Sunday, July 21, 2002

DOPE, TRAINS AND FUCKING IN THE STREETS: More on the aftermath of what a generation is calling Normstock, the Fatboy Slim Brighton-beach-based-boogie-bash last Saturday. According to the Brighton Argus, the Police are now suggesting they should get awards and plaudits for their work on the night - and, indeed, it seems the fifty officers on duty worked bloody hard to keep order and safety on the night. And, let's not forget, did so successfully. You might want to wonder how only fifty officers were on duty in the first place - remember, they were expecting 100,000 people to turn up anyway; readers in the Brighton area might want to perform calculations with slide rules to compare the number of police the Sussex constabulary insist they need to cope with the largely docile and mainly local 5,000 odd who turn up for Brighton and Hove Albion's games, and the relative light touch used for the larger, mainly out-of-town crowd expected for the beach boutique.
Not that the police are happy, anyway. Inspector Kevin Claxon, according to the Argus, said some observers thought only six arrests made it a good night but added 'I could have arrested 300 people myself. All we could do was help people around as best we could and keep them safe." But... isn't the first role of the police to keep people safe? Isn't that what we pay them for? Clearly, the opportunity to make the arrests rate for the Sussex force was there, but, sadly, the police had to work in the public's interest instead. Head of Brighton & Hove police Chief Superintendent Doug Rattray praised his team: "There was a small number of officers which was stretched to the limit." Hmmm. Who would be responsible for there only being a small number of officers, Doug? The Argus observes the police "had to focus on public safety and ignore hundreds of crimes including drug dealing, assaults, and having sex in public." Ah, the crime of having sex in public, eh? Some people say it's a victimless crime, but, you know, if we don't crack down on That Sort Of Thing, it'll be gayers doing it next. And, forgive us if we're wrong, but if the whole of Brighton was just a massive crush of flesh in danger of exploding, how were people able to shag and deal in the midst of it? We've read reports of people who faced crushes in various locations, and yet we can't recall of anyone who thought as their lungs were being squeezed slowly flat "blimey, if I can flog this quarter of weed and shag Tracey, it'll all be worthwhile."
The main trouble seems to have been at the station - and, as we've observed before, that's what you get when Rail Companies fuck up, not when there's a party on the beach. If inquiries need to be held, it should start by looking at just how the train operators thought they were going to cope with the last train at 11, when at least 80,000 people could have been expected to want to get out of the city at midnight. But we shouldn't be surprised - the last few years have shown many people in the rail industry have at best a blase attitude to public safety, never mind the needs of the travelling public.


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