. It grants the responsibility to find overstaying immigrants around the UK, contact them with every means possible and make sure that the person will leave the country. Migrants with expired visas will be tracked down and contacted to provide information on when they plan to leave the
country.

The “migrant refusal pool” from 2008 holds 174,000 names of people who are overstaying their visit in the country. The list consists of information about such people. For example, people who were refused an extension to their visas and are staying longer than allowed. However, the details in the “migrant refusal pool” are not accurate enough so as to say whether or not these people are still in the country or have left.  As stated, Capita will have the responsibility and duty to check this information and take actions if necessary.

MP Keith Vaz recently announced that Capita will be “laughing all the way to the bank” because no performance targets have been established for the firm to meet. Rob Whiteman, UK Border Agency chief executive, dismissed those criticisms as well as many others concerning the contract with the service company. He further explained that no such misunderstanding will occur, simply because the firm will be paid on the number of people contacted on the list. Generally, the potential value of the contract is £4m, in case that is if the firm is especially successful.

There are other two MPs who have also stated that it is a flawed approach not to constitute what success is exactly. The “migrant refusal pool” lists consists of both workers and students who are no longer granted the opportunity to stay in the country because their visas have expired. These people will be expected to leave the United Kingdom within 28 days after being contacted. They can only stay longer either if they apply and remain under another category or if they appeal against the decision. Failing to do so will be forced to leave the country. The firm will not meet with the individual and discuss issues face to face. Contact will be established through phone calls, emails and text messages. The firm will also assist individuals in leaving the UK. Capita will provide the information to the UKBA should an individual refuses to leave the country.

Co-operative The First to Add Family Law to its Offerings

The first consumer brand to add Family Legal Services to its basket is one of the well established market leaders – the Co-operative.

It was recently announced that due to the official launch of the Co-operative family law services, the supermarket brands will enter into the reserved legal services. As stated by the mutual, the customer service charter that will be published premises that there will be ‘no nasty surprises’ on the product fees. Additionally, the charter will also include a jargon-free service, according to which clients will be treated as individuals. This strategy has been used by The Legal Stop, as well in order to make it easier for everyone, when it comes to legal documents online.

Since the changes of Legal Services Act 2007, it was the Co-operative to become the foremost consumer brand to be granted with an alternative structure for its business in April. Christina Blacklaws, Law Society council member for child care and former TV Edwards partner, leads the family law unit. According to latest news, the Co-operative will present a full list of the family law services available. These will include, but are not limited to, child protection, divorce, financial issues and mediation. Additionally, the Co-operative has the license to provide to customers a face-to-face legal help for Westminster. The mutual will also apply for other licenses in the nearer future.

The Legal Services of the Co-operative was set up in 2006 and it is estimated that out of the 500 staff employed, 281 are actually lawyers. A recruitment plan has been introduced in the beginning of June so that the number of staff could increase by 3,000 over the following years.

Tax evasion – Highest Among Barristers

London barristers are said to be the high risk sector targeted for tax evasion.

HM Revenue & Customs recently launched a restriction on tax evasion for the lawyers in London which is anticipated to produce £3m. According to the HMRC, it is the Capital’s legal profession that is considered to be one of the trade sectors exposed to high risk and as such it will be scrutinized by tax inspectors. The 300 highest risk cases will be chosen and tax specialists will visit the firms to analyze and check the records as well as to conduct any further investigations if necessary.  Other sectors that will be examined by the HMRC include the grocery and retail (South and North Wales), hair and beauty salons (North-East), restaurants (South-East), and the motor trade (Scotland). According to the HMRC, the expected amount to be recovered from ‘tax dodgers’ could hit

The actions are result of the government £917m spending on tackling the tax evasion, avoidance and fraud. The government has also set a target to raise additional £7bn each year by 2014/15. Since 2011, the HMRC has officially set about 30 task teams which firstly focused on the restaurant trade. According to the exchequer secretary David Gauke, the government will no longer tolerate tax evasion and will make sure that everyone who breaks the rules will take responsibility. He also added that it is not fare to the hard-working people to industriously pay their taxes and others to avoid paying what they have to.

As announced by a Law Society spokesman, the HMRC team forces will collect the due taxes not only in the legal sector but also elsewhere. The investigations will be conducted in confidence until they are resolved and complete.

