Friday 6 March 2009

Another Police PR Success Story!

Anyone remember the old ‘Not The Nine O’Clock News’ sketch, where a cop is quizzed by his superior over blatant harassment of a member of the public (on racial grounds)?

Well, to such lines as ’Loitering with intent to use a pedestrian crossing..?’, we can now add ‘Laughing too hard at the wheel…?’:
When Gary Sanders was pulled over by police he was sure he had done nothing wrong.

The company director was obeying the speed limit and not driving dangerously.
So, he was quite surprised to hear the ostensible ‘reason’:
But to his astonishment he was told he had been stopped for excessive laughing.

Mr Sanders had been talking on a hands-free kit and was chuckling at what his friend had said.
No doubt Mr Sanders was a little perturbed at being told this, and I expect he queried this (as is his right). Perhaps forcefully:
But the officer who ordered him to stop at the exit to the Mersey Tunnel told him: ‘Laughing while driving a car can be an offence.’
If that had been the end of the matter then Mr Sanders, 47, would probably have laughed the whole thing off.
But he was quickly reminded of an unpleasant fact of life in the UK – some police really, really shouldn’t be given a uniform and powers:
But he subjected him to a 35-minute grilling, with questions about everything from his ethnic group to details of distinguishing scars on his body.

And despite not being charged with an offence, he still had to waste a further 90 minutes of his time producing his driving licence and other documents at a police station.
Because no doubt, having made the officer look a complete cock, and perhaps having a better car/suit/educational background than the officious little prig, he needed to be taken down a peg or two.
'The officer accused me of throwing my head back in a dangerous way, which I denied since it is definitely not something I do.
Better not sneeze at the wheel then.
'It became a bit ridiculous when he wanted to know the colour of my hair as I have alopecia and there isn't a hair on my head. When I pointed this out he asked "What colour was your hair when you had some?" It went from ludicrous to unbelievable. He definitely had a bee in his bonnet about something and I got the brunt of it.'
No, Mr Sanders. He was just an officious little shit and a bully, who having been granted power by the state, feels free to abuse it whenever he wants, because no-one seems to be checking him.

And for his actions here, and the danger he places all other police officers in as a result of his behaviour, he should be found, disciplined or sacked, if he has other such abuses on record.
Mr Sanders said the officer eventually admitted no law had been broken, but still insisted he should show his documents to be checked.

'The police should have better things to do than harassing law-abiding people this way. I missed an important meeting and my whole day was messed up and all for nothing. Its was certainly no joke.'
Indeed. Should Mr Sanders drive past a police officer getting beaten to a pulp one dark night, is he going to stop and help? Is he going to say to himself ‘That’s one of my public servants, who do a thankless job keeping us all safe, and he needs help’?

Or is he going to think ‘Screw you, whoever you are!’ and drive on past? If so, could anyone blame him? Certainly not me.

And everyone reading this story is going to either have their existing prejudices confirmed, or their faith that the police are basically a force for good who are willing to root out the bad apples because they care about the effect they have shaken. Because we’ve all come across bullies, box-tickers and jobsworths before, and we know the feeling.

Naturally, the management of this particular police farce doesn’t see this as a problem at all:
Superintendent Kevin Hagger of the Mersey Tunnels Police said: 'There is no record of the incident in the system so it seems the gentleman was just spoken to by the officer and the matter not taken any further.'
‘It didn’t happen, right? Go on about your business, proles…’ No doubt if car video of the incident exists, it’s been quietly scrubbed now.
Brian Gregory from the Association of British Drivers said: 'This is a shocking example of the police harassing innocent motorists simply because they are an easy target. To suggest that a driver could be prosecuted for laughing is ludicrous beyond belief.
Two points, Brian. They aren’t all harassing innocent motorists (no doubt the ones that aren’t are fully aware of just how difficult clowns like this make their job for them), and those that are aren’t doing it because motorists are easy targets, it’s because they are simply unfit to be police officers. They’d do it to anyone if they thought they had a good chance of getting away with it.

Thanks to ‘managers’ like Superintendent Hagger and legislation ensuring that they can’t be photographed by the public, their numbers are going to grow…


Anonymous said...

Good job Pc Jobsworth isn't around when I'm driving listening to 'Count Arthur Strong' or 'Ed Reardon's Week'. I'd be doing LIFE! All this stupidity and petty officialdom is growing daily, why? Micro-managing government? The removal of discretion in occupations such as policing? The lowering of recruiting standards to accommodate those 'under represented' from 'our communities etc? Crazy but very alarming at the same time.

Obnoxio The Clown said...

Hmmm ...

JuliaM said...

"The lowering of recruiting standards to accommodate those 'under represented' from 'our communities etc?"

Oh, I suspect people like this have always existed, but the wiser managers realised what harm they do, and squashed them bwefore they became a problem.

Today's 'managers' have their eyes on their targets and nothing else...

"Hmmm ..."

Yeah, it's almost as if there's some kind of weird correlation, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

That 60% 'confidence' threshold will be fixed, as they fixed that car-crash report on alcohol (the one where they took block votes from Alcohol Concern as "members of the public", and ditched votes against).

While, of course, box-ticking and cowardice, political, moral and physical, is behind much of the police's harassment of ordinary citizens while ignoring criminals, you have to consider what I call the "kicking the cat" mentality.

This copper is too shit-scared or lazy to arrest actual criminals, so he lashes out at the cat instead. In this case the 'cat' was a completely innocent driver.

I liked the senior copper's dismissal of the incident because there wasn't an official record of it. It is interesting to note a mind which doesn't believe something exists unless there is an official record of it. Presumably the contempt we all feel for him and his officers is imaginary, too.

Anonymous said...

The "Mersey Tunnel police" are NOT real police, therfore NOT police officers. They are basically security guards working for Mersey Tunnels company, or whoever owns the tunnels nowdays.

To be a proper police force they must be a "Home office police force" ie accredited as such by the Home Office. The tunnel "police" are NOT.

Von Brandenburg Preußen

Anonymous said...

Dear Von Spreuth,

You missed the point.

Officials sharing the bullying qualities you exhibit and encourage in your fellow officers, may abate through proper self regulation or be terminally resolved by civil uprising.