Personally I was shocked just reading about the whole incident, what it must have been like to be a passenger on that coach I do not know.
The police are supposed to make the citizens feel safe, to protect our freedoms and to generally make our lives easier and more pleasant.
The Vision section of Staffordshire police website say this
Our three strategic priorities are:
Delivering a quality service
Delivering professional excellence
Delivering value for money
The strategy and plan is underpinned by the force’s core values of:
Respecting the dignity of each person we deal with
Professional excellence and willingness to learn
Caring, encouraging and respecting others
Recognising and celebrating success
Effective use of our resources
Fairness, equality and integrity
The response of the police to the M6 Toll terror scare was a complete an utter failure when measured against my expectations and the vision of Staffordshire police themselves. A total failure.
Their response showed a total of quality, a total lack of professionalism, no value-for-money, no respect of the passengers dignity, no display of caring to wards the passengers, no respect shown towards the passengers, completely ineffective use of resources and a complete lack of fairness.
It is all well and good apologising after the fact but that is easy. People have to use their common sense. If the people on the bus were simply respected and asked for their take on the situation, the whole operation might have been stopped before it got completely out of hand.
The various articles written on this story include comments from the passengers themselves.
But Vermilion Von Kangur, 20, a student from Preston, said she was forced to step off the coach at gunpoint, fearing that ‘if I made a wrong move I could have been shot’.
‘We were told to get off the coach one by one and told to keep our arms by our sides and walk towards armed officers. I felt scared, my legs were like jelly, it was very intimidating.’
It was not until 9.30am that the 20-year-old and her friend Lindsay Parker, 18, noticed armed police flanking the coach – and it was another two hours before they were escorted off the vehicle in single file.
She said: ‘We spotted armed officers pointing their guns at the bus. At this point everyone was terrified.
‘Eventually they started evacuating us – one passenger every five or ten minutes. We were told to keep our arms at our sides and not to put them in our pockets we were told we were not allowed to talk to each other.’
After finally disembarking, they were ordered into a ‘contamination’ zone where they were ordered to sit apart – silently and cross-legged – before the all-clear was eventually given.
Looking at the story it seems there was a total lack of common sense shown by the police.
The whole response gives the impression that the police have been given too much theoretical training and enormous resources and not enough training on respecting the people they are supposed to be protecting.
It seems they simply got carried away in order to put the training and resources to use.
Apparently the police received a report from someone who saw some behaving suspiciously with a plastic bag. From the reports it seems that absolutely nobody on the bus had any clue what was going on whatsoever so how anyone from outside the bus could have reported this is beyond my understanding.
Instead of the police actually asking the people on board what was going on, it appears from the news reports as if the passengers were treated like animals as soon as the call came in.
The sight of innocent people being forced to sit on the road, apart from each other, cross-legged and in silence shows a complete lack of respect for basic human rights.
I think any normal person would find the situation extremely humiliating and terrifying.
I will repeat myself, I think for police to be able to act in this way on the shakiest of evidence, without first consulting with the people who were actually on the bus, shows a complete disregard for people’s basic human rights.
The fact that only one paper seems to be touching the human rights issue shows a complete lack of journalist integrity by the mainstream print media in the UK, in my opinion.
And this sort of response sets a dangerous precedent. This response has shown that all a terrorist has to do to bring a main transport artery in the UK to a standstill is to make a phone call.
If there were any real terrorist threat, police in the UK would be getting calls like this regularly bringing the whole country to a stop.
Given the huge reaction that a simple phone call has, I am surprised that real terrorists are not using this police policy for overreaction against the British people.
It is obvious that with very little effort they can cause simply massive disruption. And I am not in anyway condoning prank phone calls in anyway, I am simply highlighting how such an overreactive policy could make us more vulnerable to people who want to disrupt the British way of life.