Thursday 29th July 2021,
North Yorks Enquirer

Ambush in Filey

Ambush in Filey

Non-Essential Journeys #27

Another in our series of articles on Officers from North Yorkshire Police (NYP) betraying the public confidence and endangering life by blatantly flouting the Coronavirus regulations, while enforcing them on other people.

by TIM HICKS

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Introduction

Regular readers will know that the NYE has offered a cash reward for photographs of Police Officers in North Yorkshire breaching the COVID Regulations.

A new series of photographs has now come in and our correspondent has gone for broke. He observed up to eight Police Officers not wearing masks or observing social distancing, while they variously bought fish and chips and visited a cash point in Filey.

Filey Police Fish & Chip Patrol caught in NYE surveillance operation

Our correspondent was in Filey doing his shopping when he spotted a Policeman in uniform, but not wearing a mask or observing social distancing. Quick as a flash he put him under surveillance and started taking photographs. An edited extract of his account is below:

“I have no idea where they came from or went to after I passed them (with difficulty) in Murray St.  

There was a group of about 8 people and hard to say how many were Police Officers apart from the female and 1 or possible 2 male uniformed Officers. 2 males stopped to purchase some chips from CJ’s Fish and Chips. 

The others then proceeded up Murray St in close proximity not social distancing and neither Officer wearing masks whilst talking to the rest if the group.

Some people on Murray St were also commenting on them not obeying the rules. I approached them as I turned the corner from John St onto Murray St and stood a while keeping my distance as they were all close together in a group of about 8 . It looked like a teaching session. 

They were blocking my path and totally unaware of my presence or just didn’t care. The group then split and half continued to walk up Murray St (the photos I took at this point). I was appalled at their actions or rather non actions re Covid. Other people around were also commenting on their lack of compliance.

That’s about all I can say. I continued on my way as the smaller group crossed over to the cash machine. I don’t know where they went from that point onwards. It’s just a shame I didn’t take one when they were all together and blocking the pavement at the bottom of Murray St.”

One of the photographs is shown above. Analysing it, it shows six people from (Left to right):

  1. “Puffa”: Man wearing grey rucksack and black puffa jacket queuing for cash point. Mask down exposing his mouth and nose.
  2. “Cash point”: Man wearing blue hooded jacket at cash point.
  3. “Grey jacket”: Female with hair bun wearing grey jacket
  4. “North Face”: Female with hair bun wearing North Face puffa jacket. Not masked.
  5. “Ginger”: Bearded man with blue jacket with red lining. Mask down exposing his mouth and nose.
  6. “Scruffy”: Uniformed PC without his uniform cap. Not masked.

There were up to eight of them in the group, but our correspondent was not certain how many of them are actually Police Officers. Addressing this question, the men all have short hair, the two ladies had their hair tied up in accordance with Police uniform regulations before going on duty. Typically for North Yorkshire Police, low standards of dress and turnout were maintained. The uniformed Officer was scruffily dressed without his uniform cap; the remainder appear to be in dark blue uniform trousers and boots, with civilian clothes on top. That is half in uniform half out. It is unclear if they are off duty, or on duty and taking the opportunity to visit a cash point and get some fish and chips.

As you can see, “Ginger” and “Scruffy” are not maintaining social distancing. Neither are “Grey Jacket” and “North Face”. They did not maintain social distancing while walking in Filey. This, coupled with the observations of our correspondent all potentially give rise to misconduct allegations of failing to observe the COVID-19 regulations, bringing the force into disrepute, failure to report or challenge misconduct, neglect of duty and breach of the force uniform code.

I have asked Chief Constable Winward to confirm how many of the eight people are Police Officers and to record a complaint against them. I have also asked for a media comment from North Yorkshire Police and the Officers concerned, but none has been forthcoming. Should I receive one, I will of course publish it.

