YP Letters: Magistrates’ talents are going to waste

From: Jane Nadin JP, Doncaster.

The magsitrates court in Doncaster where Jane Nadin served.

I WAS a magistrate on the Doncaster bench for over 26 years and I had to retire this past September having reached the age of 70. During my service, I held many positions.

I was a family magistrate for many years and presided over both family and adult courts. I was a mentor and appraiser so am well aware of the appraisal system and the need to keep up competencies.

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I started the ‘Magistrate in the Community’ project in Doncaster going out into companies to convince HR that having a magistrate with their extensive training is a bonus to their workforc.

For 12 years, I have been associated with the Lifewise Project in Rotherham, interacting with young people, to which I have turned my attention more fully since retirement and joined now as a police volunteer.

Do I sound as if I’m losing the plot, unable to utilise my many years of experience now that there is such a shortage of experienced magistrates in England and Wales?

I am not alone, many of my contempories have had to leave the bench this year taking with them vast amounts of knowledge and experience.

Recruitment was halted 10 years ago, benches shrunk and those that were left grew older. Now there’s a bright new dawn, people are being recruited to take our places, but they will have no bench experience, no confidence and no skill for the next couple of years.

I could go on, but very little changes. It’s time for those who think they are in the know to wake up and realise what they have done to our judicial system. The simplest answer at this time would be to allow 70-year-olds to extend for up to five years – this gives these new people time to train and gain experience to carry on the work we have continued over our years on the bench. It is the greatest system in the world – it’s cost effective and it’s the most satisfying ‘job’ of all time.Wake up London. Think! Don’t let 660 years of the magistracy fail now.

Bus changes are a failure

From: Christine Broady, Heathfield, Mirfield.

MY considered opinion of the timing of the article by Kim Groves, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Transport committee and headlined “People need to be able to trust the bus” is to be, at the best, naive and, at the worst, indefensible (The Yorkshire Post, February 19).

Is she aware of the ‘improved’ timetables which Arriva is operating from February 23, 2019? I work as a volunteer in Gomersal (formerly 253 Dewsbury to Bradford). After February 23, I need to set off earlier, need two buses, pay more and arrive later. If these ‘improvements’ are to encourage people to leave cars at home or change to buses, they are doomed to failure!

From: Mr B Johnston, Rigton Drive, Leeds.

THAT the city of Leeds – the third largest in England – depends on a bus system stuck in the 1950s is a disgrace. This year marks the 60th anniversary of the last tram to run in the city. Since then, the citizens of a great city have been deprived of a modern rapid transport system that other cities take for granted and race ahead!

From: Geoff Marsden, Buxton Avenue, Heanor, Derby.

THE cost of HS2 seems to increase relative to the hours of daylight. It is 126 miles from London to Birmingham and it is reported now the train will travel at 243 miles per hour. Silly to consider that at the speed quoted it can go there and back in one hour. Can it be assumed that if it gathers the said pace how far will it have to travel to slow down before it hits the buffers? My consideration is that it needs to hit the buffers now, before it does further damage to the economy.

Lamentable state of police

From: Jeremy Whittington, Easterly Road, Leeds.

IT is unbelievable that our 43 forces send out police alone on night shifts. This shabby Government should pay for England to have a properly-manned police force. I knew excellent police officers about 20 years ago. Now, no officers are seen walking their beats. ‘Kiddy cops’ are now the normal (PCSOs). Where are the tough, well-trained police officers? Answer, there are no proper police officers on the streets. It is disgusting. Quite shabby. This Conservative Government pay £14bn on foreign aid and now tell the ratepayers to pay extra rates for policing. The police do a wonderful job, but they are so short of proper officers. Disgraceful and shabby.

From: Canon Michael Storey, Healey Wood Road, Brighouse.

THANKS for the lovely photograph and article (The Yorkshire Post, February 18) about the Rochdale Canal and its towpath. The only things which spoil walking on this towpath are the many cyclists, who don’t seem to be able to afford bells. Hence, very often, the walker is unaware of the approaching cyclist. I recall, as a schoolboy, having my bike checked for its bell by the local bobby. Bobbies probably don’t have time these days – shame!

Oxbridge road

From: Phyllis Aitchison, Windsor Road, Carlton in Lindrick, Worksop.

CONGRATULATIONS to Joe Seddon, from Morley, who has come up with a way of giving young people from non-fee paying schools and less privileged backgrounds a better chance of making it through the admissions process by matching them up with current Oxbridge students and setting up free online tutorials (The Yorkshire Post, February 18). This is a very simple idea, but one that is already having a powerful effect. Well done Joe.