To protect and to serve…

This is a rant about the police. Plain and simple.

I have never really had much respect for the majority of West Yorkshire Police. They seem to have a great effect of generally disturbing the peace, hassling people about their business, and generally being a bunch of ineffectual pussies.

Look at the “Hessles incident”, or the Aspire raid of 2002. What a prime fuck up they were. OK, this party in the Hessles was out of control, down to naivety and lack of thought. As for the Aspire raid, this was not really causing any trouble at all. Both police responses were a show of power.

On our way to Solfest, we pulled up in the taxi at Leeds station to be greeted by about 6 coppers and a sniffer dog (who seemed quite interested in my coolbag… …note to the wise if you have dope on you try hiding it in a pack of lamb-chops…) which was sent over the taxi like a rash. I would have expected a grilling ourselves, two oddly dressed festival heads. But no, a middle aged taxi driver obviously quite keen to finish his shift and go to bed is the new suspect drug mule. Or maybe they thought he had a bomb.

The mind boggles.

Recently though I have had a couple of reasons to try and get the police, and also the council, to do their fucking jobs. Ha-bloody-ha.

The other night I was woken at about 3 in the morning by a burglar alarm. And not a steady wailing siren that you can just about go and block out. This sounded like a dial up modem connecting. At about 150dB.

Skirting over the fact the the council’s “out of hours” noise service does not operate past 2am (not that this makes much different ‘cos they need a magistrate’s warrent to enter and shut of an alarm, which cannot be obtained out of hours. Anyway, somewhat unsurprisingly I was pretty pissed of when the builder turned up at about 9am, and made this fact quite clear.

He, however was fine, and obviously had the sense to understand why someone who has had no sleep and listened to that noise for about 6 hours might be a little stressed. However as I was imploring him to get t shut down, and to leave a contact number so we could get hold of him if it went off again, one of the roofers working on the project got out of his can and starts screaming it me to “chill the fuck out”. I pointed out to him that it was a little hard to be chilled out when one has been kept up all night, and that in any case it was not really any of his business and I didn’t want his fucking abuse. I went back inside.

Next thing I know, he is trying to kick his way through my door and screaming threats at me.

At this point I called 999.

I do not call the police lightly. Well ok, when I would like to make a point, for example about the fact that bonfire night in Hyde Park is like a war zone, or ask an explanation as to why sitting on the park early in the morning is considered suspicious behaviour and seems to give the police a right to take everyone’s details. However in this situation I called the police because I was concerned that I could not defend myself safely or within the Law.

And what a fat fucking load of use this was.

Despite, or maybe because of, the fact that this roofer shouted at the policeman as he arrived “tell him not to come out here again and cheek me”, the self important idiot of a copper had obviously decided that this whole thing was beneath him, and gave the distinct impression that he had made his mind up about the situation before even speaking to me.

“It’s just a door and I can’t see any damage what you so upset about, if he’d have wanted to he’d have got through it anyway” was the main gist of the police response. Aimee asked the reasonable question “can he not be asked to leave the area to give everyone a chance to calm down?”. Apparently a number of witnesses (and in fact an admission) is not sufficient evidence to act on a public order offence. Now I guess that the police are indoctrinated into the idea of retributive justice, as this officer’s tiny mind did not seem to comprehend that I did not want this person arrested and charged, merely that I was not happy with someone who had attempted to kick my door through working outside my house for the next day. Apparently the roofer “just wanted his days wage”. This of course is at the expense of mine as I will probably have to take this as a days leave, as there was no point I was leaving the house until I had got some sleep and this gentleman builder (which is what he seemed to have now been elevated to) had fucked off.

I contacted Horsforth Police Station about this, and talked to a very sympathetic desk sergeant. Sympathetic that is until she had spoken to the attending officer, when she called me back and generally repeated by rote the attitude he had taken with me. My recourse if I was unhappy, she said was to make a complaint to the IPCC.

The Victor Meldrew in me actually is quite happy with making complaints, when I feel they will have any kind of constructive effect. However at this point I really cannot be arsed with the bureaucracy. However I would quite like a police officer with enough seniority to possess more than a lone brain cell (possibly an oxymoron I guess) to explain to me, as an intelligent adult why it is not reasonable for someone who has issued threats and attempted criminal damage to be asked to leave the area, for the well being of another person.

I was not going to check my door for damage while this person and the remainder of the cowboys working on the property were sat outside my house taking the piss. However a couple of days later is became obvious that in the cellar step, which is admittedly eroded, there is now a hole the size and shape of a steely boot where a chunk of step had been forced with some velocity into the cellar.

So again I called the police. Once again this is not because I wish to get this person in trouble. In an ideal world this would have resulted in perhaps an apology and slapping a bit of concrete over the hole. But I rent my house, and if I need to report damage caused by a third party to my landlord, I need a crime number. Of course this all fell on deaf ears. The policeman said he could not report that as a crime, claiming there was no evidence it was not just simple erosion.

In contemporary Britain it is not considered appropriate to take matters into ones own hands. Yet those there to deal with things have no teeth. Personally I would have liked to climb the scaffolding and knock that fucking alarm off with a lump-hammer.  Maybe had I opened the door to the abuse with the kitchen cleaver in my hand Mr Big Boy would have realised I wasn’t worth the effort of taking out his bad day and the late arrival of his foreman on.

Two things are clear. The council is simply a politicised waste of time. They want to show lip service to tackling issues affecting local people, but when it comes to the crunch I could not get anything from them. It is also noticeable that not one of the three local councillors for the area who do not, it seems, run any kind of surgeries have replied to my messages left on their numbers or with their offices. And what fucking use is an out of hours noise service that does not run out of hours.

Secondly, the legal system in this country is a waste of space. Of course this is something I know very well, but this illustrates is very well. Kids are hassled on the street for being kids. Yet an abusive builder, or for that matter, students who should by now know better are left to act like twats. The ones who stole various of my plants, which were then found (along with many other items from their night out) planted on their windowsill were left be as “there was no evidence”.

I’ve recently been in court with Aimee to support her giving evidence. This was interesting, especially the defence counsel who seemed to think he was in Ally McBeal. I guess I’d hoped, for the sake of sense that the general bullshit of a trial was exaggerated. The defendant’s main defence was that it was not her wot done it, based on the witness giving a 90 per cent certainty that it was her in the ID parade. I will be interested in the result of this one. I have no interest really in the result for the result’s sake, but I would be intrigued if with all other evidence pointing to this person, except a 100 percent certain identification she can worm out of it.

Going back to builders, I think I will make a complaint to the IPCC. Not because I think it will do jack shit, but if the police are made to trawl through and respond to a complaint it keeps them off the streets, where to be fair, they do more harm than good – less through their attitude, but just via their inability.