Here on the island we live under the squinty gaze of Chief constable Richard Brunstrom who while having some interesting ideas about drug de-criminalisation is pathologically obsessed with traffic policing. We learn to live with it, while violence is regularly a problem in the towns police are sent to hide beside the road to make those all important revenue raising traffic offences stick. However this has turned into quite a bad week for one of Nu-labours top cops:-
Up to 3,000 motorists are to get their speeding convictions on the A5 in Bangor, Gwynedd quashed after a council failed to follow proper procedures.
The drivers were caught when a speed limit was dropped from 40mph to 30 mph near the Maes Geirchen estate on the outskirts of Bangor in July 2006.
A review of the cases found however the speed limit had not been properly put in place by the council.
The decision to drop the cases came after a review of the cases against 38 motorists, who challenged their speeding tickets. But the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said it had also advised North Wales Police that the decision applies to all others convicted of speeding offences on the stretch of road since 26 July 2006.-
Not too bad after all the council was also to blame but his force was very eager to start fining people the instant the speed limit was lowered, almost like it was a coordinated ambush to raise revenue, hmmm.
But then it got a lot worse:-
The father of a decapitated biker has called for a chief constable to be “sacked” for displaying pictures of his dead son without asking permission.
Images of Mark Gibney, 40, from Merseyside, were shown at a road safety briefing held by North Wales Police.
Now there’s a bit more to this story:-
He failed to spot the oncoming Vauxhall Astra in a dip and collided head-on at an estimated 95mph in a 60mph zone. He was decapitated and the driver suffered serious injuries.
A coroner later branded Mr Gibney’s riding “reprehensible.” The roofer had no licence, no insurance, no training and had a false number plate.
It was revealed last night that the controversial North Wales Chief Constable, Richard Brunstrom, showed gruesome pictures of the aftermath of the accident to journalists and local authority representatives at a conference to promote his anti-speeding policy.
Although his identity was not given, the presentation also included details of a distinctive T-shirt worn by the motorcyclist, which mocked traffic police with the message: “P–s off and catch some real criminals.”
So the rider is an idiot who was already breaking several laws, but from the description of the accident, a head on collision with a car, even if he had been doing the speed limit he would still be dead. Brunstrom repeatedly stresses that breaking the speed limit is an antisocial act and is morally wrong, his enforcement of traffic violations is very proactive (utilising the latest Big Brother tech available, he’s now looking at putting cameras in cat’s eyes) with a dash of zero tolerance. However this case does not demonstrate that, bad driving caused this not breaking the speed limit (he had passed no test, if you want to reduce accidents then keep making the tests better and stronger, not everyone is suited to driving whatever the car industry would like you to think -and force manufacturers to make cars more pedestrian friendly with external crumple zones- and utilise the training advanced drivers get, now that’s a tough test, over an hour in a car with a traffic cop). What it does demonstrate is- someone with a t-shirt that takes the piss out of the police will have their death used by this obsessional Chief constable to feed his neuroses.
Brunstrom is not as terrible as some chiefs, after all I lived under James Anderton, ‘God’s cop’ in Manchester who thought Aids was god’s punishment. I was at a funeral for an officer once and he gave the eulogy, clearly enjoying the audience and the religious setting, his huge beard giving him the aspect of the icons that looked down on us from the stained glass windows, he’s in the sally army now (Lloyd Cole & the Commotions wrote a song about him don’t you know). Brunstrom is nowhere near as offensive but he does enjoy his power and the police authority are in his pocket. If this latest scandal forces him out, the surveillance industry will lose a friend but the people of North Wales will breathe a collective sigh of relief.
nb. and no, I’m not one of the people who was fined in Bangor.