For those of you that follow Aiden's blog, you will know that on Sunday we received the devastating news that WM Police held him partially responsible for his accident because he failed to brake! Aiden was very eloquent and angry about this and explained why this was such a travesty and so very wrong here and here. We started tweeting anyone who was prepared to listen to our story and also WM Police because we just could not accept that this was the result of a true and thorough investigation. The Police always knew there would be a complaint at the end of their investigation because of our concerns over the policy of not attending all but the most serious of accidents but now my attention had to turn to how on earth such a conclusion could have been reached and what we could do to obtain a review.
Along came St Bob on a Bike of Brownhills who published this brilliant summary of the whole situation and added some choice comments of his own. Well we wouldn't expect anything less from our Bob now would we? Bob's blog is widely read and the item was duly picked up by BBC RadioWM.
In the meantime Assistant Chief Constable Marcus Beale, on holiday made the mistake of checking his twitter account and the wheels of WM Police began grinding in earnest. An email advising us that the file was under review was received and then I was invited to participate in a discussion about cycling safety on BBC RadioWM along with Police Superintendent Sean Russell. That discussion is well covered in another of Bob's supportive, accurate and well written articles here. I need say no more.
At the same time fellow Walsall blogger The Plastic Hippo published a devastatingly brilliant piece in support of Aiden and others who have suffered injustices at the hands of the Police. I urge you to read this. It's important.
To the thanks. Firstly to Brownhills Bob, fellow cyclist and a supportive friend. Your blogs made a world of difference and changed events and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thanks also to The Plastic Hippo although when reading your blogs I never feel worthy enough to comment, such is the power of your writing. And thanks to Marcus Beale for being an approachable copper who keeps his word. If only there were more like you.
I also want to thank the very many people who have supported both Aiden and me on Twitter, Facebook, through the blogs, on cycling forums, through email, texts, phone calls, in every way imaginable. Every contact has been valued and gratefully received and to fall back on being ever so Uriah Heep once again, we have been humbled. You're all fantastic people.Thank you.
Seems we've got ourselves into a safer cycling campaign now and neither of us will be quitting. The stress and anxiety we have both endured have left their marks and scars on both of us but we do consider ourselves to be very lucky and we will see all of this through to what we hope will be a good conclusion.
For some light relief and also because we both adore the place, we attended the first meeting of the Friends of Park Lime Pits last night, held in The Manor Arms and organised by the truly committed Morgan Bowers, I wonder if Walsall Council know how lucky they are in having such a hard working and dedicated employee? If you use the Lime Pits and would like to participate actively in its future, I urge you to join us. You can email/message me and I'll add your details to the impressive list in terms of numbers who attended last night and let you have details of our first working get together.
And finally...I've mentioned my former life in the Inland Revenue rather a lot recently in this blog. It seems things have changed a lot in the 16 years since I left. Today I discovered that HMRC, their successors, now have a whole department dedicated to dealing with complaints and that currently a complaint will not be answered for five weeks! I was reflecting upon just how many complaints does a department receive in order to have to set up a dedicated sub-department to deal with them and just how many are currently pending if it takes five weeks to respond? It seems that the days of dealing with the odd complaint on the day of receipt have long gone, How very sad in all respects and how indicative of what our public services are reduced to, no longer being able for whatever reason to provide a decent service at the point of contact but being reduced to damage limitation exercises.