Dodgeming the issue

The tabloid press claims that Humberside Police officers have enraged residents in and around Hull by riding on the dodgems at a fair. Their supervisors have defended their “light-hearted public engagement”, and Deputy Chief Constable Andy McDyer says he is “really disappointed in the article”.

Oct 25, 2017

The tabloid press claims that Humberside Police officers have enraged residents in and around Hull by riding on the dodgems at a fair. Their supervisors have defended their “light-hearted public engagement”, and Deputy Chief Constable Andy McDyer says he is “really disappointed in the article”. The eight-day event attracted more than 500,000 visitors, there are no reports of large scale violence, and few if any officers were sprayed with acid. Perhaps the Metropolitan Police Service could drag themselves away from investigating Harvey Weinstein in California to see what is working ‘up North’, and try swapping their redundant water cannon for easily deployed dodgem cars? One positive response to the Humberside approach says: “It shows that they are human too and like to have fun – a move which I think will make it easier for children to approach them instead of being frightened.” Hmmm… any child approaching a police officer who is driving a dodgem is in real and imminent danger… Severe and sustained cuts have clearly not prevented police officers from engaging in trivial activities. Avon and Somerset Constabulary has aggravated tabloids further by deciding to go on patrol with painted nails, which it claims will highlight slavery, as victims often work in nail bars. This could have been a lot worse. Many modern-day slaves work in car washes, so officers could have opted to carry about buckets, sponges and car fresheners to highlight abuse. They could at least discard these items in the unlikely event of their coming across some criminals, whereas trying to effect an arrest with wet fingernails is notoriously difficult (believe me, I’ve tried). Meanwhile, dozens of uniformed members of South Wales Police, many male, have taken to ‘strutting across Cardiff’ in high heels. They claim that this will raise awareness of domestic violence. The link between high heels and domestic violence is tenuous at best. Had the officers decided to wear training shoes they could have ran after and caught a few offenders, but this does not seem to be on the agenda. Assistant Chief Constable Richard Lewis claims that “it was done in good faith and I support the officers involved. It was received well locally and by our partners”. Civil Nuclear Constabulary’s Deputy Chief Constable Simon Chesterman has gone online to say: “The issues are serious and real, but this is an embarrassment,” and has added a ‘thumbs down’ symbol, perhaps as a stand against illegal gladiator fighting. These stunts have been staged as a 19 per cent rise in violent crime has been revealed, and as Her Majesty’s Inspectors of Constabulary warn that human trafficking cases are being shelved without proper investigation, with officers ignoring offenders, witnesses and victims while getting their fingernails buffed and their sprained ankles bandaged. Even if these antics do encourage the public to send in extra intelligence it looks as if nothing will be done with it. Tory politicians have, as usual, been quick to say police must have the resources they need. Perhaps Andrew Rosindell hit the (toe?) nail on the head by observing that “police chiefs should be targeting their resources on catching criminals rather than silly stunts. Gangmasters will only be caught if officers are allowed to spend their time doing their job, rather than being encouraged to engage in gimmicks”. We can take it that he will not be voting to increase police funding in the near or distant future. Yours, Stitch

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