Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Looking at me in a funny way

Very late on the uptake on this, but it is quite a tale for our times. Do you remember Constable Savage. I seem to recall that a Mr Winston Kodogo was arrested for "Looking at me in a funny way". Well that may have been a joke in the 1980's but it seems no longer.

Last week in Bournemouth, during the Labour Conference, two disabled men were having a quiet pint in their local (the Westcliff Tavern). Over to the fellows in question,

"It was so over the top, there were about eight officers around us asking questions which was very frightening.
"We told them we lived round the corner and this was our local pub. But, while an armed officer pointed his gun at us from the other side of the street, they made us empty our pockets and put all our possessions on the table. Then they checked all our credit cards and documents.
"I was carrying my disabled bus pass but it didn't make any difference. I needed to go to the toilet and an officer went with me in case I escaped. After radioing through the information, they asked us to accompany them, in separate police cars, to the police station"...
And what had they done to raise this suspicion from the plod? Well one of them, Robert Hamlen had,
"been seen passing a white envelope. But all I did was take my post out of my jacket pocket and open an electricity bill".
If that is not bad enough his friend Micheal Burbidge had really pushed the boundaries of common decency,
"On Michael's stop and search form they said they wanted to speak to him, under the Terrorism Act, because he had been looking at a police officer...
Bob, who has lived in the area for seven years, said: "Once at the police station we were taken to separate rooms and questioned for about 45 minutes.
"Then officers went with us to our flat and searched it before returning us to the pub. We feel violated and want an apology from the police."
And what did the boys in blue have to say about the incident?
"Mr Burbidge gave an explanation to officers as to why he was watching police officers very closely and it would not be for Dorset police to discuss the reason he gave.
"Once officers were satisfied of the men's identities and that they posed no threat to conference security they were returned to the pub.
"Dorset police is only too willing to investigate any formal complaint they may wish to make."
Is there a hint of an apology? Is there hell.

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