Saturday, March 26, 2011
After coroner blames Britain's health and safety rules for failing Cumbria gunman's victims, 999 crews told: You must risk your lives
It looks like the Labour Party's insane safety rules are at last crumbling
Emergency services were told yesterday they should be prepared to ‘risk their lives’ to protect the public. At the inquest on victims of the Cumbrian gun massacre, coroner David Roberts said it was disturbing that paramedics were prevented from reaching the injured because of red tape which cost vital minutes.
And a senior police officer said the response had been severely hampered by slavish adherence to health and safety regulations. ‘The public have a right to expect the emergency services to put themselves at risk to help them,’ he said.
On the day of the rampage, when crazed gunman Derrick Bird murdered 12 people and wounded 11 others, ambulance crews were ordered to remain at ‘safe rendezvous points’ for anything up to two hours until the police gave them permission to treat victims. This dithering was compounded by a catastrophic breakdown in communication between the different services.
A total of 13 ambulances, three air ambulances and four rapid response vehicles were held back for up to 90 minutes because police officers were unaware the crews were waiting for their go-ahead before helping the wounded.
Yesterday, after listening to 70 witnesses during 18 days of harrowing evidence, the inquest jury returned verdicts of unlawful killing on each of Bird’s 12 victims. They also found that Bird had killed himself.
Mr Roberts said that though he did not believe the misguided safety measures had cost lives, they could easily do so in future incidents. ‘It does not take a leap of imagination to see if this incident were replicated, it may be that the ambulance service or paramedic assistance would be needed for someone to survive who would otherwise have died,’ he said. Mr Roberts said he would be writing to the Home Secretary urging him to review health and safety rules relating to the emergency services.
These rules were also blamed at the inquests into the London bombings on July 7, 2005, for causing delays.
Last night, one of those caught up in the Cumbria massacre on June 2 last year described the rules preventing paramedics from attending scenes as ‘appalling’. Vivienne Tregidga, a PR consultant who waited for an ambulance with one of Bird’s victims, said: ‘It was left up to people who didn’t have enough training or equipment to help victims. ‘We all pay taxes to have an emergency service and when there’s an emergency they don’t turn up.’
An independent report into the emergency services handling of the killing spree is expected to be published on Monday. It is anticipated that it will call for an overhaul of the controversial health and safety policy.
Its author, Assistant Chief Constable Simon Chesterman, who leads policy on armed policing for the Association of Chief Police Officers, has also called for greater co-operation among the emergency services. ‘I think the public have a right to expect the emergency services to put themselves at risk to protect them,’ he said. ‘Clearly there were a number of scenes where officers and members of the public were asking for ambulances,’ ‘If I was commanding the incident, the overarching aim would be to protect the public from harm. ‘We cannot go on with this confusion. The police service and the ambulance service must get their act together.’
Bird, a taxi driver, first shot dead his twin brother, David, 52, and then family solicitor Kevin Commons, 60. In the days before the massacre he had convinced himself that the two men were helping an inquiry into his tax affairs.
Bird – who vowed to make Whitehaven as famous as Dunblane – then drove to the town’s Duke Street taxi rank where he shot dead taxi driver Darren Rewcastle, 43, and injured several others.
He went on to kill mother-of-two Susan Hughes, 57, retired security worker Kenneth Fishburn, 71, part-time mole catcher Isaac Dixon, 65, retired couple James and Jennifer Jackson, 67 and 68, farmer Garry Purdham, 31, estate agent Jamie Clark, 23, retired Sellafield employee Michael Pike, 64, and pensioner Jane Robinson, 66.
Within 90 minutes of Mr Rewcastle’s death 30 armed officers were in action, but despite being given permission to shoot to kill they never got close enough to engage Bird. He was finally found in woodland near Boot, more than three hours after police discovered his first known victim, after turning his .22 rifle on himself.
ACC Chesterman, from West Mercia Police, said: ‘If you said to me, “Was the Cumbria Constabulary response reasonable in the circumstances?” Yes it was. ‘Could it have been better? Yes it could and we learn every time that these tragedies happen.’
Cumbria Police assistant chief constable Jerry Graham insisted that at no time before Bird’s body was found was he prepared to declare an area safe. But crucially, he and his force admitted that they were completely unaware of the controversial ambulance policy currently in place.
‘At no stage was I specifically requested by the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) to give clearance for any member of their staff to enter the crime scenes, or for police officers to escort ambulance staff in order to assist casualties,’ he said.
NWAS head Peter Mulcahy told the inquest said there was a huge tension among ambulance crews over the rules surrounding such an incident. He said: ‘It is not in the makeup of ambulance staff not to go and help people.’ But he said there was a real risk of sending people to their deaths, and the health and safety considerations of staff were paramount.
A spokesman for the NWAS said it would have been liable under health and safety insurance legislation had any of their staff been killed or injured. The service did, however, accept that lessons had to be learnt.
The inquest heard that police and the ambulance service had difficulty communicating because they used different wavelengths on their radios. The system is now being replaced so all 999 services will eventually use the same wavelength.
Fury after British woman who falsely cried rape is handed only an £80 fixed penalty notice
When a mother of five reported that she had been raped by two East European men, panic spread through her community and ethnic tension led to street violence. Despite the arrest of two suspects, the crime remained unsolved and angry residents confronted police chiefs at a public meeting to voice fears for their safety.
Yesterday it was revealed that the ‘victim’, Susan Bradley, 41, later admitted to police that the attack never took place. But instead of being taken to court for perverting the course of justice and facing a jail sentence, she escaped with an £80 fixed penalty for wasting police time.
