Only the Sheriff has ‘posse power’

York Press: Peter Brown, left, in his days as Sheriff of York, during a visit to former York rolling stock builders BREL in 1991 Peter Brown, left, in his days as Sheriff of York, during a visit to former York rolling stock builders BREL in 1991

D M Deamer asks (Letters, June 16) if we should reintroduce the law regarding shooting Scots found within the city walls after dark, with a bow and arrow.

No need! It is still part of the duties of the Sheriff to carry out this task. It is included within the oath of office to the Queen, along with swearing to collect taxation from rebellious colonists in North America. It is just that all recent sheriffs (myself included) have been dilatory in carrying out these duties.

However – Mr Deamer asks ‘Anyone for Archery? I would caution against this.

Only the Sheriff has the power to call out the “posse comitatus” (the power of the county) in order to assist him in carrying our his duties under the Royal Prerogative. Any vigilante action by York citizens would be rightly clamped down on by the Sheriff, as action against illegal immigrants can only be done according to law.

The perpetrators of private actions against the Scots would face a session in the pillory. The sheriff may even call on his constables of North Yorkshire Police in the matter.

Peter Brown, Onetime Sheriff of York, Acomb Grange, Grange Lane, York.

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