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Old 22nd August 2017
KeithL KeithL is offline
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Cromer

I wonder how many of you out there saw the news about Cromer being invaded by travelers last weekend, and causing sufficient mayhem that the town went into virtual lockdown Friday night/ Saturday. Reports of things being taken from shops, threatening behaviour, refusal to pay for food, drinks etc., and so on. The police appeared to do little. indeed, a senior police officer was grilled about it on TV news last night; I was incensed by his manner, which seemed to be sort of 'couldn't be bothered'. No-one was arrested, despite, we are told, various complaints of arrestable behaviour, and the police officer claiming that there were 'sufficient' numbers of officers present. The travelers' caravans were parked illegally on a town car park.

I thought to myself, what if i were taking photographs there at the time? I could have found myself attacked, my camera kit smashed, maybe end up in hospital - or, indeed, worse. I wondered if anyone else has experienced this sort of thing, and/or has any comments.
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Old 22nd August 2017
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Re: Cromer

It is clear to me that savage cuts in funding have reduced police numbers to the extent that they cannot respond effectively to this sort of incident in many of our smaller towns. Priority has shifted from arresting the culprits to containing the situation and damage limitation.
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Old 22nd August 2017
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Re: Cromer

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It is clear to me that savage cuts in funding have reduced police numbers to the extent that they cannot respond effectively to this sort of incident in many of our smaller towns. Priority has shifted from arresting the culprits to containing the situation and damage limitation.
I wish you were right John but this problem pre-dates government cuts by many years.

Our village is usually visited by travellers on their way to and from the Appleby Horse Fair (they then go on to the Hoppings on the Town Moor north of Newcastle). They often bring trouble with them ranging from lead theft and petty crime to mindless drunken vandalism.

On one occasion a villager that we know well witnessed a group of younger travellers vandalising cars, including jumping up and down on the roof and bonnet of their own vehicle, which was a complete write off as a result.

The police were called but did nothing more than move them on away from the village. Some were driving and were clearly drunk, but again nothing was done.

The police attitude was that even with reinforcement there were a lot more travellers than police officers, so it was better not to get involved.

However, I suspect there is another problem in that travellers, like many 'minority' groups today are only too keen to pull out the 'race card' if brought before the courts. And from a practical point of view, they all seem to be called John Smith, and being of 'no fixed abode' there is little chance that they would actually attend a court hearing unless kept in custody.
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Old 23rd August 2017
KeithL KeithL is offline
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Re: Cromer

When I raised this issue, I was NOT looking for political comment; but wondering (a) whether any forum members had been in such a scenario (especially taking photographs the time), and
(b) what you would maybe feel obliged to do or not do.

For instance, if I had my camera round my neck, I might surreptitiously press the video button, whilst leaving the camera where it is. It might provide evidence for police. What I would certainly not do was be seen to be taking stills. That would almost certainly invite trouble.

Norfolk has long had gypsies coming to horse fairs and staying outside small towns. There was a small amount of trouble, but very different to last weekend's events. Usually, trouble was between gypsy families rather than locals, whereas at the weekend, it was directed at locals. Police had plenty of resources in the past, but if there was trouble, the gypsies always clammed up, and no doubt sorted it themselves later. A few years back, when I was at work, I walked past a line of traveler caravans parked near where I worked, in the lane where we went for exercise. i and others walked past them, without any issues. Now, a decade on, it seems to be very different, and people who would have been of interest to us as photographers would doubtless be best given a wide berth now.

As travelers numbers have increased dramatically innocent years, and there has been widely publicized illegal parking, town residents have increasingly become incensed by them, and they are usually evicted by police. That has obviously caused tempers to rise on both sides, and now we are perhaps seeing the consequences.
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Old 23rd August 2017
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Re: Cromer

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Originally Posted by KeithL View Post
When I raised this issue, I was NOT looking for political comment; but wondering (a) whether any forum members had been in such a scenario (especially taking photographs the time), and
(b) what you would maybe feel obliged to do or not do.

For instance, if I had my camera round my neck, I might surreptitiously press the video button, whilst leaving the camera where it is. It might provide evidence for police. What I would certainly not do was be seen to be taking stills. That would almost certainly invite trouble.

