Friday, December 07, 2007

Go Quick - Come Back Slowly

I've been away working in Amsterdam this week, hearing more horror stories from the credit card industry about the level of theft and what they are trying to do to combat the problem.

Last night, I took the 21:42 Easyjet flight into Gatwick, hoping to be home by midnight but the violently wet and windy M25 had other ideas, with me rolling up on my motorcycle just behind three fire engines as they arrived at the scene of a bad accident involving a Porsche 911 and a Renault Meganne.

The Porsche driver, as you might expect in his reinforced crash cage was shaken but otherwise fine. The Renault Meganne was an entirely different matter and with the motoway traffic halted, it took an hour for the fireman to cut the badly injured woman driver from the twisted wreckage against the crash barrier and into the care of the paramedics and the waiting ambulance. It certainly wouldn't be my choice of car in future!

Another hour passed while we waited for the trucks to remove the wrecks and the road cleaners to appear. what struck me was that the police didn't appear in any great hurry to get the traffic moving again and I had absolutely no sense of any one person being in overall command of the scene. That is, I suppose what makes us very different from other countries, where having the traffic moving again is an urgent priority. Wasn't the M25 closed for an entire day last summer?

It was 02:30 before I arrived back in Thanet, too wet and tired to care anymore!


Ken Gregory said...


Yes our police are slow to clear a road after a nasty accident, but this says more about our society than them.

A serious accident, ie one where a life may be at risk, has to be treated as a crime scene. If the police did not gather all the evidence available any relatives of the victim may well sue them for not 'doing their job' Also the alledged cause of the 'accident' may well escape prosecution for lack of evidence.

I was held up for 4 hours on a train back to Thanet because someone had chosen to end their troubled life under my train. I have to say that my 'lost four hours' were insignificant compared to that person's lost life.

DrMoores said...

I think my first comment wenst astray!

I said that I agree, gathering evidence is important. Milling around without any one person police, fire roads etc being in apparent overall command, with no sense of any true recording of anything going on isn't going to get te traffic moving again.

Anonymous said...

Oh dear poor you you got home late and wet what about the poor person in the mangled wreck and his or her family you might of been delayed but spare a thought for the families involved you never know they might read your blogsite or even voted for you

Michael Child said...

This type of disorganised approach by many organisations paid for by the taxpayer now perhaps stems from low morale caused by the awful mix of crazy health and safety regulations interminable pointless meetings barmy targets and the compensation culture. I suspect that no one particularly wants to be in charge where saving someone’s life in the wrong way is likely to is likely to lead to the loss of ones job or even legal proceedings. Recently I have noticed that some government officers have developed a method of responding to difficult questions by talking total nonsense with stock phrases, I interpret this as a code saying, “what you say is common sense and my job is to disagree with it which of course is impossible.” Once a sergeant would have been in charge now everyone creeps through a maze of regulations produced by people who have never dealt with a real road accident.

DrMoores said...

What a pitifully sanctimonius comment 10:54. This is an observation on the visible deficiencies of motorway policing after the casualty had been removed and the experience of the thousands of people caught-up in a system which did not appear to be working in any particular hurry towards a resolution!

Anonymous said...

I recall one of my first accidents dealt with as the probationer used by Home Office in an unique policing experiment. To give a probationer unsupervised, unguided duties to see how he coped !!

Grain transporter lorry head onned with a chemical waste tanker lorry. Grain lorry had careered into a post and brought down a power line over the tanker and beyond into a timber yard. Tanker driver trapped.

"Bravo control bravo control ... one phone the .... chemical waste co and inform what load on tanker .... 2 consents for recovery from ... grain and from ... chemical. On this beat the only company with the equipment is ...... No further police assistance required Fire and ambulance in attendance and traffic being directed by a helpful RAC man."

Sergeant in charge ? They must be employing numpties nowadays then.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry 10.54 but you miss the point completely. in the summer grid-lock ocurred through London as a result of a fatality on the M25 short of Dartford Crossing. Whilst I have sympathy for the victim, does it really need 20,000 other people to be delayed for hours because of it. thousands sitting sweltering in their cars is not a sign of 'sympathy' ; its just an attitude that keeping our roads clear and running smoothly is no longer a priority because the ret of us accept this farce. In the US, the priority after dealing with casualties or removing the deceased is to get everybody else moving and quickly. This is just another sympton of a Britain that ceases to function sanely!

Jeremy Jacobs said...


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