As London becomes increasingly green the capital’s bobbies have been obliged to set an example, so it was no surprise to see that Cheam Safer Neighbourhoods Team is making an effort to save the planet by driving around in a Ford Focus. It is not apparent what it is about the car, given to the police for three years by a local building company whose motives for the gift remain unclear, that makes it ‘eco friendly’, but as well as being kind to our fragile Earth, it will also “help local officers to respond to calls more quickly and to attend local schools and groups more easily.” Whether they mean more easily than an eco unfriendly car, or more easily than no car at all is also unclear.
This is not the first attempt at getting London’s finest around the capital using green transport – in 2009 it was predicted that by 2013 half of London’s police cars would be electric. The plans were scrapped after a series of incidents in which cheeky ruffians picked up the vehicles whilst unattended and walked off with them in their pockets.
The Cheam Safer Neighbourhood officers try to remember where they parked their Ford Focus earlier today
We have in recent years seen an increasing number of police officers and their enthusiastic traffic warden friends mounted on bicycles, but there are not as many enjoying pedal powered transport as there could be due to the 10 hour mandatory training session and 93-page bike riding guide that officers have to endure before they are allowed near the highly dangerous two-wheeled equipment.
You can’t blame them for being overcautious when it comes to taking to the road on a bicycle, what with all of the irresponsible drivers putting cyclists at risk. But sometimes the pedalling pests just get in the way, don’t they? Especially when you are trying to drive a van at 68 mph in a 30 mph zone, which is what happened to PC Lynch, an East London copper who unavoidably put a cyclist in hospital for two weeks due to accidentally driving over a blind bridge at speed and colliding with him. Quite rightly Lynch has admitted to careless driving but denies dangerous driving, as his actions clearly posed no danger to anyone around him.
And it seems our motorcycle mounted boys in blue are not safe from people getting in their way either. Quite how the motorcyclist had built up enough speed during a police escort on the busy roads of East London to render it impossible to notice a 70 year-old lady in front of him in time to avoid colliding with her remains somewhat of a mystery, but I am sure that the subsequent investigation will clear up the matter to the satisfaction of all concerned.
Even during their leisure hours the police are not immune from pieces of street furniture colliding with them as they attempt to make progress along the public highway. It’s hardly surprising that they occasionally need a bit of a drink to calm their nerves.
So next time you see a police officer operating a vehicle on the capital’s busy streets, give them a little wave to thank them for doing their bit to keep the roads safe and sound, but make sure you do so from a sensible distance; you wouldn’t want to get in their way, would you?