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Searching all night for the tell-tale skid mark — 22 Comments

  1. Spend a day with a Traffic unit investigating a road death, including going with the officers to tell someone that their husband/wife/child/parent won’t be going home, and then write an article about it.
    Clarkson is an overly opinionated bore and very selective regarding the law and procedures. Didn’t he once demand that any dog that bit a person should be put down, immediately followed by it’s owner?
    To be honest, if I was a Police officer at the scene of that fatality, I’d have kept him waiting all night, just because he’s Jeremy Clarkson!

    • >Spend a day with a Traffic unit investigating a road death, including going with the officers to tell someone that their husband/wife/child/parent won’t be going home, and then write an article about it.

      Why does having to be the one telling a loved one the bad news make you the right person to decide how long a road should be closed for?

      This is exactly the attitude that causes problems. You have to do something emotionally tough, and that makes you think that you have moral superiority to everyone else. This happens to doctors all the time. They see people dying, so they think that they should be telling everyone what to do. and how to live their lives.

      “We’re important, and we’re doing important life-and-death things, so you all will just have to forego your trivial little pleasures like seeing a client, or getting home to go to parent-teacher night, because we have important work to do.”

      >To be honest, if I was a Police officer at the scene of that fatality, I’d have kept him waiting all night, just because he’s Jeremy Clarkson!

      Unfortunately this seems to pretty much be the police’s attitude to the public, and confirms my point that this is really about telling the public — especially the car-driving public — that they’re pieces of shit, and don’t they dare complain.

    • “Didn’t he once demand that any dog that bit a person should be put down, immediately followed by it’s owner?”

      So, he’s right about TWO things – policing and dangerous dogs?

  2. “Why does having to be the one telling a loved one the bad news make you the right person to decide how long a road should be closed for?”
    It doesn’t. What determines how long a road should be closed for, is the need to gather evidence of whether the incident is an accident, manslaughter, or murder. All of these require investigation. How many people complained about London Bridge road being closed after the act of terrorism by Muslims? Was it murder, an uninsured driver losing control of his vehicle? Having machetes accidentally slip out of his hand and hit people? It needed investigation.
    You claim to be a professor. In order to do your job/carry out your profession, you would need to investigate and challenge in order to reach a conclusion. Howq long did that take on average?

    “You have to do something emotionally tough, and that makes you think that you have moral superiority to everyone else”
    No they don’t. If you disagree, do what professors do and provide examples that helped you reach that conclusion.

    “To be honest, if I was a Police officer at the scene of that fatality, I’d have kept him waiting all night, just because he’s Jeremy Clarkson! Unfortunately this seems to pretty much be the police’s attitude to the public….”
    Surely (no, I didn’t call you Shirley), even professors have a sense of humour, though it appears to be lacking in this case. A comment such as this on a topical show such as HIGNFY would probably have raised a laugh. Perhaps it was the way I told it? Was Clarkson’s comment about dog owners being put down meant in all seriousness or was it a joke? The fact that dog owners are not complaing that he is inciting mass murder? is because it was taken as a Clarkson type joke. You do know what a joke is, don’t you professor? You could even include some in “Days of wine and cheese”.
    That comment may sound like a personal insult. It wasn’t, but rather constructive criticism. However, as an ex Police officer who has attended more road traffic collisions, with quite a few resulting in fatalities, than I care to remember, I did take your article as a personal insult.

    “Unfortunately this seems to pretty much be the police’s attitude to the public, and confirms my point that this is really about telling the public — especially the car-driving public — that they’re pieces of shit, and don’t they dare complain.”
    No it isn’t. It has nothing to do with telling the public anything, apqart from, possibly in the case you’re referring to, that there has been a serious incident resulting in a death and the road has been cloased to allow enquiries as to the cause. As for telling motorists, or insiuating that they are pieces of shit, it just would not happen. All Police officers have identification numbers which allows anyone with the grounds of complaint to do so. Also, Police officers now have bodycams to avoid any misunderstandings, yet they are still sitting targets for anyone, and I mean anyone, who wishes to complain about their actions. If you feel you have a valid reason, then do complain, and that complaint will be investigated. In the case of Clarkson, he complained about the Police in general, rather thann a particular officer, and he didn’t complain to the Police, but rather bleated to his mates in the media about Police in general. But, as that appears to be what Slebs do, his complaint is, rightly, being treated as vexacious.

    I’m afraid that we will have to agree to disagree.

  3. “Clarkson complained about the police in general…….and didn’t complain to the police”

    So what, he is a journalist after all. Do you not think his journalistic instincts tell him that the police are not in particular favour with the general public these days.

