Tuesday 11th August 2020,
North Yorks Enquirer

North Yorkshire Police Essential Duties #7

North Yorkshire Police Essential Duties #7

by TIM HICKS

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Introduction

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.

Regular readers will have been shocked to read that both the Chief Constable and the Deputy Chief Constable of North Yorkshire Police have been endangering lives by routinely breaching the Coronavirus regulations.

The NYE was the first media organisation to raise the alarm about Chief Officers not respecting the lockdown rules. The national media have followed us over the Commissioner Dick incident on Westminster Bridge and now Private Eye has picked up the story and published it.

From a journalism perspective, it is always good to see the NYE leading the way. Needless to say, none of the other local media have touched the story.

Open Letter

Although the Police are there to serve and protect us, they are not exempt from the regulations. Even if they were, under Section 2 of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 they still have a general duty to take all reasonable measures to ensure employee health and safety. Obviously this would include observing social distancing and obeying the Lockdown Regulations wherever possible.

To prevent Chief Constable Winward and Deputy Chief Constable Cain infecting themselves and then other officers, I made a Formal Complaint about their conduct to the Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire Mrs Julia Mulligan. The open letter below follows up on the complaint and indicates the other measures the NYE is taking to protect the public and police officers, from the Chief Constable down.

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

Dear Mrs Mulligan, 

Open letter re: The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 

I hope this e mail finds you and all of your colleagues well and safely self-isolated at home. 

The NYE has been alerted that North Yorkshire Police are distributing these leaflets by putting them under the windscreen wipers of cars that are parked in Scarborough and Whitby:

You will no doubt appreciate that many people would argue that this is hypocritical, given that police officers including both Chief Constable Winward and Deputy Chief Constable (DCC) Cain routinely break the law by flouting the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020. Both officers have been endangering lives by indulging in travel that is not absolutely necessary by visiting police and fire stations. DCC Cain even travelled to Scarborough to attend a police retirement ceremony where he posed for a photograph showing him less than 2 meters from a member of police civilian support staff.

Both officers are obviously being irresponsible. This is unacceptable, particularly as they have not been arrested, cautioned or prosecuted for it, while members of the public are being prosecuted for lesser breaches. They have also brought ridicule on themselves and the force in the national press, and undermined public confidence in the police. 

Private Eye article on DCC Phil Cain

One of our readers sent this in: 

“They have been having roadblocks in York and questioning drivers. Whilst I agree non-essential journeys are to be discouraged, I feel the police are being heavy-handed with the public. At the same time the top ranks are making unnecessary journeys themselves, very hypoctritical.”

 I disagree with him on this. In my view, for any police officer to flagrantly break the law and then use his position to evade prosecution isn’t being hypocritical; they are being corrupt.  

The NYE and Private Eye are right to bring public attention to it. This demonstrates how important it is for the police to be subject to scrutiny by a free press. Please can I also ask for an update on my request for Chief Constable Winward and Deputy Chief Constable Cain to be arrested and prosecuted for contravening the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020, the same as everyone else. I feel this will serve the interests of justice and have a deterrent effect on offenders.

I know that you and your team all read the NYE, but for completeness, the NYE’s coverage on this issue is 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
    • North Yorkshire Police Essential Journeys #6 Cressida Dick here

I am sure you will be pleased to read that the NYE has appreciated the gravity of the crisis and stands by you in your efforts to protect the public:

“For me, it’s simple – anyone can catch this brutal disease, and anyone can spread it, so those who do not follow the rules are putting themselves and others at risk. We must ensure the huge effort put in by the many who are selflessly complying is not undone by the dangerous few who aren’t.”

Police Fire and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire, Julia Mulligan

The full resources of the NYE have now been mobilized to protect police officers, and firemen from serious illness -or even death- caused by the irresponsible actions of their Chief Officers. Our Arts and Graphics Department have worked nonstop to design the leaflet below:

The leaflet is designed so it can be printed off, so our readers can put one under the windscreen wipers of any police cars they see. I know that you and all our readers from the police will be impressed by this innovative approach to policing.

Under normal circumstances the NYE would have sent a team around to Force Headquarters to put of these leaflets under the windscreen of Chief Constable Winward and Deputy Chief Constable Cain’s cars. However, that would have been foolhardy in the current circumstances and constitute non-essential travel, which is an offence under the coronavirus restrictions. To ensure complete coverage of the epicenter of violating the coronavirus regulations –North Yorkshire Police Force Headquarters- please can I ask you or Will Naylor to distribute them in Force Headquarters on your next visit there. Alternatively, please can you distribute them by e mail. 

I thank you in anticipation of your assistance in these requests, which I emphasise are for the purpose of deterring crime, upholding the law and saving police officer’s and firemen’s lives. 

Yours sincerely,

Timothy Hicks

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 and 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.

Advice from the Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire on protecting the vulnerable here.

Statement from North Yorkshire Police on its enforcement strategy here.

Failure of local journalists in North Yorkshire to hold the police to account

None of the local media outlets have run with the news that the Chief Constable and Deputy Chief Constable have been breaching the lockdown rules even though it has run in the national press. They do not hold the police to account.

The Chief Constable and Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire have a joint policy of ignoring media requests from the NYE. In my opinion this is because the NYE is the only media outlet in North Yorkshire that does hold the police to account.

This article from Yorkshire Coast Radio is a typical piece of the poor quality local journalism that prevails in North Yorkshire. It simply takes a quote provided by the Chief Constable and turns it into a cheap and simple article, without any attempt at analysis or holding the police to account. Please note the comment from a better informed and more discerning NYE reader at the end.

Chief Constable Winward’s message to the people of North Yorkshire

To satirically paraphrase Chief Constable Winward’s statement carried in the Yorkshire Coast Radio article:

Chief Constable Lisa Winward

“The vast of majority of people within North Yorkshire are absolutely following that guidance,

but there are still a minority of ‘idiots’, including myself and Deputy Chief Constable Phil Cain, who are not.

We’ve issued a number of tickets over the past weeks to ‘idiots’ that are breaching the lockdown regulations. Some people like DCC Phil Cain and I are still not observing the social distancing requirement to be six feet away from other people. But of course neither of us will get a ticket, fine or be arrested. We are Chief Police officers and can abuse our rank and influence to break the law whenever we like.

They have predominately been in situations where ‘idiots’ are moving around for journeys that are absolutely not essential, like my visit to Skipton and Phil’s visits to Scarborough and Harrogate. 

‘Idiots’ are travelling hundreds of miles either across our county or into the county to undertake activities that they could undertake much closer to home. My 90 mile round trip from Force Headquarters to Skipton for no discernible essential reason was a classic example.

We’ve also had a number of groups of ‘idiots’drinking and socialising with each other predominantly on the East Coast, putting others at risk in terms of each other’s safety and the spread of the virus. Again, Deputy Chief Constable Cain’s 104-mile jolly to Scarborough where he attended a police retirement ceremony was another classic example.

North Yorkshire Police will be continuing to stop and question people to ask them about their journeys, and assess whether those journeys are essential, unless of course they are Chief Police Officers. Chief Police Officers will be left alone, so we can carry on breaking the law and risking other people’s lives with impunity, while we talk down to everyone else and threaten them with arrest for breaking the law the same as us!”

Right of Reply

No doubt Chief Constable Winward, DCC Cain and PFCC Mulligan would disagree with my views on this matter.

If they wish to respond, to comment on any of my articles, their response will be published. The NYE will always issue a retraction and apology, for any error in any article.

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