Understandably our correspondent wishes to remain anonymous to avoid reprisals from North Yorkshire Police. However, he has declined to accept our reward cheque, stating:

“Absolutely not! I am no Judas; just a challenger when I feel an injustice has been done”.

Double Standards by North Yorkshire Police

Recently, North Yorkshire Police fined a group of nurses that had travelled to Scarborough to have Fish and Chips. Yorkshire Post report here.

Yet when the Deputy Chief Constable travelled to Scarborough Police Station to attend a ceremony celebrating fifty years of service by a member of Police staff, no action was taken against him and a complaint I made about it was supressed.

Every other Force I am aware of has taken disciplinary action of one sort or another against those Officers who have been shown to have breached the regulations.

In this latest incident, Police Officers have gone around Scarborough unmasked, ignoring social distancing and causing an obstruction, to get fish and chips. Completely complacent and apparently secure in the knowledge that no action will be taken against them.

So it appears that under this Chief Constable there is obviously one law for North Yorkshire Police and one for the rest of us.

Why is the NYE taking this strong line on this subject?

There are two reasons:

  1. Hypocrisy and abuse of Police powers is unacceptable in a democratic society, or in a disciplined and properly led Police service.
  2. This type of conduct risks lives.

If one of the Officers pictured above was infected, he or she could infect all of his colleagues very quickly, leading to a mass outbreak in Filey and Scarborough Police Stations, which would endanger the lives of the Officers there and the members of the public they encountered, including anyone they take into custody.

A recent outbreak of COVID-19 amongst Officers from the Police Service of Northern Ireland resulted in two Police Stations being closed. Eight Officers tested positive for COVID-19, another fifty one were removed from duty, and had to self-isolate at home. Police Scotland also had to close a Police station in Falkirk and isolate everyone in it because of an outbreak of coronavirus amongst the Officers and staff there. Fortunately, no one died.

According to this November BBC article, eight-hundred-and-forty-nine Police Officers have tested positive for coronavirus over twenty-four Forces.

Irrespective of whether or not they are in breach of the lockdown regulations or not, from a purely practical perspective, these Officers are obviously not taking rigorous precautions. They risk infecting their families and everyone at Filey Police Station. They are also publicly undermining the efforts of their colleagues to set an appropriate example and maintain public safety by upholding the lockdown regulations.

Summary of alleged breaches of the regulations by Police Officers in North Yorkshire highlighted by the NYE 

This is one of a series of breaches of the regulations Police Officers in North Yorkshire which are summarised below:

  • Three Officers from Cleveland Police visited Whitby, parked up on the Fish Pier and were all seen having a wonderful time sitting on the same bench in the sun, feasting on fish and chips in full view of the public.
  • One of our readers recently photographed two Officers from North Yorkshire Police (NYP) in York who were openly wandering around without masks and ignoring social distancing at the Clifton Moor shopping centre, York.
  • Chief Constable Winward undertook an unnecessary visit to Skipton Police Station, thereby risking spreading the virus from Skipton into Force Headquarters.
  • Deputy Chief Constable (DCC) Phil Cain visited Scarborough Police Station, thereby risking spreading the virus from Scarborough Police Station into Force Headquarters. While he was there he posed for photographs with a long serving Officer without masking up or observing social distancing and attended a ceremony to celebrate her fifty years of service.
  • This video by a YouTube blogger shows masked and unmasked staff sharing an office at NYP Force Headquarters at 2.00. At 3.09 it shows an inspector and two constables not maintaining social distancing inside force headquarters, one of whom is not masked.
  • This video by a YouTube blogger was taken at Fulford Road Police Station, York. At 3.22 a member of Police staff is shown in a room with another member of Police staff unmasked. He is maintaining the two metre social distance. It is unclear which desk is his, or if it is within two metres of the masked member of Police staff. However a third female member of Police staff who is masked is seen moving through the office. It is unclear if she is within two metres of him, but this would indicate that he should have been masked. At 8.22 PC Moseley is seen unmasked when his colleagues are masked and he is within two metres of a female colleague.
  • Two Officers in a Police van allegedly fast asleep and unmasked while on night duty. NYE Report here. Photograph below.

