Swasie Turner MBE is a former police officer who was seriously injured in the line of duty. A long-time wheelchair user, he has raised money for various charities by climbing and racing in his wheelchair, as well as event speaking. Here, the outspoken Swasie discusses the need to use one’s initiative... and what happens when toeing the line goes one step too far...
For my ‘maiden’ column for the Custodial Review magazine I would like to highlight the ongoing and unbelievable incidents that prevail via those egotists who continue to abuse their power out and about on our streets. Not only do our national newspapers furnish me with daily examples of absolute lunacy by some who are completely devoid of initiative, sympathy or even simple understanding, but I too continually witness such examples as I push my trusty 47lb front-castored NHS wheelchair (a ‘legacy’ of my front line police service) out and about each day. I can’t believe the behaviour of some of those who are given a uniform and told to ‘administer justice’ as they patrol the streets as various wardens, ie – traffic, dog, litter etc.
As I am a dedicated and loyal former member of the ‘cloth’ (police service) of well over a quarter of a century, until I was crippled on duty due to an act of gratuitous violence, I am all for ensuring all and sundry abide by the law. But one must ALWAYS use his or her initiative when dealing with ‘offenders’ who have possibly inadvertently ‘sinned’ in one way or another. Initiative and discretion is in many cases totally absent by those whose ridiculous (and even callous) conduct will only ensure that respect evaporates from law abiding citizens who will be instantly be alienated from those who are arrogant as they carry out their duties enforcing the law. Reader may consider my cynical cartoon to be an exaggeration, even a figment of my imagination? However, I can assure you that such cases as my illustration depicts are occurring with a ridiculous regularity.
Not long ago, a North Wales traffic warden slapped a ticket on an AMBULANCE which had been called to an emergency and as the paramedics treated a very sick passenger on a bus, the idiotic warden issued the fine because the 999 crew had parked behind the bus... in the bus stop layby! Following such an unbelievable scenario, yet another traffic warden who obviously glowed with initiative and sympathetic respect, slapped a £70 ticket on an NHS Blood donor minibus (clearly marked as such) as the Angels were collecting blood at a donor session. Such examples are just a few but the mind truly boggles.
Another moronic warden tried to issue a fixed penalty fine to a blind man whose dog had defecated in the gutter (unknown to the man) as they were about to cross the road. I also know of a hearse being booked as it waited for the return of a deceased after a church service... because it was parked on yellow lines. Just where DO we go from here?