! This post hasn't been updated in over a year. A lot can change in a year including my opinion and the amount of naughty words I use. There's a good chance that there's something in what's written below that someone will find objectionable. That's fine, if I tried to please everybody all of the time then I'd be a Lib Dem (remember them?) and I'm certainly not one of those. The point is, I'm not the kind of person to try and alter history in case I said something in the past that someone can use against me in the future but just remember that the person I was then isn't the person I am now nor the person I'll be in a year's time.

Last night I went to a PACT meeting in my local area.  These things aren’t particularly well advertised so most of you won’t have heard of them – it’s basically a meeting for local residents, a representative from the council, a CSO, a representative from the housing trust and a councillor.  This is a national initiative so the chances are there is one operating in your area.

Only the CSO and the Neghbourhood Co-ordinator from the council turned up to the one I went to last night, the housing trust woman was awol and the councillor sent his apologies (probably for the best, guess who it was 😉 ).

It was quite an eye-opener for me for two reasons – firstly, I think the pretendy-copper label given to CSO’s is a bit unfair because it was quite apparent from the meeting last night that they actually work quite hard; and secondly, stuff that I’ve whinged about loads of times will be addressed by the PACT meeting next month.

It also transpires that a suggestion I made yonks ago about different departments being able to find the location of street lamps from the serial numbers is being implemented as I type.  The housing estate I live on is like a rabbit warren as you get closer to the centre (luckily I live on the outside) and often it’s impossible to tell which road you’re next to if you see fly tipping or broken fences, etc. but every street light – in theory – has a unique serial number.  If you don’t know where you are then you should be able to tell any council worker (or the emergency services, for that matter) the serial number of a street lamp and they should be able to tell where you are.

On a vagulely related (or at least topical) note, walking the dog last night I found a dog waste bin that had been set on fire outside the local primary school.  It was only smouldering, there were no flames, so I phoned the police thinking they would send someone with a fire extinguisher rather than dragging a fire engine out to a dustbin that wasn’t actually on fire but no, I was told to ring 999.  They sent a land rover which is better than an engine but even so, that land rover could have been needed elsewhere, why do people do these things?

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  1. axel (1214 comments) says:

    maybe the landrover was availble at that time?

    maybe they understood your description and sent it?

  2. axel (1214 comments) says:

    a few years back, we had big local problems with kids stealing our bins and setting them on unfire until…..

    one exploded and burnt the little bastards hand


  3. William Gruff (138 comments) says:

    They do them because what one person considers an over-reaction to a very minor incident another will complain was a ‘completely inadequate’ response to a near disaster, and, of course, ‘ratepayers’ tend to complain when people with dedicated municipal vehicles are paid to sit about with fire extinguishers on the off-chance that some idiot may annoy a ‘ratepayer’.


  4. wonkotsane (1133 comments) says:

    Not sure what you’re saying Gruff. Are you saying that it’s an over-reaction to be annoyed that someone set fire to a bin and tied up two firemen who might have been needed to save someone’s life?

  5. axel (1214 comments) says:

    Do Shropshire fire brigade communicate with tin cans and lengths of string?

    If they were needed somewhere else, they would have been sent there, up here in scotland, we have these things called radios, it is like a magic way of talking to someone who is so far away you cannot see them, do you have them down there?

    Maybe this is another example of scotland getting all the money to the detriment of the english?

  6. wonkotsane (1133 comments) says:

    Hmmmm, I think you’re missing the point Axel. The point is, they could be needed elsewhere and be too late in getting there because they’re putting out a fire in a dustbin because someone thought it would be funny to drop a match (or whatever) in it.

  7. axel (1214 comments) says:

    no, the fire needed to be put out,if a more serious fire came up, they would be summoned by radio or more likely, the other engines that were not doing anything, would go and if it was needed your one would go later

    as it turned out it was a miinor fire but it could have bbeen serious

  8. Stan (222 comments) says:

    A few sparks and a gust of wind could have led to a far worse fire in any nearby building so you did the right thing.

    And hey, at least someone turned up to your 999 call

    Last Sunday My ex was threatened with violence by her neighbours (wielding a very sharp offensive weapon) and told she would be smashed in if they caught her in the street. The police were called but didn’t show. In fact I’ve spent most of the week around her place looking after her because the police have yet to turn up despite being called at least a couple of dozen times. They have rather graciously agreed to interview her about the incident early on Thursday morning, a mere 11 days after the offence took place. Without going into details, (it’s far more complicated than I’ve written) I spoke to my local councillor and he suggested that I wrote a letter of complaint to the borough commander. This I did and yesterday evening I went to the station to hand it in. I swear this is what happened.
    I put the note on the desk and asked the guy on duty if it was ok to hand it to him.
    He read the front and said “You can’t hand that in here”
    “Why” I asked
    “Well”, he said, “In the current climate that could be a terrorist threat”
    “Err, could it?” I asked looking at my son with new found suspicion, “I could open it up if you like so you can take a look inside”.
    “It’s not just that” he said, “There are procedures……. why do you want to hand it in”.
    “It was suggested by my local councillor to make sure it arrived ok”
    He frowned and picked the letter up, “you’d be better off putting a stamp on it and popping it in a post box”
    “Won’t it just come back here?”
    “Yes”. He said putting the letter down again
    “So what you are telling me is that I should take it from here, stick a stamp on, put it in a post box, wait until it gets collected and sorted and then you’ll open it when it arrives back here”
    To this exact same building?
    “Yes… well if you left it here it would be passed back and forth, and lots of people would read it before it got handed to him”

    Outwitted by this blinding show of logic I took the letter and posted it.

    Do the Police use the post office as an unofficial bomb sorting service?
    If it does then it was very brave of the officer to handle the letter before I took it away to post.
    Does this also mean that I should not hand in items of lost property?
    Last year I handed in a wallet and that wasn’t deemed to contain explosives nor any sort of chemical weapon.

    Aren’t they just wonderful?

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