Sunday, September 16, 2007

'a police operation which went horribly wrong'

When armed police shoot dead two bank robbers in your constituency as they hold a security guard hostage, you might think the local MP would praise them for protecting her constituents.

At the very least, considering that it may well turn out to be a tragic misunderstanding, and that the deceased may be harmless electricians, who found the gun in the street and were showing it to the security guard to ask if it was his - when they were cruelly done to death without warning - then you might expect silence until the (statutory) IPCC inquiry reports.

Not if the MP is Sandra Gidley, Lib Dem member for Romsey.

She's called for "an open inquiry" into the police operation. But that's not all. She was quoted on an interview (Realplayer) on BBC South TV as saying that "it appeared to be a police operation that went badly wrong, and that there may need to be a public inquiry unless the IPCC can answer he questions about whether loss of life could have been avoided."

The Chief Constable of Hampshire has responded in terms which seem to imply that the press release linked to above has undergone some heavy editing. Has anyone got the original ?

"My attention has been drawn to a press statement issued by Mrs Sandra Gidley MP. The incident which took place at Chandlers Ford HSBC Bank yesterday morning is the subject of a full investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission [IPCC], the body mandated by Parliament to investigate such matters.

Hampshire Constabulary is restricted in what it can say at this stage to ensure that we do not undermine the independent investigation. I know the IPCC will make their findings public in due course. I deprecate comments by anyone not in possession of all the facts, particularly those which refer to the police operation in pejorative terms."

I'm presuming the original press release is the source for the following Policeman's Blog comment :

It is nice to see that the local MP - Sandra Gidley, knows all about it and has conducted her own thorough investigation, calling the robbery a 'police operation which went horribly wrong'. This just about sums up the support that the police are getting from the press and politicians at the moment.

Correspondents to the Hampshire Daily Echo aren't too chuffed either :

Posted by: Barry, Romsey on Today
This incident provoked the usual airy fairy claptrap from the idiotic Sarah Gidley - So,in her world we should send more unarmed police police to their deaths as they try to talk armed robbers out of it, eh Sarah, in true Dixon of Dock Green fashion? And anyway, you can always eulogise about our wonderful police to the media after another one of them gets killed eh, you stupid, idiotic woman?

Posted by: Disgruntled Lib-Dem Voter, Chandlers Ford on Today
The police should take what ever action is best to maintain public safety in this sort of situation. By going armed, these robbers wouldn't have given a **** for the lives of others. You've lost my vote next time Sandra.

Posted by: Realist Voter, West Wellow on Today
Like her or not, overall Sandra Gidley has been an excellent MP. for Romsey but many more wacky politically correct, ill considered comments like this will see her out in the wilderness and allow her weak opponents to replace her.

Posted by: Steve, Chandlers Ford on Today
Sandra Gidleys comments are disgraceful, describing this as a police operation which went horribly wrong. How about calling it an armed robbery which went horribly wrong? The robbers made plenty of choices yesterday morning which led to the deaths of two of them. They could have stopped this at any time, holding a loaded gun to the head of an innocent member of the public ( as reported by witnesses) is not the way though.IF this is what happened then the officers are heroes and should be treated as such ... I for one will be remembering her comments for a long time yet and certainly will recall them at election time. It is the lack of support for the police from the press and public figures which has led to the overall public mis-trust and lack of confidence in the police service. At a time when police are dealing with terrorism, floods, foot and mouth, prison officer strikes and rising violent crime why are they having to fight government for a pay rise in line with inflation, perhaps that has more to do with the reasons behind Gidleys comments, I notice that police pay has failed to make the headlines in such a dramatic way as the opinions of one ill-informed MP.

Posted by: A bank employee & customer, Southampton on Today
No innocent people even received as much as a scratch.
I would say that the police operation went VERY, VERY WELL.
Thank you very much Hampshire and Metropolitan Police Forces.

Posted by: Derek, Dibden Purlieu on Today
Sandra Gidley in typical Liberal mode has one speech ready for the death of the raiders but would have had another for the death of unarmed police if required. The Liberals have always sat comfortably on the fence which must be why they've enjoyed minority support for the last one hundred years.