    The police love Twitter and social meeja generally and seem to spend an inordinate amount of time finding “racists” and “islamophobes”. Not a great deal of time dealing with Muslim rape gangs.

    Rules exist for the guidance of wise men and the blind obedience of fools. The blue lamp went out long ago and took this age old principle with it.

    I’m old enough to remember coppers on the beat in a time when the police were authority figures, because that’s how they behaved and that’s how they looked. Like soldiers: courteous and polite but you had no doubt that, get uppity, you quite likely get a boot up the arse (from the perspective of the teenager I was then).

    What are they now? Physically, too many of them would have difficulty dealing with mini me. They are no longer figures of authority but are seen too often as servants of the political state.

    Peter Hitchens has quite a good take on this. Go to his mail on Sunday column and search the archives. His most telling observation beings occasions when senior police officers refer to the public as “civilians” without realising what this implies.

    I can’t see how the police can ever get back to what they once were. Trouble, they don’t seem to care.

  4. Penseivat, despite claiming loads of experience with the issue at hand and demanding examples bolstering the OP’s arguments, you tellingly do not make any arguments (with examples or otherwise) justifying the inordinate amount of time these road closures are taking.

    Instead your constant ad-homs and textbook appeals to authority reveal the precise attitude that Mr Drummond is complaining about. Thanks for proving the point.

  5. >>“Why does having to be the one telling a loved one the bad news make you the right person to decide how long a road should be closed for?”
    >It doesn’t. What determines how long a road should be closed for, is the need to gather evidence of whether the incident is an accident, manslaughter, or murder.

    But you’re the one who brought up that point as though it had some bearing on the matter.

    >It needed investigation.

    Sure, no-one’s denying that. But I still question the time taken.

    >Surely (no, I didn’t call you Shirley), even professors have a sense of humour

    Of course it was a joke, but it was a most unfortunate one in the circumstances, because that’s now how most people see the police. Standing around sneering and laughing at ordinary people, making them wait.

    >as an ex Police officer who has attended more road traffic collisions, with quite a few resulting in fatalities, than I care to remember, I did take your article as a personal insult.

    I expect you were great at the job. I wasn’t having a go at police who have to tell people their loved ones have been killed, or sort out the mess. But in general the police have lost their way.

    >It has nothing to do with telling the public anything, apqart from, possibly in the case you’re referring to, that there has been a serious incident resulting in a death and the road has been cloased to allow enquiries as to the cause.

    But any institution that treats people poorly can say this. It doesn’t mean it isn’t true. Most of the people involved may not even consciously think this. But the system evolves in such a way that power accrues to one group in a lop-sided way, and they naturally adjust their behaviour.

    >As for telling motorists, or insiuating that they are pieces of shit, it just would not happen.

    It’s more impersonal than that.

    >In the case of Clarkson, he complained about the Police in general, rather thann a particular officer, and he didn’t complain to the Police, but rather bleated to his mates in the media about Police in general. But, as that appears to be what Slebs do, his complaint is, rightly, being treated as vexacious.

    It’s quite disturbing that you’ve described his mild whinge as ‘vexacious’, and claim that police are treating it as such. It confirms what a lot of former supporters of the police now think. The police now see themselves as a protected class, and the public have no right to an opinion about them.

  6. Another thing to add is that police claims about having to investigate accidents to the nth degree infuriates people when police clearly couldn’t give a stuff about investigating a whole range of crimes – definite crimes, not possible crimes like road accidents – that greatly affect people.

    Burglaries: yawn, here’s a number. Violent neighbours: nothing we can do mate. Eco protesters holding up traffic: we’ll join in. Muslims acting in a threatening matter: say that again and I’ll arrest you. The local thug will beat me up if I give evidence against him: We’ll give him a talking to if he does. My car was stolen: that’s a shame, hope you get it back. My laptop was stolen, and look, here’s a picture of guy who stole it, he’s taking pictures with it and they’re uploading to the cloud, can you find him: No, and don’t go taking the law into your own hands.

  7. I’ve lived on and around a major A road all my life. It has constant accidents, regular fatalities, has done as long as I can remember. Its definitely true that recently the police close this road at the drop of a hat, any accident, fatality or not, will result in the road being closed. This never used to happen more than 10 years ago, whether its related to the fact that the local police station was relocated from the centre of town to an out of town location right at the point where the A road leaves town I couldn’t possibly comment……..

