Police stupidity

by

I took a taxi home with a group of girlfriends early in the morning after a lovely night out. Feeling hungry, my friend decided she wanted chips so we made the short walk around the corner to a chip shop. Witnessing a group of dressed up confident women laughing and singing, eating our chips, and clearly having a fabulous time was obviously just too much for the passing group of young men in a car, as they drove past they called us slags and whores amongst other vile things (I’ll spare the details).

They then turned their car back around to drive past us again to hurl more abuse and to throw a full 2 litre bottle of coke all over us. Soaking wet, shocked and very angry I called my local police station to report the harassment. I expected the man I spoke to show sympathy, understanding and to take my complaint seriously. Instead I was asked why we were walking ‘alone’ (without a man’s protection?) at such a time of night and what did we expect him do to as we were ‘silly’ and didn’t take a registration number. I’m sorry, clearly its #MFIF

Clare, Bradford

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31 Responses to “Police stupidity”

  1. Angelica Says:

    So you didn’t take down the registration number? Did you note the make and model of the car? Or make a note of their descriptions?

    If you can’t provide any information to identify them, I’m not sure exactly what you expect the police to be able to do.

  2. Alice Says:

    Angelica – I assume you’ll apply the same logic if ever burgled but you didn’t see them, or your car’s smashed up when you’re not there?

    • Angelica Says:

      Hard though it might be for you to believe, burglary and criminal damage are considered more serious offences than chucking a bottle of Coke out of a car window.

      All the same, if my car was smashed up while I wasn’t there, I would be very surprised if the police bothered to do anything about it.

      • Alice Says:

        Whether I believe that or not is not the point.

        “If you can’t provide any information to identify them, I’m not sure exactly what you expect the police to be able to do.”

        The same as they do with any crime where they don’t have identifying information

      • Angelica Says:

        i.e. nothing

      • Khraden Says:

        *awaiting rotten tomatoes*
        It would be the same case for a man. If there is no description of the “assailants”, nor their vehicle or registration number, there really isn’t much that the police can do.

        Not that the comments made by the group of guys is justified; but the fact that the police could not do anything isn’t out of the ordinary, no matter the sex.

    • annabel Says:

      actually Angela, my boyfriend was recently squirted with a water pistol by a group of youths and took an incomplete record of the registration. He reported it to the police and guess what?

      The car did it again to someone else which was also reported. The driver had his car impounded, was taken to court and charged with assult and subsequently fined. So yes, ALWAYS report it to the police, or if they’re in a work van, the company. With any harrassment because they just might do it to someone else

  3. Female Says:

    Hahahaha.

    Nice going with the registration plates.

  4. fis Says:

    Even if the police weren’t able to do anything, they could have responded to the call without calling the women ‘silly’ or asking them why they were walking ‘alone’. I believe the poster is unhappy with the tone in which the police responded, not in the fact that they couldn’t do anything.

    • Khraden Says:

      This I completely agree with. The fact that they said that it was silly for them to be out on their own is rediculous. I’ve met a lot of women who could whoop my tail if needbe. The tone can’t really be represented on the web, but I’m assuming that the officers weren’t being the most polite either.

  5. Daniel Says:

    When i found this blog i thought it´d be fun. But i´m too disapointed with humans to keep reading. It´s a shame. Too many “shames”…

    • ProfKris Says:

      Daniel, I’m sure that your favorite comic books are still where you left them. Try not to move your lips while you read; just some friendly advice.

      • Matt G. Says:

        Well, that was uncalled for. And, dare I say, an example of misandry.

        Daniel was just lamenting the sad state of humanity reflected in these anecdotes. No need to belittle him for not wanting to get depressed by reading a blog.

        Also, FYI–comic books are no longer regarded as solely the province of adolescents. Except, perhaps, by judgmental, hateful people such as yourself.

  6. Julian Says:

    “show sympathy, understanding and to take my complaint seriously” sounds like what she expected them to do. Also quite possibly go looking for a group of guys who indulge in late night street harassment, or at the very least make a record of it in case there is another similar report later. If you report a mugging or a handbag theft, the police will at least have a look for the people described, even without a car registration, and won’t make you feel like it’s your fault.

  7. Sally Says:

    The police may not have been able to do a quick ID of the vehicle without a registration number but there are plenty of things that the officer could have done differently.

    1) Not intimated that women had no business to be out without male protection.
    2) Not call any member of the public ‘silly’ – would he have said this to a man who had been assaulted? I can’t be sure but I’m guessing not. But in any event, it’s not appropriate language to use.
    3) Taken a note of the incident in case there were any further reports of men harrassing and abusing women on the street.
    4) Alerted any colleagues on patrol that there were some troublesome blokes about and to keep an eye out.

    Even if there was nothing more he could do, he could have treated Clare with respect and courtesy.

  8. Octavius Says:

    I once had an egg thrown at me by a group of boys in a car, which hit me in the back of the head. Unsurprisingly, I was annoyed but I didn’t phone the police, deeming it a waste of their time. Clearly, the policeman also thought this case was a waste of his time. Perhaps, this was because he is a sexist or perhaps he had had a long day and night dealing with the truly horrible things that do happen. I’m not suggesting that this wasn’t a terrible experience and I also understand the desire to be able to do something about it, I’m just saying you should be open to alternative explanations for the policeman’s lack of enthusiasm for dealing with your case.

  9. Maggie Says:

    That is disgraceful. It is NEVER the victim’s fault, no matter what happens. Expecting someone who has just been assaulted(and it IS assault) to get descriptions and numbers is not realistic. It’s certainly no reason to call her “silly” and make patronising and sexist remarks.

