Firearms Global Perspectives on Consequences, Crime and Control

Dr Helen Poole, Executive Dean of the School of Justice, Security and Sustainability, has co-edited Firearms: Global Perspectives on Consequences, Crime and Control with Dr Simon Sneddon (University of Northampton). The book explores the illicit use of firearms across the globe, including legal, social science, technical and research perspectives on the issue.

Read more here.

The famous ‘Belmarsh case’ – twenty years since the detention of ‘A and others’, in breach of their human rights

On Human Rights Day (10th of December), Aidan Flynn, Senior Lecturer in Law, recollects the famous ‘Belmarsh case’ on the twentieth anniversary of the detentions that led to the case.

Following the Al-Qaeda terrorist attacks in the USA in September 2001, the UK Parliament swiftly passed the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001.  In exercise of his power under section 14 of the Human Rights Act 1998, David Blunkett, the then Home Secretary, made the Human Rights Act 1998 (Designated Derogation) Order 2001.  The derogation related to article 5(1) of the European Convention on Human Rights.  Article 5 of the Convention is concerned with the “right to liberty and security of person.”

The appellants in the ‘Belmarsh case’ were certified by the Home Secretary under section 21 of the 2001 Act.  This led to their detention under section 23 of the Act.  Eight of the nine appellants were detained on the 19th of December 2001.  They were held in high security conditions at Belmarsh prison.  They challenged the lawfulness of their detention, and the case reached the Appellate Committee of the House of Lords, which was the highest court in the land until replaced in 2009 by the Supreme Court of the UK.

Giving the leading judgment, Lord Bingham described the circumstances in which the appellants found themselves in December 2001, “the appellants share certain common characteristics which are central to their appeals.  All are foreign (non-UK) nationals.  None has been the subject of any criminal charge.  In none of their cases is a criminal trial in prospect”

In the Appellate Committee, the case was heard by a panel of nine Law Lords rather than the usual panel size of five.  It had to decide two main issues.  Firstly, were the conditions for derogating from Article 5 met.  Secondly, if they were met and the Derogation Order was lawful, were the provisions of the 2001 Act relating to powers of indefinite executive detention without trial “strictly required by the exigencies of the situation.”  These words are from Article 15 (‘Derogation in time of emergency’) of the Convention, paragraph one of which reads as follows “In time of war or other public emergency threatening the life of the nation any High Contracting Party may take measures derogating from its obligations under this Convention to the extent strictly required by the exigencies of the situation, provided that such measures are not inconsistent with its other obligations under international law.”

On the first issue the Appellate Committee decided that the question involved a political judgment with which it should not interfere.  Lord Bingham said “I would accept that great weight should be given to the judgment of the Home Secretary, his colleagues and Parliament on this question, because they were called on to exercise a pre-eminently political judgment.”  However, Lord Hoffmann dissented, taking the view that the events of ‘9/11’ did not constitute a public emergency threatening the life of the British nation.  He commented that “whether we would survive Hitler hung in the balance, but there is no doubt that we shall survive Al-Qaeda.”

On the second issue, the decision of the Appellate Committee has been summarised by Lord Bingham in his well-known book ‘The Rule of Law.’  The provisions of the 2001 Act were “incompatible with the UK’s obligations under the Convention ………… the measure did not rationally address the threat to security, was not a proportionate response, was not strictly required by the exigencies of the situation and unjustifiably discriminated against foreign nationals on grounds of their nationality.”   The 2001 Act was discriminatory because it differentiated between non-UK citizens and UK citizens.  UK citizens could not be detained in the same way under the terms of the Act.  This was one of the strong arguments advanced by the appellants which led the Appellate Committee to reverse the decision of the Court of Appeal.  The Committee issued a declaration of incompatibility under section 4 of the Human Rights Act.  Section 23 of the 2001 Act was incompatible with Articles 5 and 14 (‘Prohibition of discrimination’) of the European Convention.

In his recently published book, Sir Jack Beatson identifies the ‘Belmarsh case’ and Ghaidan, from the same year, as examples of the principle of non-discrimination.  This principle is a requirement of the European Convention on Human Rights.  Most provisions of the Convention were given effect in UK law by the Human Rights Act 1998 which came into force on the 2nd of October 2000.

