Just a quick note to point out that Aiden McHaffie, the keen cyclist currently nursing a broken wing after being involved in an accident in Birmingham, seems to be receiving some justice at last. On Monday, I offered my opinion and reblogged Aiden’s story from his own journal, of how West Midlands Police had tried to blame him for an accident that clearly wasn’t his fault. The shoddy, lacklustre service he received from the police is sadly not an isolated experience, and Aiden’s story resonated with cyclists throughout the area.
The story was discussed on Birmingham Cyclist, and other forums. Readers of my blog commented, and were shocked, and as a result of a publicity push over social media, including Facebook, the police now seem to be revising their position. It’s very early days and I don’t want to jinx anything but it’s certainly looking better than before. I do hope the single person on Facebook who noted that they’d rather we shut up has learned something now. This is an example of the local online community uniting around a local issue and making its feelings felt. West Midlands Police – and indeed any other public-facing organisation – would do well to take note. The times have changed, and public relations is no longer a one-way medium. The community has a voice and will be heard.
As a result, Linda, Aiden’s partner, was interviewed on the Aidrian Goldberg show on Radio WM, as was Police Superintendent Shaun Russell, who both gave excellent accounts of themselves. You can listen to the recording below.
I’d personally like to thank Assistant Chief Constable Marcus Beale, for yet again getting involved via twitter and weathering the storm, as well as all those who got involved. Thank you, folks.
At the same time as I was rather ineloquently ranting, noted sage of the local online community, The Plastic Hippo, was crafting a far better targeted, more considered polemic on the matter, and the Police and social media in general. As ever, the Professor Yaffle of Walsall nails it. Please read this, and digest it. The man is spot on.
The police ignore his words at their peril.