The decision has been condemned by residents in Darnall, Sheffield, but police say it was the ‘best disposal’ taking into account the woman’s ‘previous good character’.
A major investigation was launched after Bradley claimed to have been raped by two men on wasteland near her home in the early hours of January 30.
A businesswoman in the area said: ‘East Europeans were targeted and beaten up after the woman said she had been raped by men from there. ‘What she did is disgusting, never mind the cost to taxpayers for all the extra police time. Now women may think twice about reporting rape for fear of not being believed. ‘It’s outrageous they have basically let her off with a slap on the wrist. What kind of message does that send out?’
Julie Lindley, who runs a hairdressing salon, said: ‘Her rape claim had the community up in arms. ‘She had our support and sympathy and we all pressed the police to catch the attackers. I am appalled that somebody would make up such an offence.’
South Yorkshire Police said they agreed on the fixed penalty fine after discussing the case with the Crown Prosecution Service. They refused to name the woman, but Bradley was identified by members of the community.
At her home yesterday, the jobless mother, who recently separated from her partner of 17 years, was still claiming to be a victim. Despite not contesting the fine for wasting police time she said two men had sex with her that night but she had not consented.
Bradley said: ‘I admit I had a lot to drink that night. They didn’t injure me but this has really affected me and my kids’ lives. They can’t even go to school because of all the rumours.’
FL: County Magistrate Rules Jewish Couple Can’t Use Condo for Prayer
It's a sad day when prayer is banned
A Palm Beach County, FL couple was at the center of a religious freedom debate on Wednesday when a local magistrate decided that their prayer practices were not up to code. Literally.
Isaac Feder and his wife Judith, Hasidic Jews, have drawn the ire of their neighbors and the county for turning an extra condo they own in the Century Village condominium complex into a makeshift synagogue. According to those in the community, the Feders’ constant praying, and the coming and going, is disruptive. They complained to the county, which in turn found that Feders were violating zoning laws.
An attorney for the county argued that it is illegal to use the second condo in the village as a only house of prayer instead of just, well, a house. Local station WPBF summarized the county’s argument: “You can pray in your home, but you can’t buy a home just to pray in.”
For weeks a battle raged between the neighbors, the Feders, and those who supported the couple. The Feders — which only live in the area during the winter — says they sometimes sleep at the extra condo, as well as entertaining guests in it. In the end, the neighbors, and the county, didn’t buy it:
But what‘s interesting is that the rift between the neighbors isn’t really between Jews and Christians, Jews and atheists, or even Jews and Muslims. Rather, as Palm Beach Post writer Frank Cerabino says, almost the entire village is Jewish — so the debate is between Orthodox Jews and non-Orthodox Jews.
According to Cerabino, the more modern residents are upset about a transformation they see happening withing the village:
"Jewish residents at Century Village talk freely about their condo community being overrun by the more zealous members of their own religion, whom they view as clannish and disrespectful of social norms – most notably, turning community pools into ritual cleansing baths.
“If they can get three or four people on the board, they can get control of a building,” said resident Elaine Brown. “And then they can change the rules. This is the greatest threat to the Village we’ve ever seen.”
Aron Sandel, a seasonal resident and an Orthodox Jew who lives in the complex, denies the group is disruptive, and feels many of those critical of the Orthodox members are overreacting. “We don’t have weapons. No guns. Everything is quiet,” he told the Post. “In order to pray, we need a minyan, and that’s 10 men. Sometimes we have a hard time making the minyan.”
“It’s really not about zoning,” Sam Koenig, a 64-year-old Orthodox Jew within the complex, told the Post. “This crowd doesn’t want this because it reminds them of an Eastern European shtetl, and makes them feel as if they’re going back in time.”
“If they win, I’m going to turn my apartment into a mosque,” Maynard Merel, a modern Jewish resident vowed.
They didn’t. For now, there won‘t be anymore prayer gatherings at the Feder’s extra apartment. And no mosque at the Merels’ place either.
Calif. Councilwoman Receives Threats for ‘Anti-Muslim’ Comments
A California councilwoman has received threats over comments she made during a recent protest outside a fundraising event hosted by the Islamic Circle of North American (ICNA) Relief USA.
As we reported earlier this month, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) condemned the Orange County tea party protest event as a gathering of “anti-Muslim bigots” and released a heavily edited video of protesters and speakers decrying ICNA and its event which hosted two controversial guests with ties to radical Islam.
During the daytime protest, local councilwoman Deborah Pauly remarked how her son and his military friends would be very happy to help these terrorists to an early meeting in Paradise.”
Pauly’s comments reportedly angered 27-year-old Paul Dean Andrews who pleaded not guilty Wednesday to one felony count of threatening a public official.
Pauly has since walked back those comments, claiming to be referring to terrorists in the Middle East and not anyone attending ICNA’s fundraising event. But Andrews allegedly sent her a Facebook message threatening violence against her with weapons, Deputy District Attorney Rebecca Olivieri said.
“We can’t be specific on the threat, but it was a specific threat to harm her,” said Jim Amormino of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.
Orange County sheriff’s deputies tracked the message back to Andrews and confronted him at his home Monday where he was arrested without incident.
On Tuesday evening, about 200 protesters gathered outside Villa Park City Hall to demand an apology from Pauly for her past comments, chanting, “Pauly, Pauly, Pauly has got to go.”.
In addition, the Villa Park Peace Coalition sent a letter to Pauly demanding a public apology. “Your speech incited hate and undermined the very essence of American values in which we pride ourselves,” the members of the coalition said in the letter. “In Villa Park, we have always supported religious pluralism as we have always enjoyed a peaceful co-existence amongst our constituents.”
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
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