 

 

 

 

Closing the door on protection? Exploring the impact of lockdown upon children and young people’s services in the UK

Dr Luke Telford has co-writen a journal article called “Closing the door on protection? Exploring the impact of lockdown upon children and young people’s services in the UK”, with D. Briggs, A. Ellis, A. Lloyd, and J. Kotzé. The article was published in the YVJ special issue, Critical youth voices on the Covid 19 pandemic: International perspectives and can be found here

Law Book Club

The first session of this year’s LLB Book Club was held on the afternoon of Wednesday the 6th of October

The book club is part of a range of activities the Law department are implementing for our students outside of teaching.

Students are reading and talking about Fake Law: The Truth About Justice in an Age of Lies, which was published in 2020. 

They are enjoying the opportunity to converse in a very convivial setting about the range of issues that the author explores, issues that deserve the attention of not just law students but everyone.

An observational study using the Impact Point approach to measure the utility of digital forensic science in online child sexual exploitation cases

The Centre for Crime, Justice and Security carried out work for the Home Office on the effectiveness of digital forensics in child sexual exploitation.

‘An observational study using the Impact Point approach to measure the utility of digital forensic science in online child sexual exploitation cases’ can be accessed here

G7 Speakers’ Conference in Lancashire

G7 Speakers recently met face-to-face at their annual conference which was held in Chorley in Lancashire. Aidan Flynn, Senior Lecturer in Law, reflects on the role of Speaker of the House of Commons.

The G7 Speakers’ Conference took place in Lancashire from the 17th to the 19th of September.  It was hosted by Sir Lindsay Hoyle MP, the Speaker of the House of Commons, and the theme was ‘Secure versus Open Parliaments?’  Sir Lindsay welcomed Speakers and Presiding Officers representing Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the USA and the European Parliament. 

The Speaker of the House of Commons chairs debates in the Commons Chamber.  The holder of this office is an MP who is elected to be Speaker by other Members of Parliament.  Baroness Boothroyd, the first female speaker (1992 to 2000), referred to the office as “the top insider’s job in the Mother of Parliaments”

Sir Lindsay’s immediate predecessor has stated that the role involves “a duty to stand up for MPs individually, to champion Parliament institutionally and to try to make Parliament look more like the country we are charged to represent”  In the words of other former speakers, the holder of the office “should be the servant of the House and not of the executive” and must “exercise a firm hand and throw out the people who break the rules.”

Richard Onslow, speaker from 1527/8 to 1571, is buried in Shrewsbury, the county town of Shropshire.  The Onslow Monument is inside Shrewsbury Abbey, a Parish Church in the Church of England Diocese of Lichfield.

 

How I Stepped Up to Level Five

Shabana Butt completed the Step Up to HE programme at Staffordshire University and is now starting level 5 of her Criminal Justice with Offender Management degree (second year of a three year degree and third year with a foundation year degree). Shabana shares her experiences of studying the Step Up programme and how it helped prepare her for further study. 

From a young age I was always fascinated with the law and the criminal justice system and toyed with the idea of becoming a solicitor working in the criminal justice sector. I left school with some GCSEs but did not progress to further or higher education. Fast forward in time to 2019, and my children were now of secondary school age and I felt that the time was now right for me to ‘do something for me’ and take up studying in higher education.

I saw an ad on my sister’s FaceBook for the Step Up to HE at Staffordshire University. I went onto the Staffordshire university website and started to research how to enrolL on the the ‘Step Up’ programme. I completed an online application form and then had an interview with Ashley Cotton who was running the programme.

I received an email letting me know that I was successful in the interview; I was offered a place on the step of programme and enrolled on the course, which started in April 2019. I was excited and a bit nervous of what I was letting myself in for. I had face to face sessions with Ashley and Judy Rimmer, and we were given sessions on study skills, essay writing and academic referencing. I was shown how to set out an academic piece of work and how to use Harvard (a referencing system).  We were involved in some basic group discussions and some simple presentations. The whole purpose of the Step Up to HE seemed to be to preparing us for study in higher education and we had the opportunity to write an essay about a subject of our choice. We were asked to complete an assignment discussing a medical situation; I wrote about diabetes.

I submitted the assignment on Turnitin on Blackboard; we had been shown how to use Turnitin on the programme. I knew that if I was successful, I would be able to progress to a full degree at Staffordshire university. I was excited and really pleased, because I had worked very hard and got 70% on my assignment. It was the first time I had undertaken an academic piece of writing since I was at school, but the help of Ashley and the other tutors my experience was absolutely fantastic and really built my confidence. Ashley and the tutors put on a graduation ceremony for us, and we had a buffet, pictures were taken and we were made to feel very special by Staffordshire University.

