Thursday, October 19, 2006

Community Policing and Peaceful Protest

Inspector Paul Firth attended the meeting of Hafod Action Group tonight, answered questions and explained how he sees things.

In spite of several brave attempts by members of the group to explain the community's concern over traffic issues and road safety, Paul continued to make comments demonstrating that he totally misunderstands people's motivation for reporting traffic offences.

Everyone who spoke talked of the risks to other road users caused by these infringements and their general concern that no-one should be killed or injured on the road as a result of traffic offences linked with the quarry. Paul Firth appeared not to be listening:

"Ladies and gents, reporting all these traffic infringements won't get the quarry closed," he countered. Several people tried to explain that traffic issues around the quarry are their concern because they live in the local community and don't want their local roads to become death traps, but that wasn't going to change Paul's view of how things are:

"It feels like we [the police] are being put into a position where we are the only ones who are going to put an end to tipping." This, in spite of the fact that he had sat through the meeting on Saturday with Karen and Martyn listening to a whole range of concerns, including many which were not police matters. He continued with a warning:

"You should be aware that we haven't been able to police drugs issues and burglaries in the area because the police are down there [at the quarry]."
Some members challenged Paul to justify over-policing incidents, such as the three police officers who had been sent to police six peaceful protesters, and who stayed at the site gate for far longer than necessary to establish they weren't needed. People were too polite to raise the issue of the 14 police officers sent to police the protest on Monday. Paul now denies saying that he only has 4 officers to police 250 square miles in his patch. He did though. We heard him.

One of the many pieces of foam littering the roadway from the quarry right down onto the by-pass and causing drivers to swerve dangerously to avoid what look for all the world like large pieces of rock (this one was about 4" high).

Anyway, Paul has been into Hafod Quarry today to slap the wrists of Murkey Waste bosses, to tell them to leave the camera at the gate on 24/7 (although we all know that the most useful footage on CCTV has a habit of mysteriously disappearing when it's most needed) and to warn them that they've got to clean up their act or they'll "get it in the neck". He asked us to quote this phrase.

In order to deal with traffic infringements by wagon drivers and the sweeping vehicle, the police need EVIDENCE. Dates, times, number plates, witnesses, photos, video footage. Please report all future infringements to the police with as much accompanying evidence as possible.

When is a peaceful protest not a peaceful protest? Paul Firth is of the view that anything which stops Mersey Waste carrying out its lawful [even though we know it's not] business for even a few minutes is not peaceful protest. He needs to go and look at the long and illustrious history of civil disobedience by pacifists in this country and worldwide. In the face of grave injustices perpetrated or condoned by the state, when the systems of the state fail to rectify such injustices, good citizens have frequently taken action. Direct action is not incompatible with peaceful protest.


At Friday, October 20, 2006 12:18:00 AM, Anonymous Paul Firth Appreciation Society said...

Firstly I believe we should thank Inspector Firth for addressing the public meeting tonight (hic, last night, the days are getting longer!); it was good of him to make time to explain the issues as he saw them.

Sadly however it was vintage Paul Firth; firstly he advised us that hadn’t come expecting to speak! (In the absence of tea and biscuits – a usual Paul Firth meeting requirement - why was he there?) Nonetheless he soon found his tongue and out it rolled …lots of partnership / collaborative working, supporting everyone, engineering solutions, competing resources (we can’t be in two places at once, what, not even Perfect Paul?) These are his stock responses to almost every problem you might care to take to him! What however you can guarantee is that there will be no real policing – no positive enforcement action against lorry drivers with mobile phones, dropping rock like sponges on the roads and not wearing seatbelts. No action against MWH for making false allegations of protesters obstructing vehicles entering the site that subsequently tie up his officers for almost two hours.

When his name is mentioned at the morning protest his own Officers smile knowingly, not even they buy into this nonsense. The ironic thing is he might (just might) be right but his credibility is so shot amongst this community and his own officers that nobody even begins to take him seriously.

Inspector Firth still fails to grasp the simple point that to build confidence within the community you FIRST have to actively police the community’s concerns; when you do this we will start to believe in you and work with you in partnership; it’s not rocket science. It really is now time to rejoin this little place we like to call the real world; otherwise resign and return to Planet Paul where everything is improved by passing the buck, meeting together over a cup of tea and a biscuit (chocolate of course) and generally letting the fat cats (and illegal parkers, and drug dealers and house burglars et al) get away with it. Police us, and them, or go – it really is that simple!

At Friday, October 20, 2006 12:24:00 AM, Anonymous Paul Firth Appreciation Society said...

I bet the Officers on tomorrows gate duty are safely tucked up in their beds - that said the pretty (if a little grumpy!) blonde one will have to be tending to her hair and make up soon - after all you never know who you might pull at a landfill and 7am on a Friday morning! Night Night Hafod, see you in six hours! zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

At Friday, October 20, 2006 1:11:00 AM, Blogger dafad ddu said...

Help I'm being stalked! Perhaps I should I call Paul Firth

At Friday, October 20, 2006 9:16:00 AM, Anonymous Paul Firth Appreciation Society said...

Sorry Hafod you'd be wasting your time - he's in another meeting!

At Friday, October 20, 2006 7:48:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Peaceful! Threats of murder are not peaceful.

At Friday, October 20, 2006 8:54:00 PM, Blogger Y Ddraig Goch said...

To the Labour Party traitors. Who do you think you are fooling? We know that you people are behind the fake letter in the name of Maurice Jones and the lies and distortions you have printed in the local press. We know about information submitted to Sierra Bravo to have our phone and E-mail intercepted. Be warned, your power is coming to an end and we know who you are, don't think that Romero Bravo and his black shirts will defend you when your back is against the wall!
Y Ddraig Goch is watching you!

At Friday, October 20, 2006 11:37:00 PM, Blogger dafad ddu said...

Anon wrote:

Peaceful! Threats of murder are not peaceful.

Care to substantiate that slur? If you can't, I suggest you withdraw it.

At Thursday, October 26, 2006 12:55:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Overheard at the Quarry gates:
First protester: I could murder a cup of tea!
Second protester:Me too.

I rest my case.


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