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Go Back   Casebook Forums > Ripper Discussions > Police Officials and Procedures > General Police Discussion

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  #261  
Old 08-13-2017, 07:49 AM
John G John G is offline
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Originally Posted by David Orsam View Post
But he gave evidence before Cross, so he could hardly dispute what hadn't yet been said.

He wasn't psychic John!



I don't actually know what discretion you are talking about. The Police Code doesn't refer to any discretion. It just says an officer should take details in a criminal case or a case of accident. You are the one introducing discretion. But discretion means freedom to make one's own decision so if he has discretion it makes a nonsense of it if he gets in trouble for using it!!!
However, his evidence is clearly at variance with that of Cross', David. And discretion doesn't mean unfetted discretion. He would be expected to exercise any discretion sensibly, taking into account all relevant circumstances.

Thus, it could be argued that if he was told that there was a woman lying down, possibly dead, he could reasonably conclude that a crime may have taken place, and therefore should have taken particulars.

Last edited by John G : 08-13-2017 at 07:53 AM.
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  #262  
Old 08-13-2017, 08:10 AM
David Orsam David Orsam is offline
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But the Code doesn't say anything about "state of knowledge"
John, you were the one who referred to "sensible construction" of the code. So there can only be a requirement for a constable to take details in a criminal case when he actually knows it to be a criminal case. Otherwise it's a code for psychics and mind readers.
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  #263  
Old 08-13-2017, 09:21 AM
John G John G is offline
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John, you were the one who referred to "sensible construction" of the code. So there can only be a requirement for a constable to take details in a criminal case when he actually knows it to be a criminal case. Otherwise it's a code for psychics and mind readers.
Hi David,

But that doesn't make any sense. I mean, how could he possibly know that it's a criminal case, or an accident, until an autopsy has been carried out? Or at least until he'd visited the crime scene himself. He can't be expected to simply take the word of a total stranger, as they might be lying, or their account may be unreliable.

That cannot possibly be the purpose of the Code, otherwise no officer would take down particulars whatever the circumstances. On that basis the Code becomes meaningless.

However, if we take a purposive approach, we could say that the officer would be allowed a certain amount of discretion, but obviously not unfettered discretion. In other words, he's required to exercise this discretion sensibly. This would give the Code efficacy.

And, on that basis, it might be argued that if he's informed there's a woman lying down, possibly injured, or even dead, then a crime may have been committed, and therefore it would be sensible for him, in these circumstances, to take down particulars.

Last edited by John G : 08-13-2017 at 09:36 AM.
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  #264  
Old 08-13-2017, 10:09 AM
David Orsam David Orsam is offline
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Hi David,

But that doesn't make any sense. I mean, how could he possibly know that it's a criminal case, or an accident, until an autopsy has been carried out? Or at least until he'd visited the crime scene himself. He can't be expected to simply take the word of a total stranger, as they might be lying, or their account may be unreliable.

That cannot possibly be the purpose of the Code, otherwise no officer would take down particulars whatever the circumstances. On that basis the Code becomes meaningless.

However, if we take a purposive approach, we could say that the officer would be allowed a certain amount of discretion, but obviously not unfettered discretion. In other words, he's required to exercise this discretion sensibly. This would give the Code efficacy.

And, on that basis, it might be argued that if he's informed there's a woman lying down, possibly injured, or even dead, then a crime may have been committed, and therefore it would be sensible for him, in these circumstances, to take down particulars.
I absolutely do not know what you are talking about John. Are you saying a police officer is not expected to know what a crime is? Or an accident?

You seem to be overthinking this by a factor of one million.

The code is clear and simple. When a crime is known, or reported, an officer is required to takes details. The same for an accident. On all other occasions there is no requirement. Forget what transpires later. It is what is known or reported at the time.

There is no discretion there. He just follows the code.

Where there is a known or reported crime or accident. Details.

Where there is no known or reported crime or accident. No details.
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  #265  
Old 08-13-2017, 10:19 AM
John G John G is offline
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I absolutely do not know what you are talking about John. Are you saying a police officer is not expected to know what a crime is? Or an accident?

You seem to be overthinking this by a factor of one million.

The code is clear and simple. When a crime is known, or reported, an officer is required to takes details. The same for an accident. On all other occasions there is no requirement. Forget what transpires later. It is what is known or reported at the time.

There is no discretion there. He just follows the code.

Where there is a known or reported crime or accident. Details.

Where there is no known or reported crime or accident. No details.
No, what I'm saying is that an officer cannot be expected to know whether a crime or accident has actually taken place simply on the basis of what a member of the public had told him. That's a logical certainty. And where does the Code expressly say that he should take down particulars simply because a crime has been reported?
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  #266  
Old 08-13-2017, 10:32 AM
David Orsam David Orsam is offline
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No, what I'm saying is that an officer cannot be expected to know whether a crime or accident has actually taken place simply on the basis of what a member of the public had told him. That's a logical certainty. And where does the Code expressly say that he should take down particulars simply because a crime has been reported?
I thought we were talking about "sensible construction" John. Or are we back on "literal interpretation" now?