Posted by: Adrian Smith on Today
I heard her on Radio Solent last night and could not believe her position on this event. She would lose my vote instantly - at the next election she is going to regret her comments - she should have just side stepped the issue in the normal political way.
She is way out of touch with the voter on this and the voter will be reminded of this at the next election.
I say it again - the police have done an excellent job.

Posted by: Ian, Turkey on Today
If you were to read the Romsey Advetiser on a regular basis, you will realise what a waste of time Sarah Gidley is.

Posted by: Steve, Chandlers Ford on Today
In quite an unusual move the boss has responded to Gidleys remarks:
Would seem this roughly translates to 'wind your neck in Gidley'

Posted by: Adrian Smith on Today
I like this bit:-
"I will gladly meet with Mrs Gidley at that stage and discuss with her the realities of professional police work and the challenges officers face in protecting society.”

It's like when a company has let you down and the member of staff responsible is to undergo "retraining". I hope she issues a new statement by Monday morning with an apology to the police and bystanders caught up in the event.

I have cc'ed this to her Inbox by the way.
If you read Ms Gidley's weblog you can see where her sympathies lie.

What seemed to have happened was that the police had intercepted an armed robbery (full marks for intelligence) but there had been shooting with one, maybe two, fatalities. The immediate reaction of some was that the criminals had got what they deserved but we do live in a society where we no longer have the death penalty so this reaction made me slightly uneasy.

Well, yes. You can't actually call your voters (Romsey is a Middle England seat if ever there was) punitive Daily Mail-reading fascists, can you ?

Presumably a plan was devised to take the situation under control without use of firearms. Was this followed? Did something unexpected happen? Were there contingency plans and were these followed to the letter?

Well, they asked the guys to surrender and (if press reports are correct - this is where Menezes, "jumping over the barriers in his bulky jacket", hangs like an albatross round off the record police briefings) they responded by putting a gun to the guard's head.

Two men were shot. Dead. Was this the only option? Our marksmen are the best in the world - did they have the option to shoot - but not to kill? If so, why not used ?

Why didn't they use the Magic Fairy Gun, which paralyses a trigger finger while not harming anyone ?

Back to her TV interview.

"Why couldn't the police have intervened earlier ?"

I presume because they were unlikely to have in their pockets documents headed "Chandlers Ford Bank Robbery - Provisional Implementation Plan and Key Milestones". To nail someone for robbery you have to catch them in the act or after the event. Had they intervened earlier one of the robbers might have been charged with possessing a firearm and spent a couple of years inside - before being released less than half way through and resuming a criminal career. As one of the deceased had done.

One of two armed robbers shot dead as they ambushed a security guard carrying a cash box was a hardened criminal who was jailed for seven years for a similar offence. Mark Nunes, 35, was only released from prison two years ago after serving three years and nine months of his sentence for robbing another guard in October 2000 and fleeing in a getaway car. After getting out, the unrepentant offender continued his life of crime, becoming one of the Flying Squad's main targets in its crackdown on the growing number of 'cash in transit' robberies across London and the Home Counties.

Back to Ms Gidley.

"I don't want to live in a society where this sort of thing becomes commonplace"

This is where she really gives herself away. It's obviously not criminals with guns on the streets that she's bothered about, because it's already commonplace. This Home Office paper shows robberies using handguns running at more than 2,500 a year in England and Wales in the mid-1990s, with other guns accounting for another 1,000 or so incidents. That's ten a day !

No, it's armed criminals being shot she's bothered about.


Anonymous said...

Went this idiot's blog to give my thoughts, but surprise, surprise - comments are not allowed.

I wonder why?

Andrew said...

Gidley wrote: "I am thankful that none of the customers or staff were injured. My thoughts are with all those innocent people in the bank at the time who witnessed what must have been an horrific incident".

...which just shoes how ignorant she is - the robbery happened outside (and to the side of) the bank - not inside as she states (and also implies by not mentioning passers-by in addition to customers and staff) - she can't even get the basic facts right before spouting out her 'hug a blagger' claptrap.

Anonymous said...

Stupid bitch. Enough said.

Anonymous said...

It did go horribly wrong though - possibly one of them escaped without any holes in him!

Anonymous said...

You really do have to wonder where these people get their crazy ideas from. Next you have to wonder how they get into positions of power and influence. Finally you come to the conclusion that a fair number of our fellow citizens must want their heads read to vote for someone like this. And then you conclude that the people that want shooting are the ones that voted for Gidley.