Sunday 20th September 2020,
North Yorks Enquirer

COVIDIOTS: NY Police Essential Duties #6

COVIDIOTS: NY Police Essential Duties #6

by TIM HICKS

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Introduction

The NYE has tried to support the efforts of the NHS and North Yorkshire Police (NYP) to ensure public safety. It has run an article disseminating advice from NYP on crime prevention during the pandemic. NYE article here. It has also published police notices on the new coronavirus lockdown rules.

Unfortunately not everyone has been so responsible. The NYE has run a series of articles on breaches of the coronavirus lockdown rules by the Chief Constable of North Yorkshire Police Lisa Winward and the Deputy Chief Constable Phil Cain, which can be accessed below:

  • “North Yorkshire Police Essential Journeys #1” – DCC Cain here
  • “North Yorkshire Police Essential Journeys #2” – DCC Cain here
  • “North Yorkshire Police Essential Journeys #3” – CC Winward here
  • “North Yorkshire Police Essential Journeys #4” –  Complaint here
  • “Scarborough Police Break the Law” here
  • “North Yorkshire Police Essential Journeys #5” – Complaint here

In summary, it appears that Chief Constable Winward and Deputy Chief Constable (DCC) Cain – the two most senior police officers in North Yorkshire Police – have contravened the lockdown rules and the College of Policing Code of Ethics on ethical behaviour, and leadership by Chief Officers, by indulging in work travel (visiting police stations) for reasons that are not “absolutely necessary”.

Tweet from Cain that people travelling to Scarborough to view a car were “idiots”

These two “idiots” (I use the term as applied by DCC Cain) have been breaking the law at a time when the police have been arresting members of the public for the same behaviour. North Yorkshire Police report here.

This blatant hypocrisy represents a failure of leadership that has potentially endangered lives.

Met Commissioner Cressida Dick contravenes the lockdown regulations

I can now report that – incredibly – the most senior police officer in the country has also followed suit and has been savaged in the press for attending a clapping ceremony on Westminster Bridge in London, where the police did not keep the correct distance between themselves and other people. Daily Mail article here.

Quite apart from the twin points of principle that:

  • The police are not above the law and cannot be seen to be publicly breaking it.
  • All police officers, but particularly Chief Police Officers have to set an appropriate example. They should not be attending and publicly encouraging public gatherings that are banned under Section 7 of The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 – where they can contract COVID-19.

There are some very serious practical points here:

  • The police should not endanger people’s lives by encouraging them to attend unlawful public gatherings.
  • Whilst it is commendable that people want to show their appreciation of the health workers and police that are working to save lives from the coronavirus pandemic. These gatherings for the purpose of clapping serve no useful purpose and in some cases endanger life. They are simply PR photo opportunities for politically correct Chief Police Officers. To quote one nurse who witnessed this disgusting scene on Westminster Bridge and sums up the reality of it perfectly:

“This is really infuriating!!!! I’m a nurse & this scene made me sick!!! It’s more appropriate if social distancing was practised here than the clapping itself. Do we CARE??? Expect more weeks of torture, more casualties as a result of this!!!”

  • When the police arrest someone or take them into custody, police officers cannot maintain social distancing rules. They sometime have to go hands on and that inevitably increases the risk of becoming infected and then passing on the infection to their colleagues, either in a police vehicle, an interview room, or the narrow confines of a police station. Police Officers are therefore more at risk of contracting COVID-19. It obviously follows from this that they are more likely to be carriers of COVID-19 and consequently police officers are at a much higher risk of infection from their colleagues. This in turn endangers their families.
  • It takes only one police officer to contract COVID-19 and an entire police station could be infected, with the infection only showing after the incubation period two weeks later. Having “idiot” Chief Officers visiting police stations and not observing the social distancing rules risks ensuring that a COVID-19 outbreak in one police station could be transmitted to every police station in North Yorkshire and Force Headquarters. Leading to serious loss of life and major diminution in North Yorkshire Police’s ability to protect the public.
  • Some of these illegal clapping gatherings have taken place at Fire Stations in North Yorkshire. Firemen are also particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 because when on night shift they sleep in dormitories above the fire station. When on duty attending an emergency, they share the cab of the fire engine in close proximity to each other. Thereby increasing their vulnerability to contracting coronavirus, then returning home and infecting their families.
  • If one of the police officers or firemen that attended these unlawful gatherings subsequently die of COVID-19, the officer that ordered him or her to attend it could be charged with corporate manslaughter.
  • Every person taking part in these public gatherings including firemen, firewomen, and most particularly the police officers is committing a criminal offence.
  • At a time of national emergency where life is being lost, when we are told that the police are stretched to the limit. Hundreds of police man hours and vehicles are being wasted on attending self-serving PR photo opportunities for Chief Police Officers.