It was announced that the legal profession is the one at high risk, but Michael Todd QC said that the Bar Council does not give any clear reason so as to why the London barristers have been target as failing to meet their tax obligations. According to him, barristers are the one who bring billions in revenue for the UK and keep the country’s renowned reputation for excellent justice system. Todd’s predecessor Peter Lodder QC had invited Gauke last December in order to discuss why barristers need to pay taxes on work that is done and yet no fees were paid by the government. Todd announced that Gauke has declined the offer to meet, and only yesterday it became apparent that HMRC had special concerns about the lawyer’s tax affairs. He also said that HMRC should use ‘the channels of communication with the relevant professional bodies, which have always been open.’

 

What is Domestic Violence – Broaden Definition Soon

A broaden definition of domestic violence will be set by the government in order to protect those trapped in coercive abuse.

It was recently announced that the government intends to broaden the definition of domestic violence for partners with problems of controlling behavior.  The charges brought against such people were leaked to the Daily Mail and will be publicised by Home Secretary Theresa May later today. Despite the fact the there is no legal definition of what exactly constitutes domestic abuse, the ministers have agreed on one in 2004. According to it, partners with domestic abuse problems will be facing charges for “all forms of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse”. The broadened definition of domestic abuse will also include “controlling” and “coercive” behaviour. That is for example, if a partner asks irrational requests and deprives the other of money or from seeing their friends and going out of the house. The expanded definition also states that even the under 18 year olds can face charges for domestic violence.

The Centre for Social Justice have produced a rapport and the changes specified above as well as any further information about the broaden definition of domestic abuse will appear at the back. The Centre has identified the different forms of abuse and has also presented steps on how to hold responsible the people who commit domestic abuse.  According to Christian Guy of CSJ, it is high time the low started to protect those ambushed by coercive abuse. The broadened definition of domestic abuse will help those people trapped in emotional abuse. According to the chief executive of Co-ordinated Action against Domestic Abuse Diana Barran, such a controlling behavior can be even more dangerous than physical violence. Recent statistics have revealed that controlling abuse is a predicament of domestic killing rather than physical violence. David Cameron made a proclamation in March that stalking will also be considered as a specific criminal offence. However in July, a schemed called Clare’s Law will allow people to stalk their partners for previous domestic violence convictions.

 

How to Enforce Judgement

Even if your legal action is successful, you may need to enforce judgement against the other party because they still fail to pay you.

You can apply to the court for an order to obtain information from the debtor about their financial circumstances, which involves them going to court to be questioned under oath. The type of information you can ask for includes:

  • details of employment status (such as employer and earnings) and any other income;
  • details of dependants and any outgoings paid from income;
  • whether they own any property which could be sold to meet the debt; and
  • whether they hold any money in bank or building society accounts.

This information will give you a clearer picture of whether it’s worth enforcing judgement against them.

If you decide to proceed with enforcing judgement, the following options are available:

Warrant of execution  

This allows court bailiffs to take goods from your debtor’s home or business and the goods will be sold at auction.

Attachment of earnings order

This usually applies to an individual person in employment.The employer is ordered to make deductions from the person’s wages or salary.

Third-party debt order

This is where the court orders a ‘freeze’ on money held by a person, institution or organisation, which might otherwise be paid to a defendant against whom you have a judgement. The order will prevent withdrawal of the money until the court decides whether all or part of it should be paid to you.

Charging order

The court places a ‘charge’ on the debtor’s property which is equivalent to the amount you are owed. A charging order does not oblige the debtor to sell their property, but if they do, they must pay you before they can take the rest of the proceeds.

Receiver

If you believe that you can’t recover your debt using the methods above, you can apply to the court to approve a receiver, who you have selected, to conduct an ‘equitable execution’. This involves the receiver collecting money which the debtor is owed by other people, such as rent due on properties they own, in order to repay you.

Winding up or bankruptcy

As last resort you can apply for a bankruptcy or winding-up petition, to stop the individual or business from continuing to trade.

 

Free legal document templates and forms.

The Legal Ombudsman Publishes a List of Decisions

An online list of decisions made by the Legal Ombudsman, related to complaints from consumers has been published today. It includes 770 lawyers and law firms from England and Wales.

This report contains information, about the legal services` providers, which have been a subject of complaints submitted to the ombudsman and faced a formal decision. This report will be published every three months, with the first part including information from April to July. Now this list contains about 920 decisions for cases resolved in the stated period.

