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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71153
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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My son was sentenced to 3 years imprisonment on a drugs related

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My son was sentenced to 3 years imprisonment on a drugs related charge. He was released on licence after 18 months, which ends in May of this year. During September 2014 he suffered a number of setbacks to a previously unblemished record of observance of the terms of his licence. He was stopped and recalled to prison days. On release he returned to the house he shares with his partner, the agreed address licence. Three days before Christmas, much to his shame, he became involved in an argument with his partner, and, as he was threatening to harm himself and her, she called the police. He was immediately issued with a DVPN and ejected from the house. Despite his partners refusal to give a statement, the process, as you will know, is that the police apply DVPO automatically, based on their assessment of the situation. This was issued days.
As he has no family in the UK, this effectively made him homeless, with no chance over the Xmas and New Year period of finding accommodation. During this period, the police appeared to have pressured the probation service into recalling him to prison once again, He had initially been told by his probation officer that this would not happen and she could give him no reason why the poilice had taken this action.
He was released from HMP Woodhill, Milton Keynes on Friday 30th January after serving the 28 days. During his time in Woodhill the DVPO had expired and he was given permission to contact his partner and he gave their address on his release forms. When he reported to his probation officer, he was told that he could not return to that address until the end of his licence period in May. When he asked why, he was told it was a police matter and that they had 'decided' that his partner was afraid of him and that is why she had agreed to him returning.(Slightly strange reasoning) This despite the fact that she had asked at the time of the DVPO to make a statement stating that she had not requested his removal or any form of protection and wished him to return home. She is still, more than willing to make a statement to that affect.
He is now effectively homeless again, with no job or money. He was not referred to any hostels or given any other advice.
His partner has contacted the police to try and discover more of the reasons action and was told by an officer that they 'hate' him and will make things as difficult as possible . The probation officer says she cannot go against their wishes. There has not been any criminal charge and there has never been any request restaining order.
I understood that the terms of a licence are designed to be preventive not punitive. I also understand that to make someone homeless in this way is a basic violation of his Human rights and is specifically referred to in the guidelines arrangements.
The police service in this instance seem to be acting outside of the law in a biased,non-objective and malicious manner. A seemingly vindictive action which will make it impossible to lead a normal life. It is a though they were trying to push him into breaching his licence terms or committing some other offence so that he can be recalled yet again.
What action can be taken to correct this situation? Local solicitors do not seem to very pro-active in this area.
Thank you question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
What action are you hoping to take over this?
To achieve what?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you Jo,

Firstly, to take some action that will re-instate his right to reside at his home address, free from harrassment and a return to the original terms of his licence

Secondly, and in the longer term more important, to register a complaint against the police involved clear abuse of powers and personal vindicativeness and to claim compensation provision of hotel accommodation and personal distress.

Thank you

I'm really sorry but that isn't realistic I'm afraid.
You can complain about them. The question is whether it will get anywhere. Of course he is being targeted. Some people are quite legitimately targeted. What you are asking a fact finder to accept is that he is being targeted improper reason. Probably they do hate him and they are just using their powers against him to annoy. They do behave like that sometimes. It is always very difficult to prove that though.
In relation to the property issue that was not the fault of the police. That was the fault of his partner. She called the police. If we are honest with each other, they did not turn up uninvited. She made this allegation against him. She invited the police to do the only thing they could at that time. Probably it was something they were delighted to do because of their own reasons but they were given the excuse by her. We all have rows. We don't all get the police involved in them. That is not to say that he was not behaving badly but there other options than calling the police especially when a person is on licence.
The reason probation won't let him return is again down to his partner. She had made a report against him. Therefore an address with her is not going to be considered a suitable address. I realise that it might all have been a storm in a teacup because most domestics are but the plain fact is that she made a report. That has given the police the excuse they need to refuse to allow him back there and probation to allow them to. If a person has been on a protective notice to live elsewhere than at a particular address then it is not going to be considered a suitable licence condition actually not least own protection in case he is evicted again the next time she has another tantrum.
The police are probably using this situation as an excuse to behave in a vexatious way but it is always very difficult to prove harassment as opposed to just legitimate targeting or, the case of the address, the protection of a person who is ostensibly vulnerable.
I'm very sorry but I can only give you truthful information.
Can I clarify anything ?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you very reasoned reply. Just question.

I do not understand how, once a DVPO has expired, the police can still enforce what is, in effect a restraining order, against the wishes of the 'victim'.

Thank you

Well, there are two issues there really. The first is that they probably are just acting against him sake of it. Some police officers do lose objectivity. But the second problem is that this is not really an issue of the 'victim's' wishes. The uncomfortable truth is that the police have really had enough of being used by people who are not the victim of abuse to mediate their rows. Sadly genuine deserving victims of abuse are not the only people who do call the police to domestic arguments. In fact, I do not even think they are in the majority. Most it is just childish people abusing the 999 services because they are angry, which is fine of itself, but are too childish to sort it out themselves. Quite understandably the police do not really think that is sensible use of their resources and will not now allow people to withdraw just because their 'wishes' have changed. If these people want circumstances to be subject to their wishes they need to stop making reports to the police.
But they are not extending the protective notice. What they have done is told probation it is not a safe address. Licence conditions are all about risk. Which ever way you look at this, it is not a safe address. Either he is a risk to her in which case it is plainly not safe. Or she is just a drama queen who calls the police when she can't have what she wants in which case his residence there depends on her moods and he is at risk. Probably the truth is somewhere in between and he does misbehave sometimes and she responds in kind but probation have to assess the risks and they will err on the side of caution.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you again.

It seems that the DVPO can effectively be extended by the police on a whim. Why do they and not his probation officer have the final say in this matter,

What about my son's right to a family life under the Human rights act.

The right to a family life is a right from which there can be derogation and one acceptable reason is the enforcement of law and protection of others - e.g in this case, his partner called the police and made an allegation of abuse.
The trouble with this is that it just plain isn't down to the police. I understand why you are frustrated because they probably are enjoying it. However, the plain fact is that they would never be able to do that this if his partner had not called the police.
He is suffering from the same delusion that affects many of my clients who are remanded. The police may have arrested them, CPS may have charged them, the Magistrates may have remanded them and the fact finder may have convicted them. None of it would have happend to them if their partners had not started the whole process in motion by complaining to the police.
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