You’ll no doubt remember the story of Aiden MacHaffie, the unfortunate cyclist and parter of fellow blogger Linda Mason. Aiden, you’ll recall, had a nasty accident in Birmingham which wasn’t his fault. Aiden and Linda were thoroughly let down by West Midlands Police, and their fight for remedial action was documented in articles here, and also on Aiden’s own ‘Getting There’ blog, and of course, Linda’s.
To find out who your local MP is, and how to get in touch, visit the excellent TheyWorkForYou website and enter your postcode.
Before I start I would like to apologise. The reality of what I am left with has been difficult to swallow and the easiest way to deal with it was to avoid things that caused pain.
We finally got the justice we were looking for. The West Midlands Police finally got their act together and apologised unreservedly for all aspects of the complaint. Amongst the outcomes were a promise to retrain and educate officers on the watch that dealt with me, with an opportunity to roll it out to the rest of the West Midlands if the trial is a success. Also we are invited to attend the watch briefing and Linda will give a talk on how their actions affect people’s lives. We have spent a long time going over this subject and we have been given an undertaking to ensure we get the response that fits the requirement and in the absence of information an officer will be dispatched to the scene.
We have also been involved with the West Midlands Police policy on dealing with the police response to RTC’s particularly involving cyclists and pedestrians. This policy will be changed BUT their are other bodies involved with policy forming and one in particular holds the purse strings. It was suggested that we rally support through cycling forums to ensure our MP’s and Councillors are aware that change is required . The Policy in question is “A1” and it is being reviewed right now so it is ideal to push awareness at this time. We need policy to automatically dispatch an officer to the scene. It is pretty much as simple as that, The Police are committed to a policy that ensures that life is preserved, so that if the ambulance attend and they are acting to preserve life, then there is no automatic requirement for the Police to attend. This needs changing in the situation where a cyclist or pedestrian is involved with a collision with a vehicle serious enough to warrant a 999 call. Bearing in mind that there was a total failure in my case and the Police should have attended without doubt, to be asked by the policy forming team why we thought it necessary was an interesting question. Before the keys get hit, this wasn’t an inflammatory or defensive remark but to establish what the public expect of the Police. To be allowed to discuss this was very useful and insightful.
So the request I am making is to make your local politicians aware that there is an opportunity to change Policy A1 and as cyclists we demand a better service from the Police. If you can find the time then it would be appreciated.
Almost ironically Linda has been selected to attend the 2012 cycling summit, here is a link to her blog on the matter
I believe that she is an ideal person to attend such a conference on cycling safety and if you have any comments or thoughts that she can take forward then she would welcome them.
I know I am on the road to recovery, well mentally that is, I have got back about as much mobility as I will and it isn’t that brilliant. I am looking forward to a time when I can stand and be heard on the subject of making our roads safer.
All the best
The road is full of arseholes – as this recording of mine demonstrates. We need better road education for all users, and far better support from the cops.