  8. Why cYT?lose a road after a road traffic accident/collision/attempted murder using a motor vehicle?
    There may be vehicles blocking access and egress, which will require moving. To move them will require recovery vehicles. The recovery vehicles may not be immediately available, possibly dealing with other incidents, plus they have to get to the scene. If there is a build up of traffic, they may have problems getting through. Once at the scene, the recovery crew have to ensure that the vehicle is safe to be moved. Is there petrol or oil spilling on to the road? Are there bodies or injured persons still trapped in the vehicle? There will then be a requirement for forensic and senior officers to attend, plus ambulance and fire and rescue (travelling time and access again). In the case of serious injuries, a helicopter ambulance may be required, which will need space to land.
    Meanwhile, any debris on the road will need to be checked for evidential purposes. Was the incident caused by foreign bodies or material on the road (one serious RTC was caused by kids catapulting steel ball bearings at passing cars, another caused by kids throwing things off bridges). If something is there which shouldn’t be, it has to be collected for evidential purposes, which takes time.
    Any remaining, non evidential debris must then be moved to the side of the road and collected for removal.
    Spilled oil or fuel has to be hosed down with detergent to make the road safe to drive on – again, this may take time in the appropriate equipment becoming available and on scene.
    Evidential first account statements must be taken from those able and lucid enough, to make them. This can be extremely important to help determine the cause of the incident. Breath tests must be given at the roadside to ascertain if the drivers were fit to do so.
    With government policies sub contracting to other agencies, the Highways Department usually now becomes involved. Local or county councils, and even Health and Safety may require detailed statements from those involved, drivers, passengers, and officers attending.
    All of this takes time. I served as a Traffic officer for quite a few years, though retired quite a few years ago. Spending several hours in the pouring rain, at 2am, in the middle of March, helping to deal with a multi vehicle traffic collision on a major road, gives little incentive to “piss off the public” by keeping the road closed for as long as possible.
    As mentioned above, there are now several agencies involved in traffic incidents and, as I understand it, it is now often not the Police’s decision to close a road, or for how long.
    I can only comment on the Times I was a Police officer, but I do feel that it does little help, in discussing road closures, to compare Police actions, or non actions, in other matters.
    To try and put that into another, possibly comparable, context, if you go to A&E and have to wait 4 hours to be seen, or pop into the council offices and join the long queue, or even have to wait in a doctor’s surgery, despite having an appointment time, would you complain about the length of time you have to wait?
    There are only so many Police officers, and getting fewer all the time due to cuts in numbers and resignations because of conditions of service.
    In my day, reasonable and intelligent suggestions and comments about actions at traffic incidents, including road closures, were always seriously considered and I assume it is the same today. Police officers are only human, ordinary men and women who are sometimes required to do things which are out of the ordinary, and constantly receiving criticism and insults does tend to wear you down. Perhaps the comment in Clarkson’s whinging finally wore down the officer who replied?
    Drive safely now.

    • What you seem to have described is a lot of middle class people making work for each other, at the expense of the taxpayer, while actually achieving very little of positive good for society at large in return. All that work might result in what, the occasional prosecution? Who will then be given a slap on the wrists, and/or a whole lot more middle class work be created for probation and social workers. Who actually benefits from all this police and other agency ‘work’? Society as a whole, or the workers within the system?

      Would society be better off if whenever there was an accident on the roads all the detritus were pushed to one side, the road reopened and everyone got on with their lives?

        • Of course if there’s people lying injured or trapped in vehicles then a road is going to closed while they are cared for and extracted and taken to hospital, no one is saying otherwise. No one is going to take umbrage at waiting while the occupants of crashed cars are cared for.

          But once all the people are gone, and its just bits of vehicle left, shift them to one side, brush the road and get the traffic moving. P*ssing around taking measurements and gathering painstaking evidence would only be of use to wider society if it was to be used in a way that benefited wider society – namely that the courts and justice system prosecuted and punished dangerous drivers draconianly, and thus made the roads safer for everyone else.

          But the court system does nothing of the sort – dangerous drivers are allowed to continue on their merry way causing accidents time after time, ignoring driving bans, ignoring the need to be insured, cocking a snook at everyone else.

          So society at large loses thrice – it gets to pay for policemen and other civil servants to play at being CSI on the roads, it gets held up when roads are closed for CSI plod to do their pension qualification activity (sorry, work) and it still has to suffer the dangerous drivers that the justice system refuses to remove from circulation in society.

          I thus conclude that we (the driving and tax paying public) would be better off if we just forgot about who was to blame for an accident, cleared the road and got the traffic flowing, saving money and time.

          • So, if you were side swiped by another driver and, although no one is injured, your car is extensively damaged, you would be happy with the vehicles simply being pushed to the side of the road and no further action taken?
            As blame or cause will not be considered, you would also be quite happy losing any no claims insurance discount and increased premiums in having the vehicle repaired or replaced?

