The police in Bexley, some of them at least, are making strenuous efforts to
engage with the community. It started in Thamesmead
after the murder of Olamide Fasina and was extended to Welling a few months ago.
The main thrust has been the circulation, by email when possible, of Newsletters and a steady flow of information, not all of it too stuffy or serious, on Twitter. The police may be on Facebook too but I don’t often go there. An unstructured mess beyond my IT skills unfortunately.
The result appears to be that local beat bobbies are regarded as more human and sympathetic than before and even I have been won over to a considerable extent; and I have more reason than most to regard them all with deep suspicion.
In Bexley the police refused to take action against a councillor who misappropriated more than two thousand pounds of taxpayers’ cash, prematurely stopped the investigation of another for the obscenities that originated on his phone line. That was followed by a politically motivated cover up and lies aimed at blaming the victim rather than the prime suspect. Three consecutive Bexley police commanders were implicated in the two cases. A fourth sanctioned lying about residents when asked to do so by Bexley council.
Beyond Bexley, my son-in-law’s brother was murdered with police involvement and the cover up extended to Commissioner level and a string of Home Secretaries (Blunkett, Straw and Blears) were just as bad - until Theresa May came along.
As you will hopefully understand I can’t quite get my head around the concept of an honest copper and it doesn’t help that my associate, Mick Barnbrook, was a Police Inspector in Bexleyheath 20 years ago and if you give him half a chance he will regale you with non-stop stories of bent senior officers who threaten various dreadful sanctions against any lower grade pleb intent on treading the absolute straight and narrow.
When PC Chris Molnar who is the Thamesmead Twitter-in-Chief began to web stream his speed gun activities my first thought was “you’ve blown it now Chris”. I watched on line as he stood around a bend on a near empty two lane in each direction dual carriageway pulling in those who were paying insufficient attention to the 30 m.p.h. limit.
Fresh from another ‘lecture’ by my son - whose business is road safety - on why fixed speed cameras are effective only as cash cows and Bexley council’s admission that they have no statistical data to justify the installation of speed cameras in Bexley Road and Brook Street, I had very mixed feelings about PC Molnar’s web streaming. (†)
May‘s two speed camera blogs attracted a good 50% more web hits than the usual level so one might guess that unjustified speed cameras on hills are not generally welcomed. I told Chris Molnar of my misgivings.
However there was little need for concern.
One might speculate from his response that PC Molnar recognises that the use of discretion-free dumb yellow boxes is a blunt instrument which merely accelerates the widespread feeling that Britain is no longer a fair society. His was a far more sensible approach. Chris Molnar and his colleagues were doing no more than dishing out advice and not points on licenses. Click image to enlarge it.
Those driving closer to 50 than 40 m.p.h. were not so lucky but drifting a little over the limit, quite a lot over the limit some might say, was rewarded only with a gentle warning of the possible consequences. PC Chris Molnar is doing a good and honest job, he’ll never get promoted.
† Bexley council has suggested asking Transport for London for information. Is a backwater like Brook Street a TfL responsibility? Seems unlikely.