Via Witterings from Witney comes this rather depressing tale of a dinner party. No, it isn’t the dinner party which is the problem, it is the massive over-reaction from the emergency services to something that wasn’t an emergency.
Assuming that Matthew Norman isn’t exaggerating matters we have a dozen members across three services pitching up at a non-event having presumably rushed there with their blues-and-two’s on and sirens blaring and a large number of opportunities to resolve the matter without a huge waste of time and effort going begging.
Let’s start from the beginning…
We have a fire in a flat and an alert neighbour or passer-by knocks on the door to notify the residents who proceed to quickly put it out before anything more than minor damage is done. Considering the matter resolved and after checking on the baby asleep in a different room they and their guests sit back down to continue eating.
However someone, perhaps the person who knocked on the door, has informed the porter who has dialled 999 without checking to see if it was really a necessary thing to do. Why? Probably because such a course of action has been drilled into them at the expense destroying any common sense.
Having been summoned, the fire brigade arrive and the hosts, rather than telling them ‘Thanks but the matter has dealt with’ and shutting the door, let them in and thereby surrendered control of the situation to the ‘professionals’.
Said professionals, deciding to make the most of the opportunity presented to them, did what all power hungry fools do and ensured that the resources poured into the situation didn’t go to waste. Instead of taking a quick look, agreeing with the owner’s assessment of the situation and departing, they evacuated the property, had the accompanying ambulance staff check out everyone including the baby and then lecture the mother on fire safety.
Mother, annoyed, responds – supposedly mildly – causing the fire brigade call for back-up from the police and as a result mother and baby are escorted by police to the hospital where upon staff there confirmed what has already been said and mother and baby are allowed to leave the next morning after being kept in over night for observation.
All told I make that five missed opportunities to stop the situation from escalating: firstly by the porter, secondly by the mother followed twice by the fire brigade and then finally by the police with the end of result being an utter waste of time and money and a tale that 9 people will no doubt dine out on for some time.
The only silver lining I can see is that plod didn’t feel the need to get social services involved but if I were the mother I’d be careful as no doubt something has found its way on to a database of theirs somewhere…
The moral of this story? Two actually. Firstly that people in uniform are no long the friend of the law abiding having been turned into target chasing drones with little or no initiative. Sure, not all of them are but as you can’t tell what sort you are dealing with at first glance always assume the worst. Secondly their authority does not extend past your front door unless you indicate otherwise or a court has agreed that they can legally force their way in – so don’t let them in if there is no need to.