  10. Xena Says:

    That is horrible. I have a hypothesis and a suggestion, but both are contingent on which Bradford was the setting for this assault.

    Clare, are you in the UK? Home of the Crossbow Killer?

  11. Xena Says:

    Actually, the use of the word “slag” pretty much answers my question. Abusers on this side of the pond use other nasty words to project their hatred.

    So I’ll stick my neck out and offer up my hypothesis. If you were in fact walking in THAT Bradford, news of the assaults on sex workers over there is BIG. Everybody’s blogging about it. Your story sounds consistent with other reports I’ve read on these self-styled vigilantes’ MO. Bad when sex workers get attacked like that, worse when a woman can’t even go for chips without getting assaulted.

    These attacks are the direct result of politicians campaigning on their crackdowns on sex workers.

    My advice to you: DON’T just take this like a “good little bitch”. MAKE SOME NOISE. Lobby. Get up in your MP’s grills. Pull out your cell phone camera and do some citizen journalism. Contact the local media. And DON’T let those cops get away with the same insinuations that provoked the attack in the first place.

    I wouldn’t suggest to a stranger that she put herself at risk by countering violence with violence. But in your position I’d carry the kind of heavy projectiles that would seriously mess up a car windshield, and a crowbar as a backup. Not that I would expect anybody that’s enough of a coward to throw things from a car at a woman to be man enough to get out and fight fair, but you know how men who can’t get laid are about their cars. That’s just what I’d do. Take it or leave it. But again, DO exercise your right to rant to the politicians that caused this bullying in the first place. You deserve better.

  12. Lauren Says:

    Backing up Julian on this one. Police sometimes really lack empathy.

  13. Freyalyn Says:

    In Bradford that really doesn’t surprise me.

  14. Mary Says:

    I’m in London and was assaulted on the street by a gang of boys ranging in age from ten to twelve. They shouted disgusting things at me, and when I walked on by, ignoring them, one ran after me and hit me. I called my local police station as soon as I got home and was put through to a central call centre. They registered it, gave me a number, asked me about where I’d been hit and offered to send an ambulance. They sent 2 uniformed officers to my house within 30mins to see I was ok and to take descriptions. They told me that a crime had been committed and that even though there was little chance of catching the kids, that anything similar involving kids in the sane school uniform should be reported so that they know what is the extent of the problem.

    Perhaps it is just a London thing, but I found The Met to be extremely helpful and professional. I now encourage everyone to report. All street harassment even if it’s “only words”. It’ll never be taken seriously as a problem unless it’s constantly reported as problem. You don’t have to worry about wasting police time – you can visit your local station or call their direct number. As they told me, it’s what they’re there for.

  15. Lyris Says:

    Holy. Fucking. Shit. The POLICE did that?

  16. Alice Says:

    Not just London, in Yorkshire too. About 10 years ago now, I was walking home and a man in a car crawled by leering etc. I called the police to give them the car details in case something later happened in the area. Then they would have more information to build up a bigger picture. Despite me saying I was fine, they insisted on sending an officer ’round to take all the details and they then followed it up with me later too.

  17. Xena Says:

    Angelica,

    When cops are too lazy to do their jobs, and citizens resort to defending themselves to display their I Told You So, the cops rarely charge the victim–especially if she’s female and especially if she’s only destroying a car. The point is to disable the assailant’s means of escape until the cops come. It’s called self-defense where I am.

    Surely even British cops are not as crass as you suggest?

    • Arienette Says:

      Actually, it’s called ‘a crime’ in the UK. A celebrity was told off by the police in recent months for *waving a knife* at burglars who had broken onto her property and were looking for a way into her house (where she was alone with her young daughter) when she spotted them out of her *kitchen* window. You know. Where the knives are kept.
      We can’t even carry mace here and you want women to carry crowbars when they go out clubbing?
      You’re pretty much not allowed to defend yourself here unless someone is about to kill you. You have to be able to prove to the police that they were really about to cause you a lot of harm to get away with any form of aggressive self-defense. Victims can and are charged with criminal damage or for injuring a criminal.
      Man hits burglr with bottle, charged with GBH: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1232907/Professional-burglar-jail-sentence-cut-injury-received-work.html
      Burglars tie up man and family, man injures burglar, man jailed: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/beds/bucks/herts/8413787.stm
      Legally, if a burglar injures themselves breaking into your home, you can be sued: http://www.protectingyourself.co.uk/using-barbed-wire-glass-intruder-prevention-methods.html
      Tony Martin, convicted of manslaughter for killing burglar: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tony_Martin_%28farmer%29

      Fair enough these are all instances of bodily injury, but if you can be charged and jailed for being victimized by burglary, do you think they would hesitate to charge you for criminal damage if you are ‘just’ the victim of a ‘prank’ and some ‘mild’ street harassment?

      • Brie B. Says:

        Jeez. Sometimes, I can’t help but be a little grateful I live in Texas — you can legally shoot someone for trying to break into your *car* (although technically, it has to be a non-lethal shot), and the gun you shot them with doesn’t even have to be registered.

        Then again, I’d also like to not have to live in fear of going bankrupt if I ever need to go to the emergency room, so I guess you win some and you lose some.

  18. Xena Says:

    Thanks, Arienette. I was considering a visit, possibly followed by a move to England someday. I might still visit. I’m sure all Brits are NOT pub crawling arse gropers. But I couldn’t live in a place where I’m not allowed to defend myself.

    So that means the scene in 101 Dalmatians was pure BS then?

  19. Lula Says:

    Well I’m going to half to agree, unless you live in a very small town, what can he do with out a number? Did you call looking for sympathy? That’s not their job.

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