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The Special Constabulary is the United Kingdom's part-time police force. It is made up of volunteer members of the public who when on duty wear a uniform and have full police powers. There are nearly 20,000 Specials serving with police forces across the UK, working in all aspects of policing.

Our website and forum is packed with information for anyone interested in the UK's Special Constabulary - whether you're a serving Special Constable, maybe thinking of joining, or simply wanting to find out more about "Specials".

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BBC: Cannabis war 'comprehensively lost', says William Hague

Cannabis war 'comprehensively lost', says William Hague 19 June 2018 Image copyright Reuters Former Conservative leader Lord Hague has called for a "decisive change" in the law on cannabis - suggesting that the Tories should consider legalising recreational use of the drug. Writing in the Daily Telegraph, he said "any war" has been "irreversibly lost". Lord Hague goes further than senior Tories who have suggested a law change after a boy with epilepsy was given a special licence to use cannabis oil. The government is creating an expert panel to look into individual cases. Last week officials at Heathrow Airport confiscated Billy Caldwell's cannabis oil, which the 12-year-old's mother Charlotte had been attempting to bring into the UK from Canada. The Home Office returned some of the medicine after protests from Ms Caldwell, and assurances from the medical team treating Billy that the treatment was necessary. Billy was discharged from hospital on Monday, but will continue to be treated with the oil. Reality Check: Does UK export the most legal cannabis? Most UK cannabis 'super strength skunk' Lord Hague said the episode "provides one of those illuminating moments when a longstanding policy is revealed to be inappropriate, ineffective and utterly out of date". By returning the medicine, the Home Office had "implicitly conceded that the law has become indefensible", he said. Lord Hague said licensing cannabis for medical use would be a "step forward", but also said the Conservatives should be as "bold" as Canada where state-regulated recreational consumption is being considered. 'Multi-billion pound black market' Currently, cannabis is a Class B drug, with penalties for possession of up to five years in prison. Lord Hague's remarks mark a significant change of heart - as Tory leader between 1997 and 2001, he called for a tough approach to drug law enforcement. Image copyright Reuters Image caption Lord Hague said Billy Caldwell's case was an "illuminating moment" But in a message to his party colleagues, he said: "We are pragmatists, who change with society and revise our opinions when the facts change. On this issue, the facts have changed very seriously and clearly." "As far as marijuana, or cannabis, is concerned, any war has been comprehensively and irreversibly lost," he said. It was "nothing short of deluded" to think the drug could be driven off the streets, and he compared ordering the police to crack down on its use to "asking the army to recover the Empire. This battle is effectively over". He said the fact that cannabis was both illegal and widely available effectively permitted "the worst of all worlds" to arise: encouraging more potent and dangerous variants of the drug, with users reluctant to seek help. "The overall result is the rise of a multi-billion pound black market for an unregulated and increasingly potent product, creating more addiction and mental health problems but without any enforceable policy to do something about it. "The only beneficiaries are organised crime gangs. It is absolutely unacceptable to allow this situation to continue." In his article, Lord Hague said under successive governments it has been assumed that there has been little alternative to trying to win a war on drugs, cannabis included. He said: "Taking an alternative view has been regarded as indicating a tendency to weird, irresponsible or crazily liberal opinions. "It's time to acknowledge facts, and to embrace a decisive change that would be economically and socially beneficial, as well as rather liberating for Conservatives in showing sensible new opinions are welcome." 'Useful medical properties' Many other countries, including much of the US, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands, have legalised the use of medicinal cannabis. Boy discharged after getting cannabis oil Epileptic boy gets cannabis oil back 'Law not right' on medical cannabis use On Monday, asked about the Billy Caldwell case, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said it was obvious the government was not "getting the law on this kind of thing right" and suggested a review would take place "as quickly as possible". The government is creating an expert panel to look into individual cases where the use of medicinal cannabis has been recommended. Asked later about the government's position, Prime Minister Theresa May said there was a "very good reason" for the current rules on cannabis - "because of the impact that they have on people's lives". She said a system was already in place for medicinal use, and that government policy would be driven by "what clinicians are saying". Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionCannabis oil row: Mother calls for drug to be legalised In suggesting the recreational use of cannabis should be made legal, Lord Hague has gone further than his fellow senior Conservatives who are only calling for a change in the law on the use of medicinal cannabis. On Sunday, Sir Mike Penning, who chairs an all-party parliamentary group looking at medical cannabis, said the Caldwell case proved the existing laws were "bizarre and cruel", and added that "fundamental reform of the system" was needed. Fellow Conservative Crispin Blunt MP, co-chair of the all-party parliamentary group on drug policy reform, said the existing law was "frankly absurd". Ex-Tory health minister Dan Poulter said the current situation was "ridiculous" and pledged to push for a law change. Raising an urgent question on the issue in the Commons on Monday, Gower MP Tonia Antoniazzi said there were two children - aged six and one - in her constituency who have a serious life-limiting condition and could "benefit hugely" from medicinal cannabis. Other MPs also raised cases, while the shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said the current system - even with the new expert panel announced - is "simply not fit for purpose" and called for the legalisation of cannabis oil for medical use. Cannabis and the law Cannabis is a Class B drug - it's illegal to possess, give away or sell, including for pain relief. The penalty for possession is up to five years in prison. Supplying attracts a sentence of up to 14 years imprisonment and an unlimited fine. According to Home Office statistics, cannabis was the most commonly used drug in the UK in 2016-17, with 6.6% of adults aged 16 to 59 having used it. That's about 2.2 million people. View the full article

