Archbishop Jonathan Blake

The Most Reverend Jonathan Blake, Presiding Archbishop of the Open Episcopal Church B.A. (Hons), Dip. Pastoral Studies. Bishop's Haven, 105 Danson Crescent Welling DA16 2AS U.K. Mobile: 07767 687711 www.bishopjonathanblake.com bishopjonathanblake@ntlworld.com www.openepiscopalchurch.org www.twitter.com/bishopjonathan The Church is a member of The International Council of Community churches and the World Council of Churches. Married and a proud Dad.

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Location: London, Kent, United Kingdom

Gassed in Tehran, seized in Kabul, helped Mother Teresa, almost murdered, raised £300,000, ordained 1981, street sleeper, pilgrim to Auschwitz, Kenya + Pakistan 4 peace, began 1st inter-faith NHS chapel, wrote text on Parliament, arrested, relinquished his 12 year Anglican post 2 be independent, baptised 1000's in homes, on Mt Snowdon + in circus ring, did wedding underwater, wrote ‘For God’s Sake Don’t Go To Church’, nailed 95 Theses to Canterbury cathedral, arrested, co-founded the Society for Independent Ministry, was consecrated a bishop, co-founded the Open Episcopal Church, did 1st gay wedding on prime time TV, sued Associated Newspapers 4 defamation, co-consecrated 1st women bishops 4 England. Wales + Scotland, accommodated the homeless, took Mass 2 sex workers + posted it, elected Archbishop, arrested 4 taking kids on roof, not charged, founded ‘When No One’s Watching', became an ICV, did Jade Goody's wedding , invited 2 Downing St, wrote 'That Old Devil Called God Again', arrested 4 times campaigning against child abuse, had harassment conviction quashed on appeal, appealing a conviction for breaches of restraining order 2 stop a paedophile

Saturday, February 01, 2014

IT MAY ONLY BE A MATTER OF TIME BEFORE THERE IS A DEATH IN BEXLEY POLICE CUSTODY

Unfortunately Mr Johnstone's comments in the Bexley Times are indicative of the culture that existed on the ICV panel when I joined some years ago. The panel rarely raised issues and described the custody suite as calm and pleasant. However, once I had joined and pointed out the lack of entitlement provision, a Chief Inspector visited the panel and admitted that the Bexley standards were inferior to those elsewhere in the Met.

I have continued to press for higher standards.

The Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime, in putting recent pressure upon me not to make such public comments, described the role of ICV's, as being to reassure the public that custody suite's are safe. I have pointed out that this can only be done if the custody suites are safe, which I do not believe them to be. 

Already in Bexley, we have had a sergeant  charged and convicted with a criminal assault upon a juvenile. It is a matter of time before there is another death in custody.

Mr Johnstone  confirms that the cell into which the eleven year old was placed is no different to an adult cell. He suggests that it helps the juvenile because it is '5 feet' from the main police desk. However what he fails to mention is that this would have no beneficial effect upon the eleven year old, as the thick metal cell door was closed and locked and the wicket was closed also and so the child was encased  in a potentially claustrophobic space cut off from all life. 

Instead of this, if the police were following the PACE rules, they could have placed the child in an interview room or consultation room with an accompanying police officer, which is a less hostile and frightening environment, more appropriate for an eleven year old.

It is indicative again of the culture of the panel, that the chair of the panel, with whom I was inspecting the suite that day, did not even want to check whether the two juveniles in custody were safe or not. We visited them at my insistence.

Contrary to the impression given by Mr Johnstone, I did raise this violation of PACE at the panel meeting with the three police officers present and the police responded, as they have each previous time the treatment of juveniles has been raised, by justifying their actions on the basis of staffing levels and resources.

This is the justification also given for the lack of provision of entitlements to detainees that makes the custody suite at Bexley a dangerous place in which to be, particularly if you are innocent, as are many of those detained.

Further, when the police were questioned, by Mr Johnstone, as to why, on another occasion, a juvenile had not been offered food, the police responded by admitting that the culture still adopted by some of the staff was not to offer entitlements.

It is essential that Bexley police are held accountable and that the custody suite follows the PACE regulations and offers routinely and efficiently the required entitlements to detainees.

It is equally essential that the MOPAC and the ICV scheme does not become a propaganda tool to mislead the public as to what is happening in custody, but maintains the brief it was given after Lord Scarman's report, to ensure that through its inspections, the public can check and be reassured that detainees are being treated properly and safely.

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