Hot fuzz?

A reader writes:

Residents in the Ashley Down/St Andrews/Montpelier area of Bristol have just received this hilarious letter (see below). The following comments seem relevant:

a) This letter was clearly not just sent to my road and I suspect the opening statement is simply not true. A police letter that starts by sounding like a cheap estate agent does not inspire confidence.

b) It is full of typos and sub-literate grammatical turns. My favourite is where he apologises for the previous lack of inaction.

c) It starts with a threat. In short, if you complain about this policy by reference to what has always been the norm, we will regard you as a criminal.

d) It is contradictory. Is it now ok to park on the pavement if we leave a wheelchair’s width?

e) It ends asking us to all think of him as a friend 🙂

Hot Fuzz, eat your heart out.

St Pauls Police by bristol_citizen on Scribd

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27 Responses to Hot fuzz?

  1. badnewswade says:

    Good. I’m glad they’re doing something about these dickheads parking their shitboxes all over the place. It’s dangerous and antisocial.

  2. DocSavage says:

    hilarious, but agree that the clowns that park on the pavements need a kick in the nether regions.

    I like to walk over the bonnets of cars that block the streets near me.

  3. Outside of London, the offence that the police can ticket cars for is not “parking on the pavement” but the obstruction they cause doing so. Wheelchair and double-prams are the primary pavement users that appear to be considered in such cases. Given right now you cannot get a mangy dog up most streets in montpelier, it will be interesting to see what happens here.

    Interestingly, and we plan coverage of it in Bristol Traffic later this week, one way to improve pavement access is to take the bins off them -this is underway in Clifton on Oakfield road, and is now apparently being considered for Kingsdown. This could certainly increase some pavement space, but at the price of taking one or two car parking spaces away from every street.

  4. inks says:

    Humphrey’s heart is in the right place but he needs to sort out his writing.

    I particularly like the idea of leaving enough space for emergency vehicles driving along pavements.

  5. dreamingspire says:

    It is helpful that they will be issuing warning notices, for I remember owners of a business in a Redland group of narrow streets with no off-street parking (Woolcot Park, for those who know) telling me, 20 years ago, that the local beat officer had been refused permission by his Sergeant to issue warning notices about this very same problem. In those days the baby double buggy rule was used, and of course there were no dropped kerbs (and no wheelchairs, manual or electric).
    And police used to let delivery vehicles park on pedestrian crossing zigzags, but complaints put a stop to that. Sadly, such illegal parking is creeping back.

  6. woodsy says:

    What abysmal English. Did anyone else have a vision of paramedics/firefighters trying to negotiate their vehicles down pavements choked with parked cars?

  7. dreamingspire says:

    Its also abysmal to fisk the letter because you think that it means leaving space for fire engines to drive down the pavements.
    Drivers park on pavements because they don’t want their cars being damaged by passing vehicles – I have actually seen a fire engine shove its way down a road on which the track left was too narrow. But of course the fire service should have vehicles narrow enough to fit the way the roads are in practice – they did buy some but I think had to send them back because they were unsafe – from the picture they were built on a standard chassis instead of having a custom chassis that permitted a low centre of gravity when loaded.

  8. Jon Rogers says:

    Am I alone in welcoming the police response to a local PACT priority?

    Obviously all you clever wordsmiths gain pleasure out of such a letter, but I think recipients will understand it.

    And please don’t let us get into a situation where local police have to submit their residents’ letters to the police Marketing and Public Relations team for checking!

    We have a great local police team – they are genuinely interested in the people who live, work and visit our area. Long may it continue.


  9. We in Bristol Traffic denounce this as another aspect of an anti-car city. The pavements have been historically there for car parking, and by taking it away from us they will deny us the right to park right outside our house, and perhaps even cause us to lose our wing-mirrors to passing taxis. Who will compensate us for our lost wing mirrors!

    More importantly, it shows how the PACT process is being subverted by militant pedestrians and cyclists who keep on pushing an anti-car agenda. It is imperative that everyone who drives round the city attends their PACT meetings and pushes for hard action against the real criminals: skateboarders and people who take too long to walk across zebra crossings.

