Wednesday, December 13, 2006

We regret any inconvenience caused

The Chief Constable of Gloucestershire is clearly a fan of the Quandary Phase of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy in which Arthur Dent treks miles to see God's final message to his creation, which turns out to be - you guessed it - "We regret any inconvenience caused." Marvin the paranoid android wasn't impressed. Nor was I when the Glos Top Cop responded thus to the House of Lords decision that holding 120 anti-Iraq war protestors on coaches near RAF Fairford breached their right to protest peacefully (Please note unsplit infinitive).

You may remember that the police turned the coaches around and sent them back to London. The protestors were not allowed to disembark even to relieve themselves.

The Chief Constable gave a non-apology apology, saying that his officers acted in good faith, on intelligence received - perhaps they expected the protestors to become violent in 45 minutes !
He also pointed out that other courts (i.e. High Court, Court of Appeal) had reached the opposite conclusion to the Lords. I suppose next time a Gloucestershire bobby is in trouble with the Chief Constable, he can argue that he acted in good faith and his sergeant and his inspector agreed with him.

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