It is rumoured that they have indeed lost cooperation from the public, in
that some thousands of people have signed up on various web sites to say
that they will turn up on the day anyway, plus this is what the local youth
are saying on the street that they will do.
Quite why the police believe that policing an uncontrolled rave is going to
be easier than policing SF would have been is not something I so far
understand. I trust that they will explain their thinking to us in due
There's a meeting of the city council's Community Services Scrutiny
Committee this Thursday in the Guildhall at 1.30pm. It would seem fairly
unlikely that there will be no public questions on this issue. Further,
there's a meeting of the West/Central Area Committee on 8 April: the police
usually attend every other area committee, where the public may ask them
questions, but I'm afraid I don't know the West/Central cycle and the agenda
for 8 April hasn't been published yet.
> there's a meeting of the West/Central Area Committee on 8 April:
> the police usually attend every other area committee, where the
> public may ask them questions, but I'm afraid I don't know the
> West/Central cycle and the agenda for 8 April hasn't been published
I think this is one the police are due at. The last policing and safer
neighbourhood report was at the December (last but one) meeting.
The City Council web site gives the venue of the April meeting as Castle
End Mission, Pound Hill, Cambridge, CB3 0AE.
AIUI, there are not blocking it, are they, just appeal against the decision
to hold it on the grounds that (expressed differently) they can't do their
> Should the chief constable be sacked immediately with a poor
> reference, rather that allowing her to serve out her notice?
No. She thinks she is right. IMO, she is wrong. The appeal will decide.
> I think their appeal is a disgraceful abuse of their powers, and that
> the police authority should bring them to task over it.
So do I.
> Strawberry Fair is a legal event, and their persecution of it brings
> them into disrepute - if they can't police Cambridge properly,
> including traditionally held events taking place there, they are
> admitting incompetence.
> Certainly they have lost all moral right to police this area.
Oh, I wouldn't go THAT far, not that their right to police the area is based
It helps to keep a sense of perspective in such matters.
"Fight like the Devil, die like a gentleman."
> "Phil W Lee" <phil(at)lee-family(dot)me(dot)uk> wrote in message
>> What do people think?
>> Is it right that the Po Lice can block a successful and popular event
>> in the way that they have, or do they lose any right to cooperation
>> from the public when they act against the public interest in this way?
> AIUI, there are not blocking it, are they, just appeal against the decision
> to hold it on the grounds that (expressed differently) they can't do their
> job there.
The problem, as explained by the SF organisers, is that the appeal will
only be decided so close to SF that SF can't reasonably enter
contractual agreements with stall holders etc as it has no certainty
that the fair will be allowed.
In other words they're accusing the police of filibustering. I'm not
sure they're that sneaky, but that does seem to be the result.
Paul Oldham ----------> http://the-hug.org/paul
Milton villager ------> http://www.milton.org.uk/
and FAQ wiki owner ---> http://cam.misc.org.uk
"If being an eagle is such a good idea, why are there so few of them?"
one thing I am not clear on si how the timelines work here - would an
appeal always be near the event or has someone on one side or the other
left something late/last minute so that an appeal is near the event?
(I am assuming the appeal is a part of process normally available to all
To fully ensure safety of citizens, there will be a curfew imposed at 8
Its the natural result of a system that tracks police performance on a
completely different set of guidelines to 'what the local population wants'
Police should be held accountable and directly employed by local
authorities, and they should be accountable only to the local electorate.
Get the frigging guvmint out of the loop, and all will be eventually,
what you want.
It would appear to me that the police simply can' t be bothered to do
their job. What would 15,000 people who would normally go to
Strawberry Fair, do on a warm saturday afternoon in June if they
aren't at Strawberry Fair. I would expect that roughly 1.63% would
consume/possess cannabis, and 0.05% would urinate in public. 0.49%
would probably do something else that is potentially arrestable.
So, we could assume that all these crimes will be committed on
Saturday June 5th 2010, but not on Midsummer Common.
It is probably a lot cheaper to nab all these folk at SF, since it is
just round the corner from the cop shop, than to actually go out and
look for these terrible people, who are now going to be scattered
across East Anglia.
Perhaps the police would like to explain how they are going to nab
all these people, now that SF is canceled.
We'd like some elected Sheriffs.
Read 'The Plan'.
That's very naive of you. The police have a much wider role than simply
"nabbing wrongdoers". Better might be to say they are there to keep you
safe in many different ways. It's the police's job, indeed they have a
duty, to scrutinise the plans for any major event to ensure that they can do
their job properly while the event is taking place. In the same way, the
fire service, the ambulance service, Addenbrookes and others all have the
same duty. In practice this is achived by the plans, or possibly just the
risk assesment, being submitted to the local Saftey Advisory Group.