I was still interested in law and the criminal justice system, so I enrolled on the LLB with a Foundation Year (FY). I had a great time on the foundation year and received a lot of support and met a lot of really nice friends, some of whom I still I’m in contact with and are on the same course as me now. It was far more intense undertaking the full-time foundation year as we had four modules and were required to be in the university for a lot longer.

I had a lot of support by my tutors on level three on the foundation year and I could see how there was a natural progression from the ‘Step Up’ Programme to the FY year. Both programmes provided me with ample support and the opportunity to develop my skills and build my confidence as I approached the full three-year programme. I really enjoyed my criminal law and criminal justice modules in the foundation year.

A level four student called Farida Zerglaine was on a course called Criminal Justice with Offender Management and she told me how she was really enjoying it. She said that she had a fantastic time on the level four and recommended that I go on to that because I liked the criminal side of my studies. I spoke to the course leader who was also the tutor my FY module – Louis Martin. He explained to me that the course was about people who are interested in working in the criminal justice sector working with offenders and young offenders. I was interested in working with young offenders in Stoke and had some experience of the youth offending service. I decided to transfer onto the Offender Management course, and I had a fantastic first year.  All the support and guidance provided by Staffordshire university over the last two years really prepared me for success on the Offender Management course.

So here we are! I write this now as I start on level 5 and have already done some research for my research project on youth offending and I wrote a blog about this earlier on in the year. I can’t wait to start in October I’m really looking forward to it.

For more information about studying Offender Management with us, visit our Criminology course page to read more about our new Criminology with Offender Management pathway. 

 

 

Former Forensic Investigation Student appointed Crime Scene Manager.

Craig Ratcliffe graduated with an MSCi in Forensic Investigation in 2015 from the School of Law Policing and Forensics.

At the end of his degree year in 2014 he was selected to undertake a 6 week placement with Staffordshire Police through the Staffordshire Forensic Partnership. During his placement he worked on a joint project entitled The Use of Immersive Digital Technologies for Police and Forensic Services in 21st Century.

It is what we would now call Virtual Reality and was clearly ahead of its time, as it is really only in the last couple of years that police forces have started to seriously look at VR as a means of delivering realistic practical training for officers and staff.

Craig’s first role after graduation was with West Mercia Police working as Digital Forensic Investigator which saw him capturing CCTV from both residential and commercial crime scenes. A year later he joined Staffordshire Police as a Digital Forensic Investigator which involved recovering CCTV evidence and attending and taking photographs at post mortems to assist police, the coroner and where required the court.

In 2017 he was appointed a Forensic Investigator (CSI) within Staffordshire realising a long held ambition.

His role was and is to attend (mainly) volume crime scenes to recover forensic evidence such as DNA, fingerprints, and footwear impressions. Craig attributes his degree and experience from Staffordshire University as giving him the basic skills and confidence to start a career in the police.

Earlier this year after some four years experience as a Forensic Investigator, Craig was appointed a Crime Scene Manager within Staffordshire Police. He is the youngest person in the force to hold the position. Whilst he remains an FI on a day-to-day basis, when it comes to major or complex crime scenes the role sees Craig directing and tasking other Forensic Investigators to carry out scene actions relating to the incident they are dealing with. The CSM also creates a scene and crime specific forensic strategy to ensure that best evidence is preserved.

The role is also a liaison one, linking in with Senior Investigating Officers, attending briefings and working with the Forensic Coordinator to ensure that the correct resources are available.

Craig is also using his experience to help develop the next generation of forensic specialists studying at Staffordshire University as he has joined the Staffordshire Forensic Partnership as a work stream lead. He hopes to be able to attend lectures and mentor students undertaking a placement project very much as he did in 2014.

Here is Craig speaking in 2019 of his student experience with the SFP at the 3rd year celebrations of the partnership.

 

 

Criminogenic Dynamics of the Construction Industry: A State-Corporate Crime Perspective

Dr Jon Davies’ paper in the Journal of White Collar and Corporate Crime “contributes to the state-corporate crime agenda by demonstrating how discussions on criminogenic industry structures provide critical links between organizational processes and broader political-economic dynamics, which is crucial for developing a criminological discourse.”

Read ‘Criminogenic Dynamics of the Construction Industry: A State-Corporate Crime Perspective’ here