A member of the public approaches an officer and says: "I wish to report a murder/assault/theft/burglary/fraud etc. or an accident". According to the code, the officer is obliged to take details. That's because it's a criminal case or a case of accident, regardless of what he then discovers.

If a crime is not reported to him, and he is unaware of a crime having occurred (same with accident), the code doesn't apply.

It's the most simple thing in the world so I fail to see why you are struggling with it.
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  #267  
Old 08-13-2017, 11:17 AM
John G John G is offline
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I thought we were talking about "sensible construction" John. Or are we back on "literal interpretation" now?

A member of the public approaches an officer and says: "I wish to report a murder/assault/theft/burglary/fraud etc. or an accident". According to the code, the officer is obliged to take details. That's because it's a criminal case or a case of accident, regardless of what he then discovers.

If a crime is not reported to him, and he is unaware of a crime having occurred (same with accident), the code doesn't apply.

It's the most simple thing in the world so I fail to see why you are struggling with it.
Hello David,

But where does the Code say that he should take down particulars simply on the basis that a crime has been reported? That in no way necessarily means that a crime has actually taken place. And it certainly doesn't make it a "criminal case".

My salient point here is that, applying a literal meaning, the Code makes no sense. That's why I suggest some sort of Mischief Rule should be applied.

Thus, how can it be a "criminal case" simply because someone says they wish to report an assault or an accident?

Let me put it this way. If you're interpretation is correct that means if a man approaches an officer and says there's a woman lying unconscious in the street, bleeding profusely, and possibly dead, with a bloody knife lying besides the body, he doesn't take particulars even though he might reasonably conclude that a crime, or accident, might have occurred, i.e. on the basis that no crime has been reported.

On the other hand, if a deeply intoxicated person approaches the same officer, or maybe someone who appears to be mentally ill, and then proceeds to give a rambling and largely incoherent account, but just happens to mention that he's discovered an accident, then the officer is expected to take down particulars, even though he might strongly suspect that the person's account is totally unreliable.

How does that make sense?
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  #268  
Old 08-13-2017, 11:27 AM
David Orsam David Orsam is offline
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But where does the Code say that he should take down particulars simply on the basis that a crime has been reported?
Well, John, if you don't think that a constable was required to take down particulars on the basis that a crime had been reported to him then there is no possible criticism of Mizen for not taking particulars where no crime had been reported to him is there?
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  #269  
Old 08-13-2017, 08:05 PM
harry harry is offline
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What Mizen should have done depends on what he was told.As he did leave his beat,and it appears he left because of what was reported to him by Cross/Paul,one might expect it was a little more than,"You are wanted in Bucks Row".If the word dead was mentioned,by either Cross or Paul,alone or in combination with any other description,it was an incident that should have been recorded by Mizen in his notebook,along with the names of Cross and Paul,at that time.
The power to demand names and question persons was Mizen's.He needed no other cause than reasonable belief.
Was Mizen disciplined? Maybe a verbal caution?
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  #270  
Old 08-14-2017, 12:35 AM
John G John G is offline
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Well, John, if you don't think that a constable was required to take down particulars on the basis that a crime had been reported to him then there is no possible criticism of Mizen for not taking particulars where no crime had been reported to him is there?
Hello David,

Time for an overview. I think we're both agreed that, read literally, The Code makes no sense, or at least it imposes strict liability on the officer. This is because an officer is required to take down particulars in a criminal case or an accident, but as you yourself point out he would have to be psychic to know that one of those events had taken place if he hadn't witnessed it himself.

You attempt to get round this problem by effectively inserting the words "informed by a witness" into The Code. However, I would argue this makes no sense as it would mean the officer would be expected to exercise no judgement at all: he's simply expected to trust the witness, no matter how unreliable or dishonest they appear to be.

Conversely, my argument is that he would be expected to weigh up all the circumstances and then exercise good judgement. Thus, if it appeared from the information he was given that a crime or accident had occurred, or if this was a realistic possibility, then he should take down particulars. In the case of Nichols, Cross testified that he informed PC Mizen that she was lying down possibly dead. In these circumstances she may well have had an accident or have been subjected to an assault.

I would have thought, therefore, that a prudent officer would take down particulars in these circumstances, particularly as it might turn out to be an accident or criminal case and he was aware that, in that case, he could be held strictly liable for his failure to do so.

That might explain why he would feel the need to present an alternative scenario, whereby he was informed he was wanted by another officer.

Last edited by John G : 08-14-2017 at 12:41 AM.
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