I don't know what the police objections to this year's fair are but I do
know that when people attend an event their safety and well being are very
much in the hands of the organisers. They have the right to expect those
organisers to have taken the utmost care to ensure their safety. After all,
I'm sure that all those people posting indignant comments here about the
police objections would be the very first to lay into them if bad things
happened to some member of the public.
On Sun, 21 Mar 2010, Tim Ward wrote:
> It is rumoured that they have indeed lost cooperation from the public,
> in that some thousands of people have signed up on various web sites to
> say that they will turn up on the day anyway, plus this is what the
> local youth are saying on the street that they will do.
I certainly plan to exercise my right to use this public land on the day
of Strawberry Fair.
The police have no interest in nabbing people who commit crimes. That is
not what they are there for.
They are there to:-
- enforce political decisions made in parliament at ground level. That
means shooting Brazilians in the head.
- ensure that RECORDED CRIME goes down. That being such stuff as is
noted on their paperwork. The simplest way to do that is to refuse to
even attend a crime scene, or decline to take it up if they do.
- ensure that CONVICTION RATES are UP. That means only nabbing people
whose terrible heinous crimes, like doing 36mph on a 30mph limit, are
clearly evidenced. Naturally this means that its the moments lapse of
attention on a speed camera, not the deliberate and subversive stabbing
in the back with a Stanley knife, they want to see on the books at all!
- to maintain public order. At minimal expense. The easiest way to do
that, is to refuse to police public events. If the organiser then cant
or wont foot the bill, the permissory authority, like say a council, may
simply decline permission for the event at all.
On the grounds that Elfin Safety standards cant be met.
So you can see that the Police are entirely blameless here. They are
just meeting the governments targets in the optimal fashion. Allowing
the incumbents to wave bits of paper showing that 'crime rates are down,
conviction rates are up!' in the hope that no one has actually noticed
they are getting phished scammed, ripped off, abused and generally
pissed all over by the criminal underclass, whilst getting hit for
every minor regulatory offence they commit as normal law abiding citizens.
Alle is Verboten! and don't you, who voted for em, forget it.
You might be prevented on the grounds of commiting a public order
offence, especially if you go with two or more mates.
It provides regulated activities such as music and dancing therefore
requires a license under the Licensing Act 2003.
> The precedent for that would be Critical Mass in London.
That's not the same thing, the Critical Mass decision was to do with the
right of police to to impose conditions on processions, demonstrations
and other assemblies, not regulated activities.
Forgive me if I'm asking something profoundly stupid here, but who says
the Strawberry Fair _must_ be licensed for alcohol? Why not run it as a
"dry" event for once? That would solve the licensing problem at a
stroke (or at least allow a year's grace to sort it out in time for
2011), allow it to continue this year, and show a degree of tenacity.
SPAM BLOCK IN USE! To reply in email, replace 'deadspam'
I gather that it's the licence for the music and dancing that the police
object to more than the licence for alcohol.
It's worth pointing out that the council already possess the requisite
license. For the first time i the history of SF, Julie Smith (the
executive councillor, LibDem, Newnham) refused use of the council
license. Oddly enough, the Strawberry Fair organisers, when applying
for a *new* license for a 30,000 strong, somewhat messy, somewhat
controversial event, faced police opposition. It is arguable that this
is their job. The license committee approved the SF license (political
motives clear since it must have been obvious what the police would do
If the council possessed the political will, Strawberry Fair could
still take place. The council's license for Midsummer Common is
unchallenged. The notice period is more than adequate. I notice that
the head of the licensing committee (Jenny Liddle, LibDem, East
Chesterton) has publicly condemned the police, but signally failed the
offer the obvious alternative - i.e. the council taking the
responsibility that they've taken in every previous Strawberry Fair
year - run the Fair on her own license.
But perhaps only because it's not being used for SF - I have heard that it
would have been challenged if it had been used for SF, thus also risking the
cancellation of all the other events it's used for.
No doubt she would rather have a massive erection - a windmill perhaps?
stuck in its place.
There is an way to test your theory. For Cambridge City Council to
call the bluff of the police and use its own license. I wonder whether
the political will exists? No amount of public pressure will change
the police view. Perhaps, with an election looming, councillors can be
persuaded to change their minds? Over to you Tim!
Oh, I think it is clear in your comments above that you already have.
You, at least, have gone up in my estimation and I'd be profoundly
sorry if fear of litigation were to gag all comment from councillors
in matters of acute public interest (it's why I found David Howarth's
recent legal shenanigans so worrying).
