(sigh) MORE Snow!

December 16, 2010

Yep, the little white fluffy things are falling out of the sky as I type! 😦

Hopefully it’s too wet out there for them to settle at the moment but, and it’s a big BUT, we are supposed to be having below zero temperatures tonight which means not only will we have icy conditions to deal with first thing, the snow shower which is forecast for 6am will probably settle on top of ice 😦

We’ve been VERY lucky here in Oxfordshire as far as snow goes up until now, but things look like they could be taking a definate turn for the worse on Saturday!  This could make the Christmas shopping I’ve got planned a bit interesting 😉

No doubt people will all be affected by the snow again, work days will be lost, roads will be blocked, cars will be abandoned, and we will once again descend into chaos.  People will start to complain about roads not being cleared and will point fingers at those who’s job it is, the councils and the Government, just like they did a few weeks ago.. Which I’ll readily admit, makes me laugh 🙂

I probably shouldn’t say this (but it’s my blog and I can say what I want!!) but how dumb are some of the people who complain?  I get the part about how councils should try to keep the roads clear but for goodness sake, the snow ploughs and gritters are driven by people!!! They’re not automated machines!! What the hell are the councils supposed to do if the gritter and snow plough drivers themselves can’t get to work?  Magic some out of thin air? It’s not like you can just get ‘anyone’ to drive one of the lorries, they need an HGV licence which the majority people don’t have.  Also it’s been so cold in parts of Scotland that the road salt isn’t melting the ice as the temperature is too low, and the snow plough blades are being broken by the ice.  I’d love to know how people think this should be dealt with, maybe the complainers should get their thinking caps on and come up with a solution for the benefit of us all instead of sitting there whinging.

My other gripe with people and the snow is that, inspite of the severe weather warnings saying “Don’t drive unless it’s an emergency”, people will still try and then complain like hell that it takes them 6 hours to get anywhere.  The dumbest example of this in the recent snow were the drivers, in some parts of the country, who tried to drive even though they had been told THE ROADS WERE CLOSED!!! Come on, how dumb can you be?  Talk about asking for trouble!

No doubt we will see more of this over the coming days on the news reports and I, for one, will sit and wonder about the intelligence of some people!

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Bulldog Bash – Council Rejects Police Request For Licence Review

May 26, 2009

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🙂 The request by Warwickshire Police for a review of the 10 year licence granted last year has been rejected by Stratford Council 🙂

Police were attempting, again, to get this years event cancelled in the interests of ‘public safety’ for the people of Warwickshire.

Stratford council rejected the application as they felt there were insufficient grounds for justifying a review, and overturning last years decision to grant a ten year licence for the event.

I’m pretty damn sure the organisers are well happy with this result 🙂

Also see –

2009 Bulldog Bash In The News Again This Morning


2009 Bulldog Bash In The News Again This Morning

May 19, 2009

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The 2009 Bulldog Bash, taking place this year between 6th – 10th August, made the TV news again this morning.  Apparently the police are asking for a review of the 10 year licence granted by Stratford Council last year, despite police objections.

They are citing “rising levels of violence between criminal members of motorcycle gangs” as their reason for the review.  This first made the news back in February when Police Chiefs announced on their website they want it scrapped, after apparently recieving intellegence that gangs were planning a reprisal attack after the unfortunate death of Gerry Tobin, miles away from the Bulldog Bash site in 2007.

Last year the local force spent £1.4 MILLION, yep, you did read that right, £1.4 million patrolling the outside of the gathering.  The police used number plate recognition technology and stop and search on people attending and all this resulted in 26, out of about 20,000, people being arrested.  A vast number of people and vehicles were searched and some were found to be taking camping knives, ermm, to a camping event!!!

If you work it out, 24 ‘offensive’ weapons were siezed, £1.4 milion was spent by the police, so it works out at £58,333 per ‘offensive’ weapon taken from law abiding campers!!! A tad excessive, don’t you think?  It looks like the only really dangerous weapons anywhere near the site were the guns carried by some of the police themselves at the gates to the ground!!!

Both the locals and organisers of last years event condemned police for their excessive and unnecessary security checks, which included blocking off some local roads in the area, which no doubt caused inconvenience to local residents.  This, as well as the stop and search tatics used by police, also resulted in fewer people leaving the site over the weekend to visit the local community, which meant local shop owners suffered a loss in revenue, based on previous years takings.

Here is the information from the BBC’s website for the local area.

Biker Event Licence Review Sought

Warwickshire Police has applied for a review of a licence for a biker festival which was attended by a man who was murdered on his way home.  Hells Angel Gerry Tobin, 35, of Mottingham, south-east London, was returning from the Bulldog Bash in 2007 when he was shot on the M40.  Seven members of The Outlaws biker gang were jailed for life for his murder.
The force said it has serious concerns about rising levels of violence between “criminal members of motorcycle gangs”.

The Bulldog Bash is due to be held at Long Marston airfield near Stratford-upon-Avon from 6 to 10 August.

‘Many locations’

A 10-year licence was granted by Stratford District Council a year ago despite Warwickshire Police’s objections, the force said.  Warwickshire Police said it has made it clear it would prefer the event does not take place following the shooting of Mr Tobin and “violence which has occurred since, both in the UK and abroad”.

Assistant Chief Constable Bill Holland said: “The decision to seek a review of the licence is in no way connected with the law abiding majority of motorcyclists who attend the event.  “Law abiding motorcyclists are welcome in Warwickshire and there are many locations in the county where bike enthusiasts meet on a regular basis.”