    We are tempted to write a letter on this topic to the Evening Post, but assume that our Association of British Drivers fellow-traveller, Bob Bull, will have already done so, so await his balanced note on the topic with eagerness.

  10. chrishutt says:

    Jon, action by the police against inconsiderate and illegal parking would be welcome if it actually happens (which remains to be seen).

    However I think the police should check all public written communications for accuracy, politeness and clarity because it is unrealistic to expect police constables to have the appropriate skills, as evidenced by the example above.

    Initiatives to tackle the hegemony of the car need to be handled very professionally since such initiatives will be seen by many as controversial and any opportunity will be taken to undermine them, including mocking poor use of language.

  11. Jon Rogers says:

    Chris – the action has been happening for about 6 months now in Montpelier, where residents have requested. More streets are now requesting action, hence PC Humphrey’s letter.

    You suggest that, “Initiatives to tackle the hegemony of the car need to be handled very professionally” Er, frankly, no they don’t – they need to be tackled by kind, good, thoughtful and caring people, meeting and talking and sharing with other like minded people. Everyone can help. No special skills required.

  12. Acesabe says:

    In quiet leafy London suburbia – where there is plenty of on and off road parking for all the multi car families, with no serious parking shortage or pavement parking issues, one local authority has slapped a ‘no parking 10-11 am weekdays’ restriction across the area, then send round a warden on scooter every day armed with camera and ticket meter, and clean up! This of course mostly impacts on unsuspecting visitors or multi-car owners who forget to move their cars – not over night pavement parkers, but it still must generate a fair whack of cash (less all the contested tickets) – no doubt there would be outcry if this were introduced in Montpelier/St Andrews!
    On my street you often couldn’t get a fire engine through the street due to idiots parking on the pavement right on a narrow corner – and why do drivers assume they have right of way – even though the cars are all parked on the same side as they are driving, when I am cycling along the clear side of the street.

    All these streets should be closed to through traffic, levelled off ‘home-zone’ style with diagonal parking bays along one side – sorted!

  13. dreamingspire says:

    PACT? What’s that? Council web site says go to police web site and put in a postcode on page Do that and up comes a page for the ward but it doesn’t say PACT anywhere on that page. (Jon please note.)

  14. PACT is covered on the police web site

    There is some coverage of what PACT is in the spring Bristol Cycling Campaign newsletter:

    Those troublemakers are -again- using Bristol traffic photographs and twisting them to meet the anti-car agenda. The PACT meetings are where the battle for who controls the police are being fought.

  15. dreamingspire says:

    There are meetings listed on the police web page, but no explanation of what they are about. Having now phoned the Council, I have been told that there are single ward meetings and multi-ward (area) meetings, but the police don’t bother to explain that on the web page. And BBC1 Ceefax says (p167) “Police force promises to improve” after having been rated only “fair”. Some improved communication skills needed, both in terms of the letter featured on this blog and their web site. Maybe the Council should also explain more as well.

  16. w00dburner says:

    Well done the police constable who has taken the bull by the horns. I’m fed up with illegal parking all over Bristol – on pavements, on double yellow lines, in bus lanes and in cycle lanes. I don’t care about the lousy grammar – the message is clear enough. If the council & police regularly swooped troublesome areas – zig zags outside primary schools is a good one – they’d clean up. What’s wrong with them that they have to wait for complaints?

  17. Tom says:

    Well done, police. Yes, the message is perfectly clear, and I hope they act on it.

    I wonder if this means they’ll wake up to the fact that there’s a 30mph limit in Bristol, and start enforcing that, too?

  18. thebristolblogger says:

    The fact this copper has to go to court and provide evidence and statements that can result in people going to prison but can’t seem to write in clear, concise, unambiguous English seems to be passing a lot of people by.

    He can’t possibly be capable of doing his job properly.

  19. steve meek says:

    The letter is perfectly clear to me and if you find it ‘hilarious’, Bristol Blogger, then I think you should get out more.
    It is also very welcome as selfish parking is a serious annoyance: the beat team round here do a good job and are responding to what local people want (a refreshing change from a few years ago).
    Try going to a PACT meeting and putting your concerns forward if you don’t believe me.
    I doubt if they will pick you up on grammatical errors.

