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News and Comment November 2012

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7 November - A much better start

Metropolitan PoliceWhen Elwyn Bryant and I reported Bexley council’s obscene blog to the police on 8th June 2011 it proved very difficult to get them to accept the report although they acknowledged a crime had been committed. For two hours the PCSOs allocated to deal with us dithered and popped up and down stairs consulting their seniors and coming up with reasons why they couldn’t become involved until we eventually made a breakthrough. A week later the report was acknowledged by a short unsigned letter. Exactly two months later another letter arrived which warned that such cases “do take a considerable time” and just two weeks after that on 23rd August 2011 another unsigned letter said it was all over. “No identifiable audit trail can be identified.” What a difference this time.

The allegation of crime was accepted without complaint and yesterday morning a Detective Sergeant phoned to ask a few questions and make a few comments. During the afternoon a Detective Constable left another enquiry on my answering machine. So far so good.

Parsons BrinckerhoffI do not believe the recent obscene messages traced to an IP address belonging to Parsons Brinckerhoff are as serious as the obscene blog. The homophobic language is similar but the message was sent only to me, not posted on the world wide web for all to see. Neither did it or could it impersonate me. It was nevertheless shocking in the sense I felt pretty depressed about it until the trace revealed that it came from no ordinary reader.

Peter CraskeThe Detective Sergeant said it could prove difficult to trace the messages to a particular individual; if they find the computer it might not be possible to prove which set of fingers were on the keyboard at the time. He is absolutely right and while calling someone rude names is a criminal offence under the catch all Section 127 I am not myself in favour of it. Several recent prosecutions of people who Tweeted silly things about airports, footballers, swimmers and councillors were in my opinion a total over-reaction and to change my mind because I now find myself on the receiving end would be hypocritical. The important thing here is the link with councillor Peter Craske. The Detective Sergeant I spoke to yesterday agreed. “I don’t believe in coincidence’ he said and he is right not to.

As is usual after speaking to the officers in charge I feel quite optimistic that they mean business but over time that seems to dissipate. If the new team could be just a little more communicative than the last one perhaps the reserve of patience will run out a little more slowly.


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