Tory MP Sir Christopher Chope blocks proposed upskirting law to cries of 'shame'

15 June 2018 Image copyright Getty Images An attempt to make upskirting a specific criminal offence in England and Wales has been blocked by one Conservative MP. The government had given its support to a change in the law earlier. But Sir Christopher Chope shouted "object" to the bill, leading to cries of "shame" from other MPs. The campaign for the bill against upskirting - when photos are secretly taken under a skirt - was started by victim Gina Martin. I was a victim of upskirting - but I'm fighting back Live Nation exec filmed up women's skirts The private member's bill, brought to the House of Commons by Liberal Democrat MP Wera Hobhouse, would have made upskirting a criminal offence in line with other voyeurism offences - meaning offenders could face a maximum of two years in prison. It was expected to pass after the Ministry of Justice earlier showed its support. But the rules in Parliament mean it only requires one MP to shout "object" to block a bill's progress. Ms Hobhouse has asked for her bill to return to the House on 6 July. 'I was upskirted at the bus stop' Image copyright Getty Images Debbie was 17 when a man came and sat down next to her at a bus stop, and then started moving closer towards her. She says: "I was aware something wasn't quite right, but every time I turned around he pretended to be looking out towards the road where the bus was coming from. "You don't always have the confidence to say something, so I stood up and walked away. "But when I turned around to look at him he was holding up his mobile phone. It was a video of my bum - he had been trying to video up my dress." Read more about Debbie's story and other upskirting victims Ms Martin started the campaign after two men took a picture up her skirt while she was at a concert in London's Hyde Park last July. Police said they were unable to prosecute as the picture was not graphic enough because she was wearing underwear. As there is no law specifically naming and banning upskirting in England and Wales, victims and police are currently only able to pursue offences of outraging public decency or as a crime of voyeurism. The new law would change that, bringing it in line with other voyeurism offences. It would also allow, in the most serious cases, those convicted to be placed on the sex offenders register. Media playback is unsupported on your device Media caption"He was laughing": Three women tell the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire about their experience of upskirting View the full article

A man has been jailed for 20-years after systematically targeting police officers, police staff, a solicitor and judge.

A man "obsessed with revenge" against the legal system after losing a court case has been jailed for 15 years. A police raid on the Halifax home of Ashkan Ebrahimi in October 2015 discovered chemicals, swords, crossbows and high-powered air rifles. Evidence was also found that the 33-year-old had visited the home addresses of police officers and the judge involved his case. West Yorkshire Police said Ebrahimi planned on "harming a police officer". The force said he became "obsessed with revenge" after a court granted his former partner a non-molestation order, which led to him being separated from his young child. "The effects of this action sowed the seeds of a deep hatred of the police that grew exponentially from that moment," a police spokesman said. "He believed that the police were committed to destroying his life and set about seeking to take extreme violent action against them." Image copyrightWEST YORKSHIRE POLICE Image captionA police raid on his Halifax home recovered a stash of weapons and chemicals He was arrested after concerns were raised by Calderdale College, where Ebrahimi had enrolled on an adult GCSE science course, about his unusual interest in chemicals and wanting to develop a science lab at home. A large amount of chemicals were recovered from his address, along with an extensive collection of weapons, police said. His mobile phone had vehicle registration numbers of the cars and photographs of the homes of people involved in his case. Image copyrightWEST YORKSHIRE POLICE Image captionWest Yorkshire Police said Ebrahimi planned on "harming a police officer" An analysis of his sat-nav showed he had visited the address of the judge who had issued the order, as well as the addresses of police officers and the solicitor of his former partner. He had searched the internet on the use and effects of chemicals and how police officers are protected when not at work. Ebrahimi, of Oak Lane, Halifax, was found guilty at Bradford Crown Court of possessing explosives with intent to endanger life, possession of an offensive weapon, possession of a bladed article in a public place, and stalking offences. He was given an extended five-year licence period on top of his prison sentence.

