Friday, 13 August 2010

To Protect And Serve…

The drama unfolded when seven caravans moved on to the historic site in the shadow of a 13th century church under cover of darkness after removing part of a wooden fence rail at its boundary.
Oooh, that’s surely criminal damage, isn’t it? Why were the police not fining them?

Still, one intrepid villager, perhaps with the Meriden community action in mind, decided he wasn’t going to just lie down for this.

Or rather, he was:
The pensioner lay down across the missing section as five more caravans arrived at the site yards from his home.
At one point the 70-year-old man was on the ground with his face almost touching the wheels of a truck towing a caravan which had stopped with its bumper over his head.
He’s got guts, I’ll say this for him.

But then someone called the police, and that’s when everything went to hell in a handcart:
The man, who didn't want to be identified for fear of reprisals, said: 'The police arrived and told me to move. I asked them for their inspector's name and they refused.

'Meanwhile, the travellers were threatening to come back and ''sort me out'' but the police did not act on that. I was so disgusted I went home.'
The caravans moved a short distance away while police guarded Yardley Old Park in Yardley, Birmingham. But after 30 minutes officers left, allowing the mainly Irish travellers access to the beauty spot which is bordered by the medieval Old Grammar School and Grade I listed St Edburgha's Church, which dates back some 800 years.
Oh, FFS..!
Tim Moon, 28, whose family home overlooks the 30-acre park, said police seemed 'more interested in keeping the traffic moving' than stopping more travellers from getting in.

He said: 'We heard a commotion and I saw this man lying across the pavement where the travellers had removed the fencing. Travellers were standing over him and gesturing for him to move. One man tried to drag him away by the feet.

'The caravans were blocking the road and traffic was backed up in both directions - the police seemed to just want to get the cars moving again.'
I expect it was a lot easier to bully one 70 year old pensioner than risk tackling a gang of people intent on trespass, who might have put in a complaint that their rights weren’t being respected...
Suzanne Lyons, 56, whose home overlooks the park, said: 'We needed help from the police but whilst there was a lot of finger wagging going on, there hasn't been much action.'
Same as it ever was…

Even the council didn’t get any further:
Liberal Democrat councillor Neil Eustace said the council had asked police to immediately remove the travellers as soon as it became aware of the problem last Friday, using powers to tackle trespassers, but officers had refused because in most instances it is considered a civil, rather than criminal offence.
Let’s hope the council bear this in mind when it comes time to tot up the budget for policing, eh? In fact, I'd make a point of totting up the bill for the clean up that will no doubt be incurred and reducing the policing budget by exactly that amount. Maybe then, they'll get the message.

Did the police have anything to say in their defence?
Superintendent Mick Gillick from West Midlands Police said officers advised the pensioner to move 'for his own safety'.
Probably correct. He wouldn’t want to end up as another Tomlinson…

Then we were treated to a fine display of ACPO-friendly jargon:
'Local officers are listening to residents and other stakeholders to ensure their concerns are recorded and investigated where necessary.'

Whoops, sorry, got carried away with the buzzword bingo there…

Note that none of those statements imply any responsibility by Supt Gillick to actually DO anything to resolve their problems. And by god, he’ll do anything to deny that there was a time when the police might have had the opportunity to do something…
He said around six caravans had entered the park from a second entrance before the pensioner's protest.

But residents said all caravans entered from the spot the man was attempting to guard.
Well, who are you going to trust?

The leading police blog has an article about the budget crisis affecting the issue of personal safety equipment. No doubt the people of Yardley might wonder why they should get exercised about that, when it seems the police in their area have plenty of ways to ensure they never need it....


Anonymous said...

What can I say? A bit harsh in places but you highlight what is wrong with policing today.
To be fair Gadget does too from another perspective.
Compare force by force how many officers are out on patrol to those polishing their arses on chairs in bean counting depts, diversity units etc. let alone the affect of the bureaucracy that was bad enough when I left in 2005 but has increased since then. Why a statute has not been passed to make traveller incursions a criminal offence is beyond most normal people. Time to rescind or suspend the HRA and grow a massive pair a la Buster Gonad Mr Cameron?

Rational Anarchist said...

just as a purely hypothetical question, if some civic minded individual were to accidentally set fire to one of the caravans, perhaps by way of some sort of molotov-like device, while at the same time a sizeable number of the local residents were to vow assuredly that he were with them, in the pub, and not doing anything wrong at all officer - would plod be able to do much about it?

w/v equalli <-- what's it trying to say?

Mummylonglegs said...

T'was another case of itchy fingers, glad I held off. You do it so much better honey (kiss).

As for the leading police blog, perhaps those obselete stab vests would be better gifted to Joe public, it would appear they need them more and more, perhaps dunkin donuts and starbucks would like to start funding our local plod whilst Teflon and Stab Vests Inc would be better off supporting the local paramedics and Joe P.

Joke - Which came first, the plod or the PM.

PM - Patient is hostile, requesting police back up (yawn).

Police - Suspected criminal may be innocent, hostile, drunk, mad, sick, drunk, absent, crying, drunk, a little bit scary, dead, requesting medical backup.

Mummy x

Anonymous said...

Caravans ain't fireproof.

Or bullet proof, come to that...

MTG said...

It was to be expected that Ranter's double orchiectomy would precipitate a gonadal obsession but most of us would prefer to see improvements in police cranial volumes.

Jiks said...

*grinds teeth*

Only thing that surprises me about this is that the police didn't arrest the pensioner. That's the situation we are in today that this sort of farce, for want of more accurate, expletive laden language can occur and I'm not surprised at all. I doubt anyone is any more.

The police, there to protect and serve the criminal communinity.

Anonymous said...

Nice one Melv! Amazingly every now and then a natural wit shines through the medicinal fog. Speaking of which...MEDS MELV! Take them NOW!

Yes I did have to look it up! Ooooh!

JohnRS said...

Please, please can we have elected Police Chiefs now?

If plod knew their boss would be down on them like a ton of bricks if the local residents were pissed off and chucked him out at the next election I'm sure these "travellers", who have no votes in the constituency to worry about, would find themselves travelling again pdq.

We have got to get the police back under control.

blueknight said...

A story to gladden the heart
Some of our local house based travelling types went to another Force area to ply their trade of tricking pensioners out their family heirlooms. -(That violin might be a Stradivarius but it only has 4 strings, I'll give you £10 etc.)
The story filtered back to our Force that as usual they had done something that necessitated their arrest and as usual they had kicked off big time. But when we looked at the custody photos each was sporting a black eye, bent nose, split lip etc. They had all lost badly.
Turned out that the Force rugby team were playing a match earlier in the afternoon and as a result the whole team were on late shift.
Guess who the travelling types tried to kick off with.....

JuliaM said...

"To be fair Gadget does too from another perspective. "

Oh, indeed. Gadget's blog is a goldmine.

Shame I can't seem to comment there any more...

"just as a purely hypothetical question..."

I think - I fear - it might get to that. That's why we set up police forces in the first place, isn't it?

"T'was another case of itchy fingers, glad I held off. "

Don't hold back! You do it your way, I do it mine, and the world's the better for it. ;)

"Only thing that surprises me about this is that the police didn't arrest the pensioner. "

Yup, I wouldn't have been surprised. For 'his own safety', of course...

"Please, please can we have elected Police Chiefs now?"

The fact that the police are dead set against it proves we need it now, more than ever.

"Turned out that the Force rugby team were playing a match earlier in the afternoon and as a result the whole team were on late shift."

Glorious! :D