In summary, the Chief Constable, Deputy Chief Constable, Gold Commander for NYP’s response to the Coronavirus emergency, four inspectors, two sergeants, three motorcycle Policemen from Cleveland Police, the two Officers shown above, the two Clifton Moor Policemen, and multiple Police Officers at Force Headquarters, Scarborough, Filey and Fulford Road Police Station are now the subject of complaints. I have also asked that the Chief Constable, Deputy Chief Constable and the inspector commanding Scarborough Police Station receive a £10,000 fine for organising a large gathering inside Scarborough Police Station, namely a presentation to Ms Win Almond for completing fifty years’ service.

These incidents have occurred openly and continue to occur.

No other Force that I am aware of has had so many incidents.

Despite being exposed in the NYE and Private Eye, no action has been taken to deter further breaches by censuring the Officers that indulge in this conduct. The force has made no public comment. Needless to say, the mainstream local media is not reporting this, only the NYE is covering this story.

Here, I can do no better than quote Superintendent Walker, Gold Commander for the North Yorkshire Police response to the Covid emergency from the force website: 

“Speaking at the North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum weekly press conference, Superintendent Mike Walker emphasised the importance of continuing to stick to the lockdown rules, in order to move safely out of lockdown. 

Sharing his concern over the significant upturn in the number of fixed penalty notice’s handed out by Officers over the last week, Superintendent Walker said “We are not at the point where we can abandon social distancing and all the other precautions we’ve been taking over the past year and just throw caution to the wind. (My emphasis)

He again voiced North Yorkshire Police’s continued commitment to policing the Coronavirus Health Regulations, stating “We will keep on policing the regulations and taking enforcement action against breaches, we will keep sending out patrols and we will keep engaging with the public , to protect all of our chances of moving out of lockdown as quickly and safely as possible.” 

But not, apparently, if it involves Police Officers breaching the regulations.

The concern must be that North Yorkshire Police as a force is routinely ignoring the coronavirus guidance because this conduct is tacitly supported by Superintendent Walker and other senior Police Officers, resulting in complaints being supressed by the Police. The inevitable consequence of this is that:

  1. Police Officers are confident they will be protected from any consequences for breaching the regulations and these practices are normal within every Police station in North Yorkshire as a result. This publicly undermines public confidence in the Police service and the efforts of those Officers that set an appropriate example and maintain public safety.
  2. Members of the public prefer to pass photographs of Police misconduct to the NYE for publication, rather than waste their time making a complaint that will inevitably be ignored, or risk arrest if they confront the Officers in the street.
  3. Lives are being put at risk. I have made it clear to Chief Constable Winward that if any Officer, member of Police staff or anyone that has been taken into custody contracts COVID-19 and dies, I will bring these matters to the attention of the coroner.

NYE appeal for information

If you become aware of a public figure or Police Officer breaching the lockdown regulations, please photograph or video him/her and make a note of the:

  • Date.
  • Time.
  • Location.
  • Registration no of their vehicle.
  • If possible, rank and Police collar numbers.
  • Other circumstances.

Then inform the NYE using the news@NYEnquirer.uk email. The NYE will pay a reward for these photographs in accordance with standard journalistic practice.*

Constables and Sergeants: £25.00

Inspectors and above: £50.00

Deputy Chief Constable Cain and Superintendent Walker: £75.00

Chief Constable Winward: £100.00

Coming Next

In my next article, I will bring our readers up to date with the complaints I have made about Police Officers that are alleged to have breached the COVID-19 regulations.

Right of Reply

If you are mentioned in this article and do not agree with the views expressed in it, or if you wish to correct any factual inaccuracy, please let me know using the letters@NYEnquirer.uk e mail address and your views and a correction will be published if appropriate.

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