We should not forget that already one police officer – Detective Constable John Coker aged 53 of the British Transport Police – has very sadly died of COVID-19. It is impossible to say how DC Coker contracted COVID-19, but in my opinion it is highly likely it was contracted as a result of his work as a police officer.

Failure of the Fire Brigades Union and the Police Federation

Clearly, Chief Police Officers have indulged in personal conduct that endangers the health of police officers and Chief Fire Officers have allowed illegal gatherings to take place at fire stations that endanger public health and the health of firemen. Yet it appears that the Fire Brigades Union and the Police Federation have done nothing to prevent this.

Only journalists have raised the very serious implications of these unlawful gatherings for the health of police officers and firemen and tried to do something to stop them by raising the issue as forcefully as it can be.

Mrs Julia Mulligan,
Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire,12 Granby Road,
Harrogate,
North Yorkshire,
HG1 4ST

Dear Mrs Mulligan,

Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) England) Regulations 2020

In accordance with the Section 7 of the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020, please can you immediately prohibit all gatherings of police officers, firemen and the public at ambulance, fire and police stations for the purpose of clapping. I make this request in the public interest to limit the risk of police officers and firemen contracting COVID-19. 

Please can you also record a complaint against Chief Fire Officer Brodie and the Officers commanding all of the fire stations where these unlawful public gatherings have taken place, for contravening Section 7 of the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 and recklessly endangering the health of the firemen and firewomen under their command. 

I thank you in anticipation of your assistance in these requests. 

Yours sincerely, 

Timothy Hicks

This illustrates the importance of having a free press that holds public bodies and officials to account.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick: “Idiot”.

To quote Chief Constable Winward on the lockdown rules: “Anyone who thinks this does not apply to them is putting lives at risk”. Commissioner Dick has been attending mass gatherings and not observing social distancing rules, thereby committing a crime and putting her Officers’ lives at risk.

Chief Constable Lisa Winward. Hypocrite and “Idiot”.

Chief Constable Lisa Winward endangers the lives of her own officers.

Deputy Chief Constable Phil Cain. Hypocrite and “Idiot”.

DCC Cain endangers the lives of his own officers.

The role of the media

The NYE has done everything it can to support the efforts of the police to save lives during the COVID-19 epidemic, by highlighting police advice to the public on how to stay safe.

However, responsible media also has a duty to inform the public when things go wrong.

To try and ensure that Chief Constable Winward and Deputy Chief Constable Cain are reined in and forced to follow the lockdown rules before they infect themselves and then other officers, I have now made a Formal Complaint about their conduct to the Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire, Mrs Julia Mulligan.

The NYE was the first media organisation to raise the alarm about Chief Officers not respecting the lockdown rules. Now the national media have followed us over the Commissioner Dick incident on Westminster Bridge. It is always good to see the NYE leading the way.

However, I find it incredible that the NYE has been forced to take action against the Chief Constable, in order to protect her and the police officers she commands from harm, because of her irresponsible actions. This indicates just how inadequate the Chef Officers of North Yorkshire Police are.

The lockdown rules

The NYE will continue to do everything it can to support the efforts of the vast majority of NYP officers, who are doing their best to police a pandemic at some considerable risk to themselves, by disseminating police advice on the Coronavirus pandemic.

The lockdown rules are explained in this excellent article from the BBC, here.

Latest advice from NYP here.

Excellent source for official advice from the Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire here.

Advice from the Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire to stay away from the Yorkshire Coast and save lives here.

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