          • Thats pretty much what happens anyway. Ask anyone who has been in an accident where (objectively) they were not at fault, whether a) the other person was prosecuted or b) their premiums didn’t go up despite it being the other persons fault? My own mother was driven into by a car that drove out of its driveway without looking, so totally not her fault, yet her premium rose the next renewal, because quote ‘You’re in a higher risk bracket now’

            Quite often insurance companies will call an accident ‘knock for knock’ even when there’s considerable evidence one party was at fault, the insurance companies don’t care, its swings and roundabouts to them, what they lose on one accident they’ll gain on another. So apportioning blame is hardly bothered with.

  9. Again, please ignore spelling, grammar, or syntax errors. Apart from my Kindle going into what seems like foreign language mode, was at A&E most of the night as ex Police colleague taken seriously ill.
    Also (again), I may have given the impression we wait till the recovery vehicle arrives before determining if any trapped or killed is dealt with – not so. Very tired!

  10. Lots of time on road closures and collecting fines from motorists from automated devices. Little evidence of police activity elsewhere for things that genuinely matter day in and day out to real people.

    Drive safely. I always try to .

    Live safely? That’s what the police should be doing a damn site more to ensure we can.

    Would I complain at waiting four hours in A&E or a council office. Former possibly, latter damned right!

    I’m sorry, but you are not going to elicit much sympathy from a population who feel the direct effects of police inaction on what is euphemistically termed “low level” crime (and more than a little high level crime) on a daily basis.

    • I did suggest that it was unfair to include comments and criticism of other Police procedures into a topic on road closures after road traffic incidents, but it appears you may have missed that. I haven’t been a Police officer for some years and have no involvement or knowledge of current non traffic matters, so any criticism about that doesn’t really affect me much. If you feel strongly enough about it, write to your Chief Constable with options. I have merely tried to explain why road closures may take longer than the average member of public would like.
      Mind how you go.

  11. >Spending several hours in the pouring rain, at 2am, in the middle of March, helping to deal with a multi vehicle traffic collision on a major road, gives little incentive to “piss off the public” by keeping the road closed for as long as possible.

    You guys who do that are great, and we’re all grateful to you. But who makes the decisions now? Who sets the framework for when roads can be opened? Not the guy in the pouring rain at 2am.

    >As mentioned above, there are now several agencies involved in traffic incidents and, as I understand it, it is now often not the Police’s decision to close a road, or for how long.

    I realise that, and to be fair I apportion blame to all of them. And this is part of what I mean when I say that these decisions are increasingly taken by a remote bureaucracy who have no love for car drivers.

    >I do feel that it does little help, in discussing road closures, to compare Police actions, or non actions, in other matters.

    I have to disagree with that.

    >To try and put that into another, possibly comparable, context, if you go to A&E and have to wait 4 hours to be seen, or pop into the council offices and join the long queue, or even have to wait in a doctor’s surgery, despite having an appointment time, would you complain about the length of time you have to wait?

    Yes I would complain. See here, for example:
    https://hectordrummond.com/2018/08/07/were-the-boss-and-you-must-act-accordingly/

    As with police, it’s not about the workers at the front line, who are often working their arses off (A&E doctors and nurses, at least. Dentists, not so much. Council workers: not at all). It’s about the system. And the priorities. And who is setting the priorities.

    For instance, it seems to me that the increased time taken to investigate accidents coincides with the move a few years ago to do away with talk of car ‘accidents’. There’s always someone at fault, went this theory. I suspect we’re seeing the fruits of this theory in action now.

    >There are only so many Police officers, and getting fewer all the time due to cuts in numbers and resignations because of conditions of service.

    I don’t blame any policeman for resigning. I would.

    >Perhaps the comment in Clarkson’s whinging finally wore down the officer who replied?

    A measured and informative response is always better when you’re seen as a representative of an official body. Smart-alec remarks attacking the character of the person complaining don’t go down too well, as happened with some of these Twitter responses. (I know, I’ve been there myself.)

    >If you feel strongly enough about it, write to your Chief Constable with options.

    That would make not the slightest difference.

    Finally, I appreciate all the things that have to be done after an accident which you list, but after that accident on my road all that had been done and they still kept the road closed for hours while nothing happened.

    I should also note that ten to fifteen years ago, they still had to do most of this, but they got the roads cleared quicker. What’s changed? An exaggerated search for evidence, an unrealistic safety culture, a decision by the higher-ups to put the drivers last, and of course our old friend, ever-increasing bureaucracy.

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