I found myself on the tail-end of small incident, riding back through Birchington on my way home this evening.
Another motorcyclist had stopped at the bus stop in the square and was surrounded by a group of local youths. Showing solidarity, as motorcyclists often do, I stopped alongside, with the rider of a third bike and it transpired, that the first motorcyclist was in fact an off-duty police officer.
Apparently, what had happened and I'll use allegedly at this point, is that the group of teenagers had been causing mayhem on the bus. The lady bus driver had told them to get-off and the oldest lad had abused and spat at her. Happily, the policeman had just happened to be passing and saw what occurred, with me following-up behind.
Unfortunately for the boys involved, they were "known" and the officer took their details and some witness statements from the bus passengers. But what was really saddening was how upset the driver, a pleasant middle-aged lady, was. This was Birchington of all places, not Brixton and one doesn't expect this kind of behaviour from local kids. No, I'm being naive, one does expect this kind of behaviour and much worse these days and the kids, well they didn't give a damn because they know they're untouchable but I will say that with three motocyclists drawing-up next to them, all of a sudden, they weren't so cocky.
But what if it had happened a few seconds later and the police officer had already passed. I wonder what I could have done? And there's the dilemma. You can try to intervene but in reality can do absolutely nothing. All that remains is a feeling of personal impotence and anger at this one expression of a juvenile society growing-up without boundaries.
And how will the bus driver feel tonight when she's finished her shift I wonder? Nobody should be expected to put-up with behaviour like this in their job or as passengers on a local bus.