I note with some concern that fellow cyclists Aiden Mchaffee and Linda Mason are still struggling to get any action out of West Midlands Police following Aiden’s dreadful accident in Birmingham last March. Aiden has been regularly blogging events, and regular readers will recall that I posted about his plight, and even Radio WM picked up on the case, whereupon it seemed at last that officers were listening.
Well, it’s largely come to naught, and Superintendent Russell, despite promises on the radio, appears not to have been in touch with Aiden since. I’m rapidly coming to the conclusion that our local police not only treat such accidents trivially, but seem to spend more time attempting to quell bad publicity than they would actually dealing with the source of it. They seem very good at making promises over social media but seem to have huge problems following through with action.
As I’m writing this on Saturday morning, Linda has just tweeted the following:
Aiden and Linda are good citizens, like you and me. Their shoddy, laissez-faire treatment by the people charged with the task of protecting us all is shocking. Time and time again, cycling forums and cyclist gatherings resonate with tales of police failing to help cyclists involved in accidents. Rather than proving them wrong, these events have served to reinforce the feeling that our protectors are not there for us.
I’d really begun to think that West Midlands Police were changing for the better, but after this shambles, I’m not so sure.
I’m taking the liberty of reflagging Aiden’s latest post here.
115/365 It’s All Lies M’Lud
Shock Horror, the West Midlands Police tell lies. Brave words I hear you mutter. Last month, the listeners of BBC WM heard Superintendent Russell tell Adrian Goldberg that It was critical to understand what had happened in my case. He stated that the Policy was clear and that the Police would go out to any injury or RTC that is a serious incident. He also added that there was a threshold around this policy. The complications were sometimes over the description of what comes over from the air or ambulance service. Supt Russell also absolutely agreed with Adrian Goldberg that a miscommunication from the Ambulance Service could be at fault.
Of course without a full investigation he couldn’t comment whether the Police should have gone. At the end of the interview Adrian Goldberg commented on how it was wonderful to have the Police come on to the radio and talk on matters like this. In effect telling it like it was. Well did he tell it like it was? Was I the hapless victim of the system? Was I the victim of a miscommunication by the Ambulance service?
Nigh on two months after the accident and prior to going on to her Majesties Radio station, it would be unreasonable to expect a full investigation to have taken place but you would have thought Supt Russell would have at least asked the person who took the call at the Police station from the Ambulance Service what had gone on. Well you would wouldn’t you before going on the radio to talk about matters like this.
Well today the calls form WMAS (set Midlands Ambulance Service) to the Police were released to us. You will remember that the 999 calls left no doubt as to my condition. The WMAS contacted the police at 1756 Alerting them to the report of a car vs bike accident. The Police Officer asked how serious it was and the WMAS responded that they didn’t know, all they had was an arm injury.
Thirteen (13) THIRTEEN minutes later, the Police called the WMAS back stating he had NO OFFICERS AVAILABLE at the moment and how serious is it reported to be?
The WMAS replied that all they had was it was an arm injury.
The Police responded “IT’S NOT LIFE THREATENING?”
The WMAS replied It’s an arm injury, that’s all we’ve got, the crew are on scene and haven’t updated any notes yet”
The Police responded ” That’s great thanks a lot”
Just in case you are mulling that one over, the Police didn’t have any officers available. The Police decided it wasn’t life threatening because the WMAS couldn’t give an answer .
This wasn’t policy, this wasn’t miscommunication. This was the Police not being bothered to attend. The Ambulance staff hadn’t updated because they were scraping me up from the middle of a dual carriageway and had other things on their minds. Before going on air stating that the police take these matters very seriously and that cyclists weren’t second class citizens, Supt Russell should have at least checked that they actually did take my accident seriously and did not actually treat me as a second class citizen.
The way the Police have stuttered and stalled, misled and let’s face it, lied. proves to me they knew right from the start what happened and that the fault was at their feet.
We haven’t heard from Supt Russell even though he did promise on air to keep in touch with the utmost urgency. Things do move slowly in these disgruntled times. It has taken the Police a fortnight to contact us informing that they were aware we had complained to our MP Richard Shepherd and our complaint would be forwarded to the Professional Standards Department. We responded by stating we had ourselves written by recorded delivery to the Chief Constable before writing to our MP. Not for one minute am I suggesting our letter went in the file containing rotten apple cores and orange peel but ours wasn’t the one bearing a house of commons postmark.
And that is it. If you want fair treatment, either know an Assistant Chief Constable or send your letters from the Houses of Parliament. Anything else doesn’t cut the mustard.
Protect and Serve? Protect your Arse and Serve no one.