Norfolk has long had gypsies coming to horse fairs and staying outside small towns. There was a small amount of trouble, but very different to last weekend's events. Usually, trouble was between gypsy families rather than locals, whereas at the weekend, it was directed at locals. Police had plenty of resources in the past, but if there was trouble, the gypsies always clammed up, and no doubt sorted it themselves later. A few years back, when I was at work, I walked past a line of traveler caravans parked near where I worked, in the lane where we went for exercise. i and others walked past them, without any issues. Now, a decade on, it seems to be very different, and people who would have been of interest to us as photographers would doubtless be best given a wide berth now.

As travelers numbers have increased dramatically innocent years, and there has been widely publicized illegal parking, town residents have increasingly become incensed by them, and they are usually evicted by police. That has obviously caused tempers to rise on both sides, and now we are perhaps seeing the consequences.
Like you I do not wish to make a political comment as I don't think this is a political matter.

I suspect (but don't know) that there is a big difference between Gypsies and Travellers.

The problem here seems to be that large numbers of people have jumped onto the 'Traveller' bandwagon over the past few years. They consider themselves outside of the law, they don't contribute taxes and when not in custody are almost impossible to track down. Furthermore I would doubt that many of them hold valid driving licenses or have tax, insurance and MOT, etc.

As for income, this seems to come from dodgy drive repairs, tree felling and scrap metal; all dealt with in cash.

This is very different to the traditional Romany Gipsies who led a fairly simple and honest but nomadic life, and made money by selling clothes pegs and lucky heather. I was always taught that Gypsies were more afraid of rival Gipsies than the general public.

Unfortunately the 'Gipsy' title has been hijacked by the Travellers in recent years so they can claim racial persecution if charged with criminal offences. This, I suspect, is why the police are so cautious of doing anything other than simply moving the Travellers out of town as quickly as possible and into a different policing area.

As we have seen elsewhere, protection of minority groups often leads to those groups abusing 'the system' and their protected status, leading to much bigger problems a few years down the line.
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Old 23rd August 2017
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Re: Cromer

Oh Dear I am going to get into trouble again … ‘CUTS’ –Whether Police Forces not enforcing Lawwhen they should – NHS Staff (some) finding a ready excuse for poor service and unnecessary deaths– Councils not keepingroads safe e.g. (potholes). There have alwaysbeen excuses for poor performances. The current easy one is ‘CUTS’.Bol..cks. Funding for these organisations hasgrown like Topsy. When budgets are bought back to a realistic level, it’s theOBE’s that save their jobs, throwing their hands in the air – and blaming ‘CUTS’
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Old 23rd August 2017
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Re: Cromer

Yes travellers and terrorist..................

We need to think how we are to defend ourselves................

The Authorities do not seem to be able or willing to help, after all travellers and the other have rights, don't they

Goodness forbid, we don't want to go down the American route and be able to bear arms, but sometimes it is kind of tempting.

Goodness help............
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Old 23rd August 2017
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Re: Cromer

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Oh Dear I am going to get into trouble again … ‘CUTS’ –Whether Police Forces not enforcing Lawwhen they should – NHS Staff (some) finding a ready excuse for poor service and unnecessary deaths– Councils not keepingroads safe e.g. (potholes). There have alwaysbeen excuses for poor performances. The current easy one is ‘CUTS’.Bol..cks. Funding for these organisations hasgrown like Topsy. When budgets are bought back to a realistic level, it’s theOBE’s that save their jobs, throwing their hands in the air – and blaming ‘CUTS’
Local authorities have long used the excuse of 'cuts' to justify doing or not doing what they want.

More recently it seems to have become fashionable to use 'cuts' to make political points when the local authorities concerned are not happy with the incumbent government. Hence they close libraries and local amenities whilst continuing to squander money on pet projects that benefit nobody, or perhaps a selected few.

We quite rightly focus on corruption in central government, but some local authorities around here could teach the Mafia a thing or two!