  20. thebristolblogger says:

    And maybe you need to get out to the courts more often and see the quality of so-called “justice” being dispensed in this country usually to the poorest and most vulnerable.

    Can you reform the police and criminal justice system through PACT meetings?

  21. GrumpyG says:

    “We have daily enquiries about high quality housing in your road. Hurry, sign up with scamalot estate agents and sell your house for more.”

    Am I the only one who thinks that the sort of casual dishonesty displayed in the letter is not appropriate for the police? When they are providing evidence against you in court, will they also be so free and loose with the facts?

    The facts are that there are a small number of roads in Montpelier where there is not enough space to park on both sides and have bins out on the pavements. I don’t live in Montpelier or anywhere where there could possibly be daily complaints about “pavement parking” but I still had the pleasure of receiving this crude, threatening and brutish leaflet.

  22. SteveL says:

    “there are a small number of roads in Montpelier where there is not enough space to park on both sides and have bins out on the pavements.”

    I’m sorry, we are discussing Montpelier Bristol here, not Montpellier, France. Of the roads in the Montpelier BS2 area, here are the ones that the Bristol Traffic dataset implies that cars are forced to park up on the pavement:

    Picton Street, Richmond Road, St Andrews Road, Bath Buildings, Lower Cheltenham Place, Upper Cheltenham Place, Fairlawn Road, Fairfield Road, Brook Hill, York Road, Falkland Road, Old Ashley Hill.

    The single road that does not have cars on its pavement in the Bristol Traffic dataset is Cobourg Road, -which is unique is that once cars have parked on northern side of the road, the only way for vehicles to get down the road is by driving two wheels on the pavement.

    There is also the far eastern end of Fairlawn and Fairfield Roads, where someone is operating a van repair business from the street. Other than that, Monty does not have any pavements that you can use to walk along, except on the St Andrews Fair day.

    The B.T. Dataset is all tagged with location and date info is in the photographs, so they can all be validated. There is also the set of photographs not on the blogger site, because frankly it would be boring to go on about Montpelier all the time -we normally only give it coverage if something particularly unusual is happening.

    Because everyone walking around with kids or push chairs ends up in the road, Montpelier has become Bristol’s first unofficial home zone. Yet whenever you are going round there with your small children, you cannot help but worry that someone in a car or bike is going to come round a blind corner at speed to find you there. Maybe with the 20 mph speed zone rollout this will be less of a concern, but with 30 mph limits on the roads to the west, south and east of the area, I’m not sure that you won’t still have to deal with cars speeding up the moment they see a 30 mph sign in the far distance, or turning in to the area at speed, and trying to coast down as gently as they can.

  23. bobby onkers says:

    “Drivers park on pavements because they don’t want their cars being damaged by passing vehicles”. I disagree. Those who are worried enough about that kind of thing do not park on Montpelier’s narrow streets at all, but rather prefer a short walk to Kingdown or Cotham in the morning. Those parking on pavements in Montpelier tend to be the types that regard being able to park right outside one’s own property is some kind of human right, but are aware that they’ll get towed if they actually prevent traffic being able to pass.

  24. Apathetic says:

    I am interested that no one seems to want the council to do anything. If there isn’t enough space to park on both sides and parking on the pavement bothers people, then only allow parking on one side. If there are too many bins on the pavement, then give people a way to put out their rubbish somewhere else as is done in many many cities around the world where there are lots of multi-occupancy properties or limited pavement space. You don’t see the streets of Manhattan or even Amsterdam full of rubbish bins. People could even vote for their favourite solution and local politicians could even have policies on them which they presented to the electorate.

    Does everyone just assume the council is not capable of doing anything? This may be a reasonable assumption of course.

  25. bobby onkers says:

    walking through montpelier today, there were as many cars on the pavement as ever. the police should learn that if they keep issuing idle threats, people will be more and more inclined to ignore them.

  26. tommy says:

    As a resident of on of the streets in question I am glad that this officer is engaging the community like this, he is trying and we should be behind him for that. Shame on you Bristol Blogger, you have a large audience and could do much more good rather than spreading sleaze. Complex problems have complex solutions, but you negative and un-constructive comments serve no purpose.

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