Wednesday 2 March 2011

Early April Fool?

One could be forgiven for thinking the press are a month early on this story.

Police roadblocks are being set up to catch drivers who are breaking the law – by smoking at the wheel of their company vehicle.

Council wardens and Essex Police will carry out random inspections across the county to look for evidence of illicit cigarette use.

They will even hunt for cigarette butts in the ashtrays and smell the air inside the vehicles in order to clamp down on the outlawed practice.
But no, it would seem that this really is happening.

My, aren't the people of Essex lucky to have a police force who have beaten crime so comprehensively that they have to scratch around trying to find someone, anyone, to prosecute, eh?

Err ...

So not so much an early April Fool yarn after all, more the taxpayers of Essex being taken for mugs.

Are these the 'frontline services' the police say are at threat? They are? Well, what's with all the scaremongery then?

Keep cutting those budgets and axing those jobs, Osborne. With every passing day comes more incontrovertible proof that there's still plenty of flab in the system.


The Wasp said...

I assume the police are involved as the Council Wardens don't (yet) have the necessary authority to stop vehicles. Just like the police (around these parts at least) get dragged into the ever increasing number of "traffic census" roadblocks.

I can see the councils lobbying for traffic stop powers for their wardens as soon as the Police tell them they haven't got enough money to play chaperone.

I wouldn't be surprised if they got the requested powers either in a local, Big Society, anti-social behaviour preventing sort of way.

w/v proles - very apt :)

Smoking Hot said...

If it's a company vehicle, the company can put what ever policies it deems fit. lf it's your vehicle that is being used for your own work ... they can get stuffed.

Think folks! Fight like with like ... don't admit to smoking in the vehicle. Yes, it smells of smoke but it's me because l stopped a mile of so back for one. Yes, the ashtray has cigarette butts because l took it out to use because l don't litter. Oh and get out and smoke whilst you're telling them this ... don't forget the ashtray! :)

The Travelling Toper said...

In local elections councillors tend to be elected by a small number of votes. If just one libertarian blogger in each local area could organise the smokers and drinkers to vote against the standing councillor at the next election and then let the said councillor know, I think we will see a sharp decrease in such incidents as this. ( In my area I'm going try organising the smokers and drinkers by way of a leaflet drop. It dosn't cost a fortune. )

Mark Wadsworth said...

Ta for link. Are these people not embarrassed? What may seem like a good idea after a well-oiled taxpayer funded team-bonding shindig ought to be examined in the cold light of day before they actually do it.

WV: equative

Dick Puddlecote said...

Wasp: I wish I could say you're being pessimistic, but I fancy that's exactly what would happen.

SH: You think like me. Unfortunately, most people are so abject in the face of authority that they just metaphorically bend over and take it. I suppose it's a survival of the fittest scenario. I fight against all of them, and you'd be surprised how many times they back down or you at least gain some concession. As you say, honesty is no longer a virtue where these people are concerned, they trade on that to screw you.

Travelling Toper: Excellent idea. Standing as a candidate for local elections costs nothing and printing costs would be tiny. One doesn't even need to knock on doors to be a 'paper candidate'. It's an interesting approach, so I salute you.

MW: I don't think they ever think of the fallout from their idiocy. I might write about a classic of its genre from San Francisco, tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

Do I understand this right? Are truck drivers not allowed to smoke in their vehicles in UK? (I've been an expat for 8 years or so, so I'm a bit out of touch, even though I read the online DT with my morning coffee).

Christ, how can they make that stick? I used to drive semis (artics) interstate in Oz in the 70s, and I can't imagine not being able to smoke while I drove. I used to get through 100 Camel plain a day. (Well I was awake 20 - 22 hours a day during the week...)

Is it really the case? They can't smoke in the cab?


Anonymous said...

It's amazing the number of burglaries, acts of physical violence, robberies and thefts going on while the authorities turn a back to all of that and concentrate instead on "catching smokers". I suppose as long as they keep people whipped up over "the smokers" then they're hoping nobody will notice what a lousy job the police or the incompetent politicians are doing about the real crimes and problems. In fact, the whole country's lack of real problem solving is being disguised by all this fake-solving of concocted-problems such as "the smokers", just to name the most common. Makes for a fine distraction, muddies the waters just enough so nobody will notice the more obvious lack of common sense amongst the political class which has let the nation down and handed away its sovereignty.

Gordon the Fence Post Tortoise said...

Ah, the relentless march of the "Community Safety Partnerships".

I've been following this for a while, the big idea (from tiny minds - it's clear) is the confluence of local councils and the police service.

The councils become more dictatorial and the police get more bureaucratic - familiar, eh?

There has been talk amongst the great and good and council managers (I won't ever call them executives) down here (Wiltshire) about the council taking on more and more traditional police roles, shared funding blah, blah.

There are some folk in local government who see themselves more as "government", herding the little folk around - with a stick if necessary - rather than as civil / public servants and they *do* love uniforms... The local council here spent £35K on librarian uniforms FFS (sadly lacking the SS on the lapels).

If you've seen the post nuclear attack scare docudrama the state broadcaster made 30 odd years ago and remember the traffic warden with the assault rifle?

I hope not, but I think I've seen a possible future... Terry Gilliam's Brazil is beginning to look like a masterwork of understated prescience.

Anonymous said...

Police roadblocks.
We definatley are living under a junta.

Furor Teutonicus said...

You think this is bad?

Wait till you get elected police chiefs.

"Farmer Smiffy, bessy mate of the chief?, Aye of course we can send a patrol around twice a day to collect eggs and milk your cows while you are on holiday. They can do it on the way to cutting Mrs chiefs second bessy mates grass while she is visiting friends in Florida. After all, your donations were INVALUABLE to the chiefs re-election campaign last time, and we DO know the elections are only a short way off."

Anonymous said...

You used to get road blocks like this in Africa.
The cops there do it to raise funds.
It's like an extra form of taxation.
We are a third world country.

Gordon the Fence Post Tortoise said...


whadya mean "used to get roadblocks like this in Africa"?

Having an AK waved at you by an adrenalised scuzzball who's thinking he's hit the daily lottery jackpot nabbing whitey should be a mandatory qualification for being a Guardian reader.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps there is some council budget to be used up. Aren't roads tarmaced in March?

Bucko said...

I don't know what I'm going to do now.
I have my own van which I use to transport used cigarette butts in the cigarette butt storage compartment on the dashboard.

How am I going to deliver all these cigarette butts now? I cant put them in the back as thats filled to the brim with hardcore porn.

smokervoter said...

Given nicotine's well known propensity for boosting concentration, situational awareness and motor skills, we wouldn't want people driving around smoking now would we? Besides, by not smoking while driving, it frees the hands up to use the cellphone.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't stopping people 'on suspicion' declared illegal many years ago?

Anonymous said...

Junican: They don't do it that way. 'Caused to stop' is what they'll say and the Mags never ask why.