No, Mr McCulloch. Manchester set up a voluntary court duty solicitor scheme at about the same time as Southampton. Birmingham came soon afterwards, building in particular on the Manchester template. I know this because I was involved.

We then expanded it to include a police station scheme, and all of this long before the statutory scheme came into being. I know this too, because with two colleagues, one now retired and the other a resident judge, I created that scheme on the back of the voluntary scheme.

Much material in your letter is correct and wise, but on one further count you are wrong. The voluntary and statutory schemes stipulated that for both the police custody officers and the duty solicitors on rota, whether there or at court, the client’s wishes to be represented by a solicitor of choice should be absolutely respected. What is more, that is what happened and continues to be the case.

This we must retain at all costs.

Malcolm Fowler, Dennings, Tipton