Thursday, March 22, 2007

Police Silence

I wrote at the start of March about the case of an 80 year old woman who was threatened in her home by an attacker with a hammer. She called Thames Valley police and they took 24 hours to respond. When questioned about the incident they responded by saying that they had "more important" calls to deal with.

More important than a potentially fatal hammer attack on an old and defenceless woman? David Codrea searched for what would surely be an interesting news story about these more important crimes but turned up nothing.

I wrote to Thames Valley Police and asked just what those calls were- and if they disputed any of the details of the story that The Sun had written about the incident. Here's their reply-

I write in connection with your request for information dated 28/02/2007 concerning the Sun website report of a hammer attack of an 80 year old woman and calls considered more pressing.

Your request for information has now been considered and I am not obliged to supply the information you have requested.

Section 17 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 requires Thames Valley Police, when refusing to provide such information (because the information is exempt) to provide you the applicant with a notice which: (a) states that fact, (b) specifies the exemption in question and (c) states (if that would not otherwise be apparent) why the exemption applies.

The exemptions applicable to the information are:

Section 40 – Personal Data and Section 30 – Investigations and proceedings conducted by a public authority.

Section 40(2). Information requested consists of Personal Data which relates to a person other than you.

Section 30(1). Ongoing Investigations and the release of any further information could prejudice future investigations/proceedings.

I am unable to make comment on The Sun website article in relation to your request.

In accordance with the Act, this letter represents a Refusal Notice for this particular request.

In other words, they aren't talking. Surprise, surprise.

So, there you have it- British police leaving a defenceless old woman to the mercy of an enraged hammer-wielding attacker. And refusing to tell the public just what was so important that they didn't bother responding for 24 hours.


Anonymous said...

ARggghhhh!! Too bad that old lady didn't have a GUN.

The Texas Lege is expanding the "Castle Doctrine" law in Texas.That mean that you can shoot a home intruder without being charged with murder. I blogged on it

Typical of the police not to return calls, isn't it? That's the law, though. First they make it impossible to defend yourself, then they don't protect you.

Boy, you sure do your homework!!!

FrauBudgie, posting under Anon because Blogger/Google still hates me!

Fits said...

Can't actually recall the amount of times I've been denied access to police information because I simply have not the right to know. Some things are withheld from the public due to security reasons,and they simply cannot respond to every manjack itching to scratch a curiosity.

Jay.Mac said...

Security reasons? A potentially fatal attack was taking place and the police had "other priorities". Other priorities which were so un-newsworthy as to not be mentioned in the press at all.

I'm not asking specifics- if there had been a riot on progress and all officers were dealing with that or there was a spate of actual murders, no details about specific crimes and identities needs to be released here- I don't want to know that Joe Blogs was doing such and such- instead all we're getting is "we're not talking about the story or answering perfectly legitimate questions". Questions about a potential dereliction of duty.

If some national security operation was taking place that trumped that woman's call to the police for 24 hours you can guarantee that the press would have been all over it.

Instead there seems to be nothing out of the ordinary and the police simply didn't bother to respond to an emergency call for 24 hours. Which is surely a matter of the public interest.

If the press was doing its job every "manjack" wouldn't have to bother them.

When the press don't ask questions like this are we simply expected to remain silent and not question public servants whose job it is to keep the peace?

They are the police force, not our lords and masters. When they fail to do their duty then it's perfectly legitimate for the public to demand to know why.

Jay said...

Well, don't get too p.o.ed at the cops. The courts ruled long ago that they have no specific duty to protect us. Why should they get themselve in harms way for a defenseless 80-year old lady? Let's face it: it is a lot easier to send the badges to the house 24 hours later, find a corpse, dust for prints, and call it a day.

crotalus said...

It's obvious. They were hoping she'd be killed. You know, get rid of the useless for the good of sociesty.