So why not run it as a dry, quiet, peaceful event for once?
Go back to its roots and have local hippies running stalls
about green issues. Totally carbon neutral. No electrically
amplified music, no burger vans, no smoking dope
because that produces unnecessary greenhouse gases.
As it is now, with its conspicuous consumption, and its
trashing things and creating pollution in the expectation
that someone else will clear up afterwards, SF is about
as counter-cultural as an episode of Top Gear. It's just
an opportunity for spoilt middle-class youth to get wasted,
and for politicians to buy favour with new voters. It's the
local residents who want to put a stop to this nonsense
who are the real grass-roots activists and eco-warriors here.
> I gather that it's the licence for the music and dancing that the police
> object to more than the licence for alcohol.
And that is just because there is a chance that THAT objection might be
upheld and thereby block the event.
Why should it be? Well, no reason that I can think of.
I DO think the police have "public order" issues about a bunch of pothead
pixies misbehaving but, in my experiance, it is the booze drinkers who are
MUCH more likely to start a fight or "breach the peace" in another way.
How could it be challenged if it is already in place?
And why should any challenge over SF affect other events when there is no
link between the events?
Does a challenge to a license count as litigation to a point where
councillors cannot comment?
Thinks: apparently so.
I couldn't care less about being arrested over it.
A bit of *non-violent* civil disobedience may be what's needed if the police
insist on pursuing their silly agenda.
who is suing whom?
Any licence can now be challenged at any time if I correctly understand the
new licensing act.
> On 22 Mar, 22:41, "Tim Ward" <t...@brettward.co.uk> wrote:
> > Obviously I am going to comment on neither the substance of the issue
> > nor the council's tactics whilst the matter is under litigation.
> Oh, I think it is clear in your comments above that you already have.
> You, at least, have gone up in my estimation and I'd be profoundly
> sorry if fear of litigation were to gag all comment from councillors
> in matters of acute public interest (it's why I found David Howarth's
> recent legal shenanigans so worrying).
It's not councillors who are being threatened with personal liability.
Details are still emerging. Watch this space. The Leader and Chief
Executive of the City Council are meeting the police on Wednesday morning.
> "Brian Watson" <Br...@imagebus.co.uk> wrote in message
> > How could it be challenged if it is already in place?
> Any licence can now be challenged at any time if I correctly
> understand the new licensing act.
Strictly speaking, anyone, especially one of the "responsible authorities"
(which include the Police) can ensure a licence is reviewed at any time.
Although that review is undertaken by councillors on the Licensing
Committee, any party (again including the police) can appeal against the
councillors' decision to the magistrates who can hear the whole matter
from scratch, including evidence never put before the councillors.
See the case of the Wetherspoon's licence application near the Junction.
The magistrates refused the licence on police objections, after
councillors had agreed to grant one. The magistrates did this on the basis
of hearing evidence never presented to councillors. The Council had to pay
towards the costs of the hearing for its pains too.
Wonderful piece of legislation, the Licensing Act 2003, NOT. A good
example of legislating without due care and attention in many ways.
I am a licensing committee member.
So the council should have been more diligent and
proactive in seeking out this evidence in the first place,
if it was there. Legislation which encourages greater
diligence on the part of the council when considering
applications is surely a good thing.
That's not how the English legal system works, unlike in some other parts of
the world. Courts do not have any role of "seeking out the evidence": it's
up to the parties to present the evidence to the court.
Congratulations on the most stupid comment I've seen so far on cam.misc.
And that's going some.
Jennifer Liddle http://www.jsquared.co.uk/jennyl
PGP Key: http://www.jsquared.co.uk/jennyl/pgpkey.html
"The best weapon of a dictatorship is secrecy; the best weapon of a
democracy is openness." Edvard Teller
> So the council should have been more diligent and
> proactive in seeking out this evidence in the first place,
> if it was there.
NO! The *police* should have presented the evidence. Instead of wasting
the hearing's time by presenting 45 minutes worth of evidence about a
venue over a mile away from the Leisure Park that just happens also to be
Yes there was..
> no burger vans, no smoking dope
>because that produces unnecessary greenhouse gases.
Wenr'nt a problem at the first one I went to back in 1974 quite peaceful
IIRC cloud of dope smoke haze hung over the event;!..
You base this statement on what fact?
Chair, VIE Residents' Association
Observation and deduction.
An odd quirk of way the Lib Dems run the City Council is they appear
to rely on members of the public to raise timely matters at committee
Just in case no one else does I've submitted a question which will
hopefully prompt an informative statement:
"Why was the Strawberry Fair not allowed to use the council's licence
for this year's event? Was this as a result of pressure from the
police and if so what form did that pressure take? What political
direction was given by councillors to the city council officers who
decided not to allow Strawberry Fair to use the council's licence for
this year's event?
