NY Police Non-Essential Journeys #2
by TIM HICKS
Along with everyone else, I have feelings of admiration for the emergency services and the way they are dealing with the coronavirus pandemic at the risk of their own lives.
The NYE has tried to support the efforts of the NHS and North Yorkshire Police (NYP) to ensure public safety in this article and another article we ran disseminating advice from NYP on crime prevention during the pandemic. NYE article here.
So I was sickened and angry to read Tim Thorne’s article “North Yorkshire Police Essential Journeys #1”, which can be read here. Briefly, it concerns a Tweet by Deputy Chief Constable Phil Cain which was retweeted by “North Yorkshire Police #StayHomeSaveLives”.
DCC Cain’s Tweet described how he defied the police advice and common sense, and committed a criminal offence by visiting Scarborough Police Station to attend a retirement celebration for a long-serving member of staff. A non-essential journey.
In my opinion, this was a very serious breach of discipline:
- DCC Cain made an entirely unnecessary journey from Northallerton to Scarborough to attend a social function that could have been held after the pandemic is over and the lockdown rules have been released. To put that in context, church services, weddings and christenings are more important than police retirement celebrations, and are all banned.
- It is clear from the photograph that DCC Cain did not maintain the two metre social distancing rules. Thereby endangering the health and safety of police staff.
- DCC Cain committed a criminal offence by breaching the lockdown rules, whilst simultaneously ridiculing members of the public who have indulged in similar conduct.
DCC Cain’s other Tweets
Outraged, I commenced an investigation and conducted further research into DCC Cain. This revealed other tweets, which are even more disturbing. These are:
- An unnecessary visit to Harrogate Fire Station.
- A Tweet on a couple who were fined for breaking the lockdown rules in which he states “Two idiots have been fined for breaking lockdown rules by driving to Scarborough to view a second hand car.” Exactly the same offence committed by DCC Cain.
The wider implications
By law, every police force in the UK has to have a Deputy Chief Constable. This is to ensure that in the event of an extended crisis or if the Chief Constable is unavailable, there are sufficient experienced Chief Officers to provide senior command leadership.
In a crisis of this magnitude and projected duration, I would expect the Deputy Chief Constable to be available at Force Headquarters to provide command and control. Not swanning around the county on jollies, to obtain personal PR opportunities with silly Tweets on social media.
In this statement of policy, Chief Constable Lisa Winward states:
“Anyone who thinks this does not apply to them is putting lives at risk. North Yorkshire Police will use all powers we have to stop that, to keep us all safe and to ultimately save lives”.
I would expect every police officer – especially a Chief Police Officer – to set an appropriate example in these trying times.
As a general principle, I would also expect every police officer to obey the law and not use his rank and position to escape prosecution.
DCC Cain is an embarrassment to the force. I feel very sorry for ACC Walker and all the other fine members of North Yorkshire Police who are doing their best under difficult circumstances. They have been let down and deserve better from a senior police officer.
The Lockdown Rules
Finally, to finish by supporting the efforts of the vast majority of NYP officers, who are doing their best to police a pandemic at some considerable risk to themselves. For DCC Cain and other “idiots” that are unaware of the lockdown rules, they can be read in this excellent article from the BBC, here.
ACC Walker: Doing his best along with everyone else at NYP to protect the public
Quoted in this BBC article. Assistant Chief Constable (ACC) Mike Walker said:
“The new and significant restrictions spell out very clearly what each and every one of us must do to save lives. The message is clear and the warning stark: stay at home, save lives.”
“These are the lives of the people we know and love. Our partners, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, children, grandparents. You may never be in such a position again where your simple actions will lead directly to saving lives,”
“We’ll also be out on foot, with a highly visible policing presence, to disperse groups, enforce the social distancing measures and remind people of the seriousness of the situation we are facing.”
Latest advice from NYP here.
Advice from the Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner to stay away from the Yorkshire Coast and save lives, here.