Murderous cyclists (response)

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EdinburghFixed
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Murderous cyclists (response)

Postby EdinburghFixed » 18 Dec 2008, 10:17am

You may remember a wee while ago that Lothian and Borders police saw fit to tell the media that "cyclists think they can get away with murder" and a lot of other nonsense, over their 'Operation Appetite' crackdown on the city's rampant cyclists.

I wrote a wee letter complaining about this (linked in above) and just received my response:

CI Kevin Murray, Central wrote:Operation Appetite

I am in receipt of your recent letter on the above, and if you are agreeable I would like to discuss this matter with you in an effort to reassure you that Lothian and Borders Police is in no way seeking to demonise cyclists. As you may understand I spoke to Inspector Gilhooly immediately this matter was raised in the press and the officer is adamant that he did not make the comment as reported and was most disappointed that his attempt to convey the message about a reckless minority was taken totally out of context.

On the day in question the police operation referred to in the Edinburgh Evening News was conducted by officers on bikes. We do most of our business in the City Centre (sic) on foot and on bikes, primarily because the environment lends itself to this type of policing, giving us greater community integration and a swifter response through the busy city streets. It also helps with officer fitness and lowers our carbon footprint.

It is important to be aware that reckless cycling was only one piece of business being addressed during the initiative with a focus also being given to tackling anti-social behaviour and the disruption of individuals involved in criminal activity. Two people were arrested for theft of bikes, whilst several others were issued with anti-social behaviour tickets for disorderly conduct, a number of warnings were issued to motorists and over 300 crime prevention leaflets were distributed.

This type of work is clearly part of our core business and very much the kind of policing that the vast majority of the public wish to see. Whilst I can in no way defend the headline that "cyclists are getting away with murder", I would be keen to talk through the concerns raised in your correspondence and hopefully resolve this matter to your satisfaction.


Seems like quite a reasonable response, and certainly paints a different picture to the media 'spin' (although you'd hardly expect them to own up to making such a howler of a quote).

Any comments / feedback on what I should do as a follow-up? My ire is largely spent. :?

Peyote
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Postby Peyote » 18 Dec 2008, 10:43am

Does this mean that we can't actually get away with murder then?

<unstraps shotgun from top tube and stows back in gun cupboard with dissappointed sigh> :cry: :wink:

On a slightly more serious note, would the Police take any action against the Evening News for misreporting? Could an apology be printed? Seems like very bad PR for the Police (at least as far as the cycling community is concerned anyway).

FatBat
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Joined: 20 Feb 2007, 1:06pm

Postby FatBat » 18 Dec 2008, 12:40pm

I'd be tempted to write to the local rag and ask them politely whether they misquoted the policeman in question. If they claim to have quoted him correctly, then someone is telling porkies. If they admit that they made up the quote, I'm sure a rival newspaper would be happy to hear about it.

Michael R
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Postby Michael R » 18 Dec 2008, 1:15pm

FatBat wrote:I'd be tempted to write to the local rag and ask them politely whether they misquoted the policeman in question. If they claim to have quoted him correctly, then someone is telling porkies. If they admit that they made up the quote, I'm sure a rival newspaper would be happy to hear about it.


You can always rely on the press to misreport, whatever the subject.

Ron
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Postby Ron » 18 Dec 2008, 4:42pm

I thought in the first place the complaint should have been directed towards the Evening News rather L&B police.
The policeman was clearly talking of lawbreaking cyclists in his "get away with murder" comment and not cyclists in general. However the Evening News decided to headline the article to give the impression that all cyclists think they can get away with ..etc

Although, red light jumping and murder are not comparable crimes in my book!

pigman
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Postby pigman » 19 Dec 2008, 8:48am

if youve got the time, energy and meeting skills, take him up on his offer and meet with this copper. But i'd make sure the meeting went further than clearing the air. Have your own agenda .. build up a relationship with him/them. Tell him of the problems on the road as you see them, so he gets a balanced perspective. Depending on your standing in the local cycling community, take along your local cycling campaigner - they might be interested in befriending a senior policeman.
Misquoted or not, I'd say at this point he's on a back foot and you could use this to your advantage.

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EdinburghFixed
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Postby EdinburghFixed » 19 Dec 2008, 9:27am

I know nothing about the local cycling community! Other than the fact they are called 'Spokes'. :oops:

Bananaman
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Postby Bananaman » 19 Dec 2008, 1:12pm

First of all - well done!

Why not ask these guys if they'de like to come along/write it up?

http://www.citycycling.co.uk/

dan_b
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Postby dan_b » 19 Dec 2008, 2:18pm

Good idea, get .anth in on it

dmiller
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Location: Glasgow, Scotland.

Re: Murderous cyclists (response)

Postby dmiller » 19 Dec 2008, 2:48pm

EdinburghFixed wrote:Two people were arrested for theft of bikes, whilst several others were issued with anti-social behaviour tickets for disorderly conduct, a number of warnings were issued to motorists


Thats pretty interesting. I wonder how many of the motorists jumped the reds. I would suggest asking him for the banter.

I would love it if more cars than bikes were caught doing something bad. That would never make the news tho...

Kirst
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Location: Edinburgh

Postby Kirst » 22 Dec 2008, 6:27pm

Definitely get anth from citycycling in on it, if you decide to take it further. And take me with you. I want to know why I've heard nothing back from them after I reported being hit by a van which pulled out of a junction straight into me.
I can handle bars and cycle paths but I can't handle cars and psychopaths

http://action.hopenothate.org.uk/page/s/notinmyname