Dear Mr Shannon, Thank your for your letter dated the 28th September, replying to my letter to Mr Polin. I addressed my letter to Mr Polin personally and look forward to his reply once he arrives. However, something in your letter vividly stands out as the root cause of the problem.
You say, “The safety of all our communities is and will continue to be, our primary concern”. I find this very surprising, as I would have expected the prevention of crime to be your primary concern. Clearly stating an organisation’s objective is vital for its efficient management.
This powerful tool allows identification of the appropriate strategies and effective communication throughout the organisation to ensure that everyone is pulling in the right direction. However, if the statement is wrong the effect will be powerfully wrong. It will inevitably lead to inefficient use of resources (in your case taxpayer’s money), people doing inappropriate things (as witnesses by your motorcyclists policy) and people not doing the things that need to be done.
Regarding the last of these, over the last decade I have had car windows smashed 3 times by opportunistic thieves in public car parks, my house has been burgled and my wife robbed of several thousand pounds worth of photographic equipment in the street.
I now understand that these sorts of incidents do not feature as your primary concern and I am left wondering if you consider that maybe it would be better if they did. Other than your responsibilities to prevent crime I don’t believe you have any greater responsibility for my safety than I have towards your officers’ safety (maybe I should flag them down and offer driving advice).
Although I no longer live in Wales I have spent many years participating in a number of activities in North Wales that require good safety management, these used to include rock climbing and dinghy racing and I am still an active mountain walker, offshore sailor, glider pilot and private aircraft pilot.
All of these have a high safety management content but I have never seen any involvement by the North Wales Police in that, nor would I expect to. The two motorcycling fatalities, to which you refer, are extremely regrettable.
However all motorcyclist recognise that there can be a greater possibility of serious injury arising from an accident on a motorcycle than on some other forms of transport and have a right to accept that risk if they chose.
I strongly recommend that you reconsider your statement I quote at the beginning of this letter and reassess the main purpose of the North Wales Police. I would be surprised if it did not cause a re-focus on the prevention of crime. I have not done a great deal of research but happen to have seen the “Purpose Statement” of the West Yorkshire Police that appears to have value.
I attach it to this letter for reference. If, following this, you still feel it economically sensible for you to have an involvement in education beyond the statutory requirement then I strongly advise you to appreciate that this can only be done on a voluntary basis.
Your prejudicial use of your statutory powers to stop and detain motorcyclists for this voluntary purpose is an abuse of those powers (which itself has a tendency to undermine the rule of law) and has created a significant barrier between you and a large cross section of the community you serve. This barrier clearly has the reverse effect to the engagement that you claim you seek and is an obstacle across a broader range of important police activities.
Please reconsider the primary purpose of the North Wales Police.
West Yorkshire Police Statement of Common Purpose and Values
The purpose of West Yorkshire Police is to uphold the law fairly and firmly: to prevent crime; to pursue and bring to justice those who break the law; to keep the Queen's peace; to protect, help and reassure the community: and to be seen to do all this with integrity, common sense and sound judgement.
We must be compassionate, courteous and patient, acting without fear or favour or prejudice to the rights of others. We need to be professional, calm and restrained in the face of violence and apply only that force which is necessary to accomplish our lawful duty.
We must strive to reduce the fears of the public and, so far as we can, to reflect their priorities in the action we take. We must respond to well-founded criticism with a willingness to change.