This is nothing new though. Does anyone remember Pottinger and Poulson?
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Old 25th August 2017
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Re: Cromer

Dan... thingy 'springs' to mind Developer in Manchester or Birmingham? Anybody complete the gaps?
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Old 26th August 2017
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Re: Cromer

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Originally Posted by Zuiko View Post
It is clear to me that savage cuts in funding have reduced police numbers to the extent that they cannot respond effectively to this sort of incident in many of our smaller towns. Priority has shifted from arresting the culprits to containing the situation and damage limitation.
John, I didn't want this thread hijacked by a political discussion; indeed, I pointed out that the police stated that there were sufficient policemen at the affair in Cromer. That being the case, they should have responded effectively to the significant number of arrestable offences reported, but clearly didn't.

That isn't the point that I was making though. What would YOU do if you found yourself immersed in a situation such as that at Cromer? I guess that many of us on this forum are of an age where running isn't an option; even if fit, we could easily be outrun by young, well, yobs. Would you attempt to hide your camera? Indeed, COULD you hide your camera? Would you set it running in video mode, still leaving it around your neck? What if one or more tried to drag it off you?

Quite honestly, I'm not sure what I would do. I would like to think that I would push the video button, but leave the camera round my neck, and try to walk away from trouble whilst possibly filming it. But I don't know - things happen quickly in such circumstances.

Would camera insurance cover it being ripped from your neck by a thieving wotsit? What if it were simply smashed by one of them? Even worse, what if it were smashed or damaged by police action?

I think these are valid questions, and ought to make us all think.
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Old 26th August 2017
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Re: Cromer

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Originally Posted by KeithL View Post
John, I didn't want this thread hijacked by a political discussion; indeed, I pointed out that the police stated that there were sufficient policemen at the affair in Cromer. That being the case, they should have responded effectively to the significant number of arrestable offences reported, but clearly didn't.

That isn't the point that I was making though. What would YOU do if you found yourself immersed in a situation such as that at Cromer? I guess that many of us on this forum are of an age where running isn't an option; even if fit, we could easily be outrun by young, well, yobs. Would you attempt to hide your camera? Indeed, COULD you hide your camera? Would you set it running in video mode, still leaving it around your neck? What if one or more tried to drag it off you?

Quite honestly, I'm not sure what I would do. I would like to think that I would push the video button, but leave the camera round my neck, and try to walk away from trouble whilst possibly filming it. But I don't know - things happen quickly in such circumstances.

Would camera insurance cover it being ripped from your neck by a thieving wotsit? What if it were simply smashed by one of them? Even worse, what if it were smashed or damaged by police action?

I think these are valid questions, and ought to make us all think.
Hi Keith,

The police spokesman is hardly likely to admit in an interview that insufficient police numbers were the reason why they decided upon the course of action (or inaction) that they did. Having seen the closure of my local police station, together with the closure or reduced opening times of stations in neighbouring small towns, I don't feel wrong in drawing the conclusion that funding cuts played a big part in the response of the police to the situation in Cromer.

I'm sorry, but to me you did not make it sufficiently clear in your opening post that you did not welcome political comment. Once this was made clear I deliberately refrained from further comment in respect of your wishes, but this is now difficult as you have specifically asked me to respond.

As for the issue of personal safely and protection of equipment, I would say that safety should take priority every time. If a potentially violent gang made it plain they wanted my camera I would let it go. My current kit is rather long in the tooth and of little value anyway, but nevertheless I would be unable to afford its replacement and if it happened tomorrow I would probably decide it was time to give up the hobby. But that's just me.

Regarding photographing or videoing the situation, it really would depend upon the circumstances at the time; how close I was to the action, whether or not I was already attracting the attention of the perpetrators and what level of violence they were exhibiting. Like you, I would not be able to outrun them!
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Old 26th August 2017
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Re: Cromer

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Hi Keith,

The police spokesman is hardly likely to admit in an interview that insufficient police numbers were the reason why they decided upon the course of action (or inaction) that they did. Having seen the closure of my local police station, together with the closure or reduced opening times of stations in neighbouring small towns, I don't feel wrong in drawing the conclusion that funding cuts played a big part in the response of the police to the situation in Cromer.

I'm sorry, but to me you did not make it sufficiently clear in your opening post that you did not welcome political comment. Once this was made clear I deliberately refrained from further comment in respect of your wishes, but this is now difficult as you have specifically asked me to respond.