How is the council responding to the possibility of a disorganised
gathering on Midsummer Common on the date of the fair? For example
will it still be providing additional toilets? It has been reported
that a meeting between the council and police was scheduled for
Wednesday; what came out of that?
Will the council be vigorously defending the licensing committee's
decision at the appeal in front of the Magistrates?"
While the Liberal Democrat rules forbid me or the press from recording
or videoing the response (without express permission) I will do my
best to report on what happens via my website : http://www.rtaylor.co.uk/
Executive councillor Julie Smith made some comments on the situation
to a meeting of the Friends of Midsummer Common last week. I have
written an article on that at:
There is also an article on my site about the police video:
You're confusing the application to the original
councillors, with the hearing in front of magistrates.
A licensing application is not a court case and
the government is within its rights to put a greater
responsibility on licensing authorities for finding
evidence (if it exists, which it obviously did, since
you say it was presented to the magistrates) why
an application should be refused.
In this case the English legal system has worked
in such a way that the council's decision was
overturned and the council had to pay towards the
costs of the hearing. That's a matter of record.
It's up to you to learn from it and avoid more public
money being wasted this way.
Moving OT, asking just from itnetrest, but is this one of those areas
where if the council rases it they have to give sufficient notice of
the topic being covered but the public can raise with zero notice (I
remember a related argument some years ago in a parish council about
whether "any other business" was allowed as an agenda item)
Looks more like seven questions to me...
I was under the impression that it's the law that AOB items on the agenda
are not permitted, otherwise councils could sneak in decisions that weren't
on the agenda without the necessary advance publicity. The only way to get
an AOB raised is in the guise of a public question.
It could be seen to be a consequence of the greater openness brought in
when we Lib Dems gained control of the council 10 years ago. The rules on
council business have if anything gone in the other direction, 5 days
notice now being required for any business unless a special urgency
procedure is invoked.
On Mon, 22 Mar 2010, Al Grant wrote:
> On 22 Mar, 21:43, "Tim Ward" <t...@brettward.co.uk> wrote:
> > I gather that it's the licence for the music and dancing that the police
> > object to more than the licence for alcohol.
> So why not run it as a dry, quiet, peaceful event for once?
The vast majority of it IS a peaceful event. It's inevitable that a event
with tens of thousands of people will have some trouble-maker element -
same as football matches or other large events. But we don't ban those.
> Go back to its roots and have local hippies running stalls
> about green issues. Totally carbon neutral. No electrically
> amplified music, no burger vans, no smoking dope
> because that produces unnecessary greenhouse gases.
> As it is now, with its conspicuous consumption, and its
> trashing things and creating pollution in the expectation
> that someone else will clear up afterwards, SF is about
> as counter-cultural as an episode of Top Gear.
Free Festivals certainly are counter-cultural if you ask me.
> It's just an opportunity for spoilt middle-class youth to get wasted,
> and for politicians to buy favour with new voters. It's the local
> residents who want to put a stop to this nonsense who are the real
> grass-roots activists and eco-warriors here.
What rubbish - I totally disagree. You make it sound as if no-one from
Cambridge goes to the Fair. I know very many people that do, and they and
I regard it as a strong part of the cultural life of the city.
Yes, however the problem (for parish councils at least) is that although
the public can raise any matter without in being on the agenda no
*decision* maybe made by the council until it has been put on the agenda
for a future meeting (and quite right too, as other members of the
public may have a different view which they would have attended to raise
if they had known the item was going to be discussed).
Our parish council decided to apply for Key Service Centre status in
October 2008. The village is in uproar atm. I wrote several letters to
the Clerk asking where this had appeared on the agenda and he referred
me to a minute item which merely states 9.1.12. Correspondence.
I wrote back asking what was in the 'correspondence' and could we look
at it - no reply.
Football is notorious for its trouble and clubs have been
disciplined, with matches ordered to be played behind
closed doors. Not all events are the same. You picked
football to make a point. If you'd said "same as rugby
matches or the East of England Show or Reach Fair or
the Great British Beer Festival" you would have no point
as these events pass off peacefully. It is not "inevitable".
You have to judge things on their record. SF has had a
decade or so to sort itself out since it started getting out
of hand. Every year it causes more trouble and is less of
a grass-roots event.
> Free Festivals certainly are counter-cultural if you ask me.
> I regard it as a strong part of the cultural life of the city.