Police said its objection to the Bulldog Bash was about criminality and “the need to protect the public from harm here in Warwickshire, across the UK and abroad”.  Mr Holland added: “We consider that the actions of a minority could jeopardise the safety of the public and this is why we are seeking a review.”

Warwickshire Police said it had been working closely with local people and businesses “to try to minimise the impact of the significant policing operation we anticipate will be required” if the event goes ahead.

Given the state of the current economic climate no doubt the local community will have absolutely no objections to losing the potential income from the sudden influx of bikes to the area, which in all honesty must run to quite a few quid extra in the coffers.

Plus, I’m pretty sure the hard working, tax paying people of Warwickshire can sleep well in their beds at night, knowing their money will once again be wisely spent when policing this years event!!!

By the way, I’ve seen the figure of £1.9 million being used as the estimate for the costs of policing this years event!

Please feel free to comment on this..

Sources

Coventry News – 02/03/09

BBC News – 18/05/09

Bulldog Bash Website


U-Turn Over VASCAR Decision?

February 8, 2009

The police in Scotland announced on the 5th February that they were reversing the decision, announced just one day earlier, advising officers to stop using the VASCAR speed detection system.  Apparently Home Office scientists have confirmed that the devices are in fact reliable. 

The Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (ACPoS) have said,

They had now received advice from the Home Office Scientific Development Branch that there was no possibility of interference when guidelines were followed by officers.
Acpos said that the equipment had been tested and found to operate properly under the appropriate guidelines.
  

Now forgive me for pointing this out, but what happens when they are operated under ‘inappropriate’ conditions?  Does this mean that there is still an issue with the devices?

Apparently the Home Office has advised the following,

Despite the all-clear being given, the Home Office said officers should not use radios or mobile phones while using the device.

Now to me, this suggests there may still be some kind of an issue with the devices when used at the same time as radios and mobile phones!  Why say don’t use your mobile phone or radio if there is absolutely no reason for concern about the validity of speeding convictions.

In section 5 of the Association of Chief Police Officers Traffic Committee Enforcement Technology National Guidance Manual (the how to do it book) it says,

It is impossible to obtain complete immunity from radio interference.

As well as,

It is not possible to lay down a strict criteria for safe operating distances from transmitters. The strength of the interference depends on several factors, such as transmitter frequency, type of aerial and modulation system.

Now, surely this must throw some small measure of doubt on speeding convictions obtained using these devices.  What about all the people convicted before this all came to light and the Home Office ‘guaranteed’ their accuracy? 

I don’t know, maybe the authorities are just trying to head off loads of claims for falsely obtained convictions!

Previous entries on the same subject
VASCAR May Suffer From Interference.
Faulty Speed Cameras Could Wipe Out Speeding Convictions

Sources
Police’s U-turn over VASCAR speed detectors
Acpos does U-turn over use of speed detectors by Scots police forces
Police speed detectors ‘reliable’
In use for 30 years, but are speed units accurate?


VASCAR May Suffer From Interference.

February 7, 2009

VASCARFurther to my post on 5th February about the reliability of hand held speed cameras, I came across another news article today which casts doubt on the accuracy of the VASCAR speed detection systems.

The VASCAR units are still regularly used both in the UK and the USA, although some places now use the newer Radar and Laser Speed Guns. 

Apparently police chiefs in Scotland have been told not to issue speeding tickets if the evidence for speeding was obtained from one of the VASCAR units.  It has come to light that there are issues with both the reliability and accuracy of the units due to interference!  There is also doubt being cast on the reliability of the Provida and Police Pilot speed detection systems. 

The VASCAR, Vehicle Average Speed Computer and Recorder, estimates the speed of vehicles by working out how long the vehicle takes to travel a given distance.  The operator of the machine flips a switch when the vehicle goes past a given point and then again when they pass a second point.  The machine calculates the speed and it is displayed on a readout.

The device, frequently used in the UK has never needed Home Office Approval or accuracy testing, even though accuracy seems to depend on the operators skill when using the machine.  The manufacturers insist that accuracy is maintained when the ‘quartz crystal’ performs a self test establishing that it is indeed accurate when calculating the speed of vehicles

Unfortunately it appears that these machines may be at risk of interference from  Airwave Radios, used by the police, and GSM phones!  This came to light when UK officials were trying to integrate the systems with the new ANPR systems, (Automated Number Plate Recognition) and the new digital radios.

These officials already knew a previous test revealed that interference was recorded on the VASACR machine when a mobile phone or radio was used within six and a half feet of it.

As early as August 2008 the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary were advised by memo NOT to use the TLED, (Traffic Law Enforcement Devices) within any vehicle where an Airwave Radio or GSM phone was switched on.  If the ‘transmit inhibit’ system was enabled it was ok to use the TLED.  They advised that failure to operate the TLED in this manner may compromise prosecutions bought against motorists.

Until such times as the matter has been fully investigated police officers are advised to use alternative equipment to detect whether road users are speeding. 

The lawyers in Scotland are now probably rubbing their hands in glee at the prospect of possibly overturning thousands of previous speeding convictions and obtaining refunds for convicted motorists.  And I am sure the same will soon be happening anywhere else these devices are still in use!

Road traffic solicitors are advising that people who have been convicted using one of the VASCAR devices may want to seek the advice of a specialist solicitor and look into the possibility of lodging an appeal.  This may result in all cases going back as far as 2005, when the police introduced the Airwave Radio, being reviewed.

They are also advising that if you have a prosecution pending you should enter a not guilty plea and have the reliability of the VASCAR device examined.

Take a look at these other posts on the subject of speeding:
U-Turn Over VASCAR Decision?
Faulty cameras could wipe out speeding convictions

Source Article: Speed trap device may be faulty, say police