As for the issue of personal safely and protection of equipment, I would say that safety should take priority every time. If a potentially violent gang made it plain they wanted my camera I would let it go. My current kit is rather long in the tooth and of little value anyway, but nevertheless I would be unable to afford its replacement and if it happened tomorrow I would probably decide it was time to give up the hobby. But that's just me.

Regarding photographing or videoing the situation, it really would depend upon the circumstances at the time; how close I was to the action, whether or not I was already attracting the attention of the perpetrators and what level of violence they were exhibiting. Like you, I would not be able to outrun them!
Hi John
Well, John, I thought by asking specific questions, it would avoid a political debate. Not to worry. I do agree with you generally about cuts; you can't buy with ten quid what you can buy with twenty, and you can't get as much work done when you employ ten people as when you employ twenty. But some of our political masters seem to think that people have an infinite capacity to do more, more, more with less, less, less.

I don't know if you live in E Anglia, and whether or not you saw the local news about it. From what I saw, I didn't get the impression that there weren't enough police due to cuts, but rather that there may have been not enough police because they underestimated the problem, or that events overtook tham. There were, it was said, 23 caravans; if you say 4 people per caravan average, that's close to 100 people; I don't know how many police were deployed, but I would guess 15, 20 maybe. Knowing the layout of Cromer fairly well, that would be way too few; also we only know that the caravans were parked on Runton Rd car park, which is to the west of the town centre on the coast road; Cromer comes to a corner at the High Street near the pier, so it would be easy for the miscreants to trap police in that old part of the town. Also, the miscreants assailed the pier, so they would have trapped holiday-makers on the pier, and the police would have been hard pressed to both descend the cliff path as well as take action in the town. To have properly policed the situation would logically have needed at least 120 officers, and that large a number almost certainly wouldn't have been speedily available, cuts or not. There are a total of 1515 officers in Norfolk, so you would have thought that enough; but Norfolk is a large county, fourth largest in England, so they are spread a little thin.

The police are asking for people to come forward with CCTV, still images, or video of the incident. That is partly why I asked the questions that I did. And not just having those images, but handing them over to police also could put their owners at risk of retaliation from the travelers. Whatever incident occurs, police and media alike invite people to give them photos, videos, of the event. That is something of a dilemma for many people, surely? I don't know what the solution is for me personally, should I encounter whatever incident. As you say, safety is the first priority, but then, the more these miscreants get away with mayhem, the more mayhem they will indulge in. And there are clearly far more travelers than ever before, so the problem can only increase. At the same time, if a bystander or victim at Cromer had defended themselves with lethal force, the police would have been down on them like ten tonnes of bricks!

Just as a final note, we had visitors this morning, and I and my counterpart visitor discussed Cromer. We both felt that the only logical thing is, if police numbers cannot be increased, then they have to be armed, especially if they have to deal with violent disorder like at Cromer. It didn't look to us as if there is any other viable solution.
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Old 26th August 2017
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Re: Cromer

IMHO 'Political' and 'Cuts' are the same sort of comment. Anything that worries people calling a spade a spade (in Cards you understand)
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Old 26th August 2017
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Re: Cromer

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IMHO 'Political' and 'Cuts' are the same sort of comment. Anything that worries people calling a spade a spade (in Cards you understand)
ISO, If you would care to read my original post, you will notice that I did not mention cuts. As I discussed to John (Zuiko) above, I don't think cuts were the issue with the Cromer incident.

We have lost a lot of police in Norfolk. They used to even patrol our village, generally by car or motor cycle, when we came here 31 years ago, at least twice a week. We haven't seen a police patrol here for at least seven or eight years now. In our local town, and the police HQ is there, you don't often see them walking the streets. If you look at the Norfolk Police website, there are only 5 officers listed for Cromer, which is a sizable town. I don't believe that's enough, and I'm sure most residents here would agree with me. Cyber crime is labour intensive, and has mushroomed in recent years; and the police can't be stuck in front of computer screens at the same time as about in the community. When they are patrolling two streets, people talk to them, report things, give them snippets of information. When they aren't on the streets, it simply doesn't happen.
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Old 26th August 2017
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Re: Cromer

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In our local town, and the police HQ is there, you don't often see them walking the streets.
Police on the streets? Now there's a novel idea!

Jim
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