Police chiefs warned over 'routine' failings

Chief constables in England and Wales have been warned there are "no excuses" for "routinely" identified failings. Sir Thomas Winsor, the Chief Inspector of Constabulary, also criticised police investigations involving children, saying they were allocated to staff without the right skills or experience. But Labour MP Jane Kennedy, Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner, said the comments were "mean-minded". She added they showed a "total failure" to understand the resourcing pressures. In a scathing rebuttal, Ms Kennedy accused Sir Tom of being the "chief government bean counter" who had placed a "terrible burden" of red tape on forces by requiring them to complete a management statement detailing the demand they expect to deal with. "The planning and analysis staff of a force like Merseyside have a good track record and would be in an even better position if Sir Thomas Winsor had not insisted that thousands of hours of their time during this last six months be switched from demand analysis to the preparation of responses to Sir Thomas Winsor, including his ridiculous force management statement," said Ms Kennedy, a former Liverpool MP and government minister. Writing in his annual "State of Policing" report, Sir Tom said inefficiency, unnecessary bureaucracy and antiquated systems were "not acceptable". He said the "shortcomings" of police chiefs who did not plan or use resources effectively were masked by the "get the job done" attitude of front-line officers. "This would not be acceptable in many other organisations in the public sector and the private sector. It should not be acceptable in the police," said Sir Thomas. "Some senior leaders in policing have a great deal to do," he added, pointing out some forces were putting vulnerable people at serious risk of harm because they weren't meeting enough of their demand or were managing it inappropriately. The former rail regulator, who was appointed to his present role in 2012, said increasing demand and decreasing resources meant some aspects of policing were "still under stress", with a "small number of forces" using reserves to "shore up" the way they operate. "This is a short-term strategy that, if it works at all, can only last until the money runs out," he added. Budget cuts Asked whether reductions in police budgets had contributed to a rise in serious violent crime, he said: "There's undoubtedly a relationship between numbers and violence, but it's a complex relationship." The chief inspector also said technology companies should expect greater regulation if they failed to take steps to ensure their services weren't abused by "terrorists, paedophiles and organised criminals". "There is a handful of very large companies with a highly dominant influence over how the internet is used. "In too many respects their record is poor and their reputation tarnished," Sir Thomas said, claiming the current position was "unsustainable". He revealed that the inspectorate was no longer using the word "belief" in relation to the stance that should be taken by police officers when recording allegations of crime, including sexual offences. The annual report says that what a complainant says "should be assumed to be correct". "We do not use the word 'belief' because taken out of context it was misapplied," he acknowledged.

Gang members ‘animals’ says firearms policeman

A firearms policeman with a history of controversial Twitter posts has used the social media platform to describe gang members as "animals". Sgt Harry Tangye was commenting on a video that compared gang members suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to troops in a warzone. He was criticised for his views on mental health by some Twitter users. Sgt Tangye later apologised for his "bad choice of words". View Full Story

Far-right activists stage violent protest calling for Tommy Robinson to be freed

Five officers suffer minor injuries in demonstration that saw missiles and smoke bombs hurled at police Really hope this is a not of sign of things to come. 1 thing i don't get is Tommy Robinson was found guilty of breaking contempt of court laws, yet thousands it seems think he is a freedom fighter who they are convinced is innocent. Where is the logic?

Bedfordshire Police specials get 'final warning'

Two special police officers who drove at more than 100mph despite not being trained to do so have been found guilty of gross misconduct. Special constable Terry Whinnett-James and acting special sergeant Umar Ajaz were responding to a burglary when the police car hit speeds up to 112mph. Neither was trained to drive above the speed limit nor activate the siren. An independent police panel said the officers, of Bedfordshire Police, should receive a final warning. The pair were despatched to a report of a burglary where the perpetrators were still on the scene on 4 July last year. 'Wrong thing, right reasons' Mr Ajaz was driving the marked police car at speeds of up to 112mph, the panel heard. On two other occasions that night, Mr Whinnett-James drove the marked car at speeds of 102pmh, and 53mph in a 30mph zone. Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES Image captionThe hearing heard that the men drove at speeds of more than 100mph Mr Ajaz's barrister, Kevin Baumber, said his client "did the wrong thing for the right reasons". Mr Whinnett-James' barrister, Matthew Butt, said his client was "extremely remorseful." Deputy Chief Constable Garry Forsyth said: "Given the nature of the incident it was necessary to put the matter before an independent panel to assess whether the officers had breached the standards of professional behaviour. "While the actions of these specials were found to have amounted to gross misconduct, I am satisfied that they were acting with best intentions in responding to reports of burglaries - therefore agree with the sanction of a final written warning. "It is important we support our officers and staff in such cases, this outcome will allow both officers to learn from the incident and move forward with their policing careers", he said.

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