Friday, 19 December 2008

Police Raid PR Archives

Avon & Somerset Police appear to be quite concerned about suggestions that they are carrying out a purge against cyclists following their high profile attempts to enforce traffic regulations being breached by cyclists over the last week. Media attention has been intense with hundreds commenting via the Evening Post's online edition.

Claims of discrimination against cyclists are based on the fact that most traffic offenses perpetrated by motorists continue to be almost entirely ignored. However on Wednesday a story appeared in the Evening Post giving details of 'Operation Safer Bristol' which uses Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) to detect vehicles that are stolen or not taxed and insured. More than 1,000 vehicles have been stopped, 93 people arrested and 200 vehicles seized.

Good news, but just how 'new' is it? Much the same story had appeared in the Post the previous day and that in turn was a rehash of the original story that appeared back in October, when the bulk of the enforcement was actually carried out. So why has this old story suddenly reappeared twice in quick succession, just as some cyclists are asking why only they are expected to obey road traffic regulations?


Docsavage said...

On the day after the Police began their evil post inspired cycle bashing I happened to walk to work instead of cycle.
I decided to keep an eye open on the motorists I encountered on route.
In a 2 mile cross town walk I spotted;
7 motorists on mobiles
4 motorists jumping red lights (over three sets of lights and one ped crossing)and 57 cars parked on the pavement, of which 12 were blocking the footpath.
Interestingly I saw NO cyclists on footpaths, or jumping junctions.

I've written a polite letter to PC Do right (and to the cycling city council) to point out that perhaps they ought to be a bit more even handed in the way the force approaches their tactics of seemingly purging these offenders, perhaps putting as much effort into the above mentioned crimes in an equally high profile manner might help.

You mention the Evening Post online community (the ones who love to whip up a storm about cyclists) having taken the time to read some of the stuff online, it's clear that a small handful of what I would only describe as socially inadequates spend an awful lot of time spouting the most, bile filled rubbish you would care to believe about any number of subjects. The Post for their part seems happy to allow it, only under extreme circumstance do they withdraw or edit the crap thats posted.
(the depressing article about the cyclist killed on the Long Ashton bypass for instance - Guess the type of response THAT got before it was rightly pulled!)
For the Police to pay any creedence to this moronic and self serving rabble is staggering. For them to be quoted as saying their policies were influenced by it makes me very worried indeed.

Oh for a decent local paper.

PC Plod said...

Most of that activity in October happened out on the duel carriageways that make up the Ring Road, not anywhere near where cars have to interact with cyclists and pedestrians. You wouldn't jump a red light out there without a real smash. When you're in town and just competing for space with soft targets you can take far more risks.

Chris Hutt said...

PC Plod, was "duel carriageways" intentional? It often feels like that, but with pedestrians and cyclists armed with flintlocks and motorists with Kalashnikovs.

You are right to say that risk taking depends on the perception of risk. Motorists perceive much less risk (to themselves) than cyclists or pedestrians and behave accordingly.