The incredible length of time it takes to re-open roads after accidents in the UK is yet another way in which the ruling powers are completely disconnected from ordinary people. This is something I’ve been meaning to write about for ages, and the time is now right, as Jeremy Clarkson has complained about it, and the ruling class, including The Telegraph, has tried to crush him for it.
Jeremy Clarkson has come under fire after complaining about the length of time it took the police to reopen a road following a fatal car accident.
The former Top Gear host, took to social media after he was held up in traffic following a crash in West London in the early hours of Friday morning …
Posting on Twitter the following day, Clarkson, who has regularly courted controversy, wrote: “Dear The Police, I know it was a nasty crash in Hammersmith last night but how can it take this long to reopen the road?”
The Telegraph does it’s best to make Clarkson look unreasonable:
the comment sparked anger among serving police officers whose job it is to deal with the aftermath of fatal road traffic accidents, as well as members of the public.
One police officer hit back, posting: “Sorry you were delayed Jeremy Clarskon, perhaps you’d like to come with us and personally explain to the family of the deceased that we didn’t investigate the death of their loved one thoroughly because you wanted to get home? That their loss is a complete irrelevance to you?”
I’m not buying it. The police take far too long over these investigations. I think they’re playing at being TV cops, plus I bet there’s an enormous amount of bureaucracy and form-ticking that slow everything down enormously. I don’t believe the claim that the police can’t investigate any faster.
And in case you say, ‘How do you know?’, my suspicions were confirmed a few years ago when there was a minor accident near my house a few years ago. A drunk guy walked across the road without looking, and was hit by a car, and badly injured. The police came, and they closed the road, a fairly major artery for the city, for literally five hours while they piddled about playing at being super cops. I watched them from my upstairs window. They did very little, and occasionally they would pace about the road and look at it and take photos. Mainly they just kept the road blocked off. All for a case that was never very complex.
So I don’t believe that most of these long closures are really necessary. They cause a huge amount of disruption to people’s lives. You can’t just wave away the concerns of people who have lives to lead and make them wait in a mammoth traffic jam for five hours. There is a balance.
Detective Superintendent Andy Cox added: “Dear Jeremy Clarkson the nasty crash you mention resulted in a fatality. As lead Detective I require investigators to secure best evidence from a highly complex scene. It takes as long as necessary. We want roads moving but I hope you understand prioritise quality investigations.”
‘We want roads moving’. Easy to say, but is it really true? It’s clear to me that getting roads moving comes a distant second to investigating a crash. It’s like when the government says, ‘We’re not anti-car’. It’s easy to say, but behaviour reveals otherwise.
You’d also have to question whether the extra information gained by dragging the investigation on for hours and hours really adds much. Most of the evidence can be quickly gathered: photos of debris positions, photos of skid marks, and so on. Is searching for another two hours for a couple of pieces of windscreen glass that might, just might in one case in a thousand, reveal that driver X was to blame rather than driver Y, really worth it? Sure we want to have a good idea of who was at fault, but it’s not a murder case. It may be a manslaughter case, but how often is that going to be revealed by those extra hours?
Personally I think keeping the road closed for so long is yet another way in which the government advertises its dominance over us.
Update: Note that the Telegraph were too chicken to put a byline on this article, it’s just down as by ‘Telegraph Reporters’. And note also that it’s another piece put together mostly from someone trawling Twitter.