The list includes facts such as: the number of decisions made by the Legal Ombudsman, regarding each of the firms, the area of law, the date, the nature of remedy awarded and of course, the reason for the complaint.

Adam Sampson-chief legal ombudsman said: What we are publishing is factual data, not opinion, and what we are trying to do with this policy is give objective information about the way the market is operating.’

This move aims to provide transparency on how the system works, to protect the consumer interests and to appeal for higher standards within the legal services area, including the online legal document templates. This report is a reflexion of a careful, detailed review of the profession and its duties, as well as other ombudsman schemes. The next list of decisions is due to be published I November.

Elizabeth France – chair of the Office for Legal Complaints said: ‘We hope this information will help manage consumer expectations of what the Legal Ombudsman can offer and encourage improvement in complaint-handling by lawyers.’

The list of decisions related to complaints from lawyers and law firms was planned to be released in august, however due to some administrative issues, it has been postponed. There were claims that the delay was caused by solicitors` complaints, however the ombudsman denied this.  In addition, he also rejected the statement that “publishing complaints constituted a “naming and shaming” policy”.

Last November, the idea for publishing such a list has been announced and soon after a decision was made. The Law Society opposed it by saying this will not be relevant to the public, but will harm companies with high work volumes, instead.

Less Juvenile Custodial Sentences in 2012

Fewer youths convicted of knife crimes have been sent to prison compared to last year figures.

The Knife Possession Sentencing Report has been published by the Ministry of justice yesterday. It shows a detailed statistical data related to knife possession offences and compares the figures from 2011 and 2012. According to the report  the period April – June in 2012, 7% of all juveniles (51 of over 1100), convicted of knife crimes were given a custodial sentencing, compared to the 11% in the same period for 2012.  In addition, the proportion of warnings and reprimands increased to 31% and community sentences to 56%.

The situation with adult offenders is the same. Less adults has been given custodial sentencing and the suspended sentences are now more likely to be handed down. The results shown by the report were a little bit surprising, as the Sentencing Guidelines Council, especially instructed the magistrates to be very tough when it comes to knife possession sentences. A judgment from the Court of Appeal in May 2008 said that knife possession sentences should be “at the top end of the range”.

The new MoJ head Chris Graying might want to make tougher sentences for people convicted of knife crimes.

During the time Mr. Graying served as a” shadow home secretary” he spoke out against the Labour government stance on knife offences, by writing that ““the presumption should be that if you are caught carrying a knife, you will go to prison”.

The MoJ spokesman said that the fewer number of custodial sentences did not mean that there is a softening on such kind of offences. “Those convicted and sentenced to prison for knife possession are receiving longer sentences compared to a year ago. “Any adult who commits a crime using a knife can expect to be sent to prison and serious offenders can expect a long sentence.”

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Planning Laws Relaxation – Good or Bad

The government has made a move, which hopefully will boost the economics.  Today a temporary relaxation of planning laws has been announced.

The home-owners will now be able to construct extensions into their gardens (up-to-8m-long), without being necessary to go through the whole procedure of acquiring a planning permission from their local council. This relaxation will be valid for until the next year. This relaxation will be valid for business as well, because the government is determined to apply all necessary methods in order to give the economy a push.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: “This government means business in delivering plans to help people build new homes and kick-start the economy.

“We’re determined to cut through the bureaucracy that holds us back. That starts with getting the planners off our backs, getting behind the businesses that have the ambition to expand and meeting the aspirations of families that want to buy or improve a home.”

However on the other hand the Local Government Association has questioned the idea that planning laws are holding back development. Accordiing to the Association the planning laws do not cost that much time and are not a significant obstacle, when it comes to building, as the records show there are about 400,000 prospective homes, which have not yet been built.

The relaxation of the planning laws allow extension of  up to 8m for detached houses and 6m for the rest. Businesses are given the right to extend shops by 100 square meters and industrial units by 200 square meters.

Labour opposed the government`s plans and attacked it by saying
“With our economy in a double-dip recession and a serious housing crisis, the Government are kidding themselves if they think these announcements are up to the scale of the challenge.
“The fundamental problem is not the planning system or Section 106 agreements for much needed affordable housing, it is the lack of confidence and demand in the economy, slashed public investment and the Government’s failing economic plan.” (Rachel Reeves)

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