After being woken for the third time in one night by a group of drunken and noisy students, Jo Calvert-Mindell was at her wits' end.So far, so ordinary. But then, it seems, the rights of people to sleep soundly in their beds pale into insignificance before the rights of students to drink and make noise, so two of the group promptly played the race card:
The former policewoman got dressed, went outside and shouted at them: 'Why can't you go back to where you come from and make some noise there? I bet your families and neighbours wouldn't put up with it.
'You don't care about us and do just as you like. What gives you the right to frighten my elderly neighbours, cause damage and keep us awake at night?'
She also reported the incident to police, who came and dispersed the eight students.
The 51-year-old grandmother was astonished when four months later she was arrested and accused of being a racist. It turned out that two Asians in the group had complained to the police.Wow! Four months to decide if this case was worth pursuing. That’s some detecting. Obviously, Canterbury is the place to live – it must be a crime free paradise, if this is considered worth spending time over.
In April, Miss Calvert-Mindell, who has never been in trouble with the police before, was charged with using racially aggravated threatening words or behaviour under section 5 of the Public Order Act.
However, someone in the CPS must have had cold feet, or possibly an ounce of common sense, and deep-sixed the case at the 11th hour:
In May, she appeared at Folkestone Magistrates' Court in Kent, where she denied the charge.I hope she wins.
The case hung over her until the Crown Prosecution Service decided to drop it last week, admitting there was little chance of conviction. Now she is filing a complaint about the way the police treated her.
Yesterday, Miss Calvert-Mindell, a Liberal Democrat councillor and community volunteer, said: 'The last thing I am is a racist.Sadly, that ‘sensitivity’ has been developed by the legions of liberals and race-hustlers, and the adopting of the approach that anytime someone thinks a statement is ‘racist’ it must be, no matter the clear and stated intent of the utterer of that statement. We aren’t quite at the stage yet where we are prepared to sack someone for using a perfectly normal word that happens to sound like a ‘forbidden’ word, but we might yet get there if this kind of knee-jerk action isn’t stopped.
'I have a totally inclusive attitude to different races and cultures - I don't care if you are black, white, green or a Martian.
'Their colour had nothing to do with it - it was their behaviour.
'I think there is something very wrong in our society when a resident can't go out and try and prevent crime and disorder and encourage the defendants to go back home and that they can then play the race card to completely absolve themselves of responsibility for that behaviour.
'The authorities today are so sensitive to being criticised for being racist that any claims of racism just raises their antennae, instead of using common sense.'
No doubt no action will be taken against the two students, who will simply claim they ‘honestly believed’ she was being racist, and therefore be allowed to escape any censure. Likewise the police will adopt the ‘only following orders’, and indeed it seems they have:
Kent Police refused to apologise. Superintendent Chris Hogben said: 'An allegation was made that was fully investigated. A case was presented to the CPS and the decision was made to prosecute.I don’t think it’s ‘discussion’ that is needed here. A large payout for false imprisonment or malicious prosecution might concentrate the minds of Kent Police a little better in future, except of course that then we, the taxpayers, would end up footing the bill.
'If Miss Calvert-Mindell would like to discuss our response and the conduct of officers I would urge her to contact me direct.'
Sadly, in current police leadership circles, such dedication to the progressive cause will only enhance Supt Hogben’s promotion prospects…