Sat | Nov 28, 2020

Letter of the Day | When cops play hardball

Published:Sunday | July 30, 2017 | 12:00 AM


On Friday, July 28, I witnessed an odd stand-off at the intersection of Duke and Beeston streets in the shadows of Gordon House, the nation's Parliament. Police on duty had blocked off three intersections - Duke and Sutton streets, Duke and Beeston streets, and Duke and Charles streets. Only persons having business at Gordon House were being allowed to travel straight through.

Apparently, the police at the first blocked intersection had allowed the driver of a clearly marked, big red fire truck to pass the barriers, but when he reached the middle intersection, nearest to Gordon House, the cops would not remove theirs to allow him passage. The driver of the truck tooted the loud horn, to no avail.

I was not within earshot, but from observation and comments from onlookers, it seemed the cops were insisting that the driver should reverse and take another route. The truck driver was obviously agitated and tooted again on what is, at the best of times, a very loud horn.

Given that it was a clearly marked fire truck, even though the siren was not on, it would seem to me rather high-handed to have barred the driver easier passage. The road was not crowded with either vehicles or people and, therefore, I cannot imagine what danger the truck driver would have posed.




On the other hand, since the stand-off lasted for at least 10 minutes up to the point when I left the scene, it could be argued that there was no emergency necessitating driving the truck pass Gordon House. It may have been a case of the fire truck driver attempting to abuse his emergency vehicle rights, but I am sure many other drivers have been sent into ditches and potholes as policemen abuse their right by virtue of driving vehicles with sirens.

Is there a policy that NO VEHICLES, except those driven by people who have business with Parliament, should be allowed to drive by when there is a sitting? If so, a little more discretion by the police should be employed.

The Wailing Siren