You can't have it both ways. Either it's cultural or it's
To me, counter-cultural implies some degree of challenge
to established orthodoxy. When I used to go to SF back
in the 1980s there were hippy scientists who instead of
sitting around doing New Age nonsense had actually been
to Antarctica to measure the ozone layer. There were other
environmental and political groups pushing their agendas.
All very Cambridge. (And yes, there was music and beer
as well.) These days, the culture clash, if there is one,
is between fairgoers and local people objecting to their
gardens being used as toilets. That doesn't make it
counter-cultural, it just makes it a nuisance.
I am certain that no reference has been made to this KSC proposal on the
Parish Council agenda for the past 2 years - I've been through every pdf
since October 2008.
Would our village action group have a case if this is the position?
Dont be so binary.
Its merely utterly irrelevant and orthogonal to any culture whatsoever.
> Paul Oldham wrote:
>> Yes, however the problem (for parish councils at least) is that although
>> the public can raise any matter without in being on the agenda no
>> *decision* maybe made by the council until it has been put on the agenda
>> for a future meeting (and quite right too, as other members of the
>> public may have a different view which they would have attended to raise
>> if they had known the item was going to be discussed).
> Could you provide a link to this?
Not off hand. Try Local Government Act 1972 for a start, that's online.
Also the NALC web site <http://www.nalc.gov.uk/> may be helpful.
> I am certain that no reference has been made to this KSC proposal on the
> Parish Council agenda for the past 2 years - I've been through every pdf
> since October 2008.
> Would our village action group have a case if this is the position?
Well you said the clerk is claiming it was an agenda item in the form of
"9.1.12. Correspondence" - that's pushing it a bit but I've seen parish
councils do that and far worse. Whether it's legitimate depends a lot on
But the real answer is that if you've got a problem with your parish
council they should have a formal complaints procedure. Invoke that
first. If that doesn't get you anywhere you then take it to the local
standards committee (at your district council), but you need to do the
parish council complaints procedure as the standards committee will
expect to have seen that fail to resolve things.
"How do you tell when you're out of invisible ink?"
We have so little time… but I think a formal complaint should be lodged
tomorrow at the PC meeting and have written to the action group copying
your comments. The decision will be made on 11th May and that's it.
Ok, so not a fact, just your opinion (which is fair enough).
So what is a fact, if not observation and deduction?
Oh, something an officially appointed government official tells you eh?
I'd rather have the Pope..
Were you born this naibve, or did you have to study long and hard to
achieve this level?
> I'd rather have the Pope..
Do they burn well?
Nice to get a friendly response :)
What I was driving at is that you made a serious accusation (the police
don't want to catch people who committ crimes) and didn't back it up
with an indepently verifiable piece of evidence.
As I said, your opinion, however expressed is perfectly valid, but it is
just that, an opinion.
the independently verifiable piece of evidence is in the targets they
are set by central government.
They are directed not towards preventing crime, or even solving it. They
are directed towards producing statistics that look good in terms of
reported crime rates and conviction rates.
Unless you can tell me with some way of backing it up that the ppoloiuce
are not actually obeying the dictates laid down, and are independently
and quite against their instructions, actually working to reduce real
crime, then I have to take the governments edicts and their inevitable
result on trust.
> As I said, your opinion, however expressed is perfectly valid, but it is
> just that, an opinion.
Sigh. If you say so. But a lifetime of dealing with the corporate
animal, shows that one mans 'show me a reduced crime rate and increased
conviction rate' goes down through the layers till it becomes 'dont
waste your time on that, never get a conviction' to 'if you won't get a
conviction, don't even write it down'
I had a shed burgled. There was quite a lot of evidence around, like
tyre tracks across the field, but the PC said 'no chance of a
conviction. No DNA, no nothing' and was very reluctant to even report
it until I insisted that I needed a crime report to claim on insurance.
Reluctantly I was issued with one, but no other officer ever contacted
me or viewed the crime again. It was written off.
WE all know who did it of course. But its SO much easier to photograph
someone doing 35 in a 30 limit and get a fat fine and a conviction.
Officialdom seems to exist solely to maintain its own existence at
present - turn up, tick boxes, collect salary and index-linked pension
and ignore the chaos as society crumbles around them. It's not good enough.
> What do people think?
> Is it right that the Po Lice can block [...]
I wonder how much the decision was influenced by the current state of
unrest / uneasiness (strikes, high unemployment, recession, "popular"
not that I have been to a May Ball, but I suspect there is significant
amounts of drug taking, drunkenness, copulation, and generally
obnoxious behavior (afteral., they are students.) We have established,
I think, that the police can't or can't be bovvered to do their job.
So should the good officers of Cambridge Constabulary also stop the
May Balls as well?.