Wednesday 25 March 2015

What do we want? A legal system that works

Turn on a television or iPlayer. Look at what the police shows are on in their drama category. go to IMDb see what's there in a collection of detective and police dramas it'll be about murder cases policeman trying to solve them, prosecutors trying to make a name for themselves, lawyers trying to defend the guilty or the innocent. This is what exciting. This is what policing about. This is what the legal system is about. This is why people joined the police.

Now try looking for something about cyclists being run over. Nothing. Maybe lurking in documentaries is something on Britain's shittiest teenage drivers -entertainment. Alongside Top Gear -a comedy that claims to be the BBC's men's show.

Turn on the news. There may be some dramatic stories on their there. Then maybe some tragic deaths but unless it is particularly dramatic it won't be about somebody being hit by a truck, car or bus.

Death by car is not interesting.

Imagine you are a police force. government cuts are coming down telling you you have to save money where are you going to do it? will it being road policing? Or will it be from those incidents which the press will cover and condemn you if you're seen to fail? Road safety doesn't stand a chance.

Imagine you are a CPS prosecutor. You want to do well in your career. You want recognition. you want things on your resume you can be proud of. You don't dream of prosecuting traffic classes -those are the kind of things you get assigned to when your career is going downhill.

The safety of cycling, the prosecution of cyclist deaths? It's not going to get a look in.

Which is of course precisely where we are today.

It's not just the police don't give a fuck -it's that nobody does: nobody in the legal system, and almost nobody in the national press. And the politicians? They don't have all their constituents clamouring for justice, and would rather talk about the "war motorists" than the war by tipper trucks against people.

The Michael Mason case is going to be a showcase issue. The inaction of the Met police is a story on its own. Their PR department knows it's disaster, which is why they put out that "we will prosecute" press release out. Too bad the rest of the police don't see that and are still doing fuck all. No doubt somebody senior gave the press Department a hard time saying "why did you publish this!" -missing the point that management should been saying "why you do nothing". All the police have to do is hand it on to the CPS. Yet they refuse to do that. It's becoming a point of principle: they don't want to surrender to the pressure we are placing on them.

We can all do something here that start by giving money to the justice for Michael campaign. If they get enough money for prosecution that will get the press we need that will show at the Met for who they are: a police force that doesn't care about the lives of cyclists.

Do it now:

High publicity events in London can also be part of this. If one protest was enough to get the press release issued, bigger ones may actually stir the met into action. Hold one over a weekend and the rest of us across Britain can join in.

Getting the police to refer murder-with-car to the prosecution is only the first step. We need decent prosecutors who recognise that road deaths are the primary non-accidental cause of death in the country. We need investigators the care about the problem and do decent investigations for those prosecutors. We need expert witnesses for the prosecution themselves that don't believe "the sun in my eyes" is a valid excuse for killing people. Bez's articles showing up the utter failings of the legal system are a start here. He is documenting the wrongness. Now we need to get the rest of society to read those articles, to recognise the crimes that have been committed and how the police and the legal system are letting killers drive around the streets.

We need a legal system that gives a fuck about cyclists.