AIBU to feel frustrated? Attempted theft of bikes incident, police not interested.

(130 Posts)
HexBramble Mon 22-Apr-13 11:59:27

DH and DD(7) went for a cycle yesterday along a cycle track that runs all the way into our local city centre. It's safe (or so we thought), runs alongside a river for a few miles so is a pretty run and passes a lovely coffee shop half way through. Perfect for my eager DD cyclist.

3 miles into the run, my DH and DD were surrounded by a gang of youngsters who tried to intimidate them into surrendering their bikes. There was glass spread across the whole track and DH slowed to a halt to lift the bikes over and it was then that these kids appeared from behind pillars of a bridge. DH said that he counted approx 12 of them, ranging from about 6 years of age to 14 years of age. DH had picked up both bikes at the same time and told DD to stay close and walked the 3 metres or so over the glass. One of the older lads barged into DH but he kept walking, but all the while starting to feel real anxiety because DD was with him.

He urged her to get on her bike and gave her a shove to start her off quickly but heard some of the kids say "push her off, get the bike". He gave them an earful but they laughed at him, told him to "f*ck off" and that they all had "iron bars to batter him with". Some lads had started to jog after my DD so he flew after her but they all started chasing and throwing stones. One stone caught DD at the back of the head, thumped off her helmet and another stone caught her on her bottom. Big enough to leave a bruise.

They did get away, Thank God, but are really shaken by the whole ordeal. DD who by no means is an easy crier, sobbing and white as a sheet. DH telephoned the local police at the coffee shop, police arrived but told DH that the kids were most likely from the gypsie site nearby and were more or less above the law. They admitted that they wouldn't be following it up because it was known amongst the police that gypsie's would find out where they lived, and make their lives a nightmare. DH pointed out that there was glass most likely placed across the path to stop cyclists, and the police officer said that they'd get it swept up, but other than that, no further action would be taken.

I'm so angry about this. My gut instinct was to try and go down to the site and appeal to the Mums of these kids, but DH thinks I'm nuts. I'm not going to, but I'm appalled that these kids are getting away with it. At it's best, the whole situation has really shaken DD up, but at its worst, it could have been terrible. DH is 6ft 5' and the kids had a tough enough pack mentality to take him on.

What can I do, apart from avoid this track like the plague?

gordyslovesheep Mon 22-Apr-13 12:01:54

really - contact the Daily Mail asap

MrsCampbellBlack Mon 22-Apr-13 12:03:12

How frightening for your DD.

Seriously though the police told your DH they wouldn't follow it up because they were scared of the gypsies - that sounds most most odd.

andubelievedthat Mon 22-Apr-13 12:07:50

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HexBramble Mon 22-Apr-13 12:08:18

Don't fancy appearing on the DM, thanks. Would rather the Police actually do their jobs.

MrsCampbellBlack it was awful for DD and I'm gutted that it's happened. I'm really appalled that the Police Officers who attended aren't taking it seriously. They said all the right things with DD at the time, but it's action I want. Surely, these kids aren't above the law?

HexBramble Mon 22-Apr-13 12:09:46

No, andubelievedthat, I wouldn't joke about something like this.

MrsCampbellBlack Mon 22-Apr-13 12:09:57

Look you need to phone the police station and report the officers for not pursuing the case because they're too frightened of the gypsies.

This does sound most odd though.

quoteunquote Mon 22-Apr-13 12:11:43

What can I do

Contact the local paper, ask them to do a story on the situation, so that people find out that they will be in danger if using the cycle path, mention you have alerted the local police commissioner, see below,

I would contact your local council town/parish go along to the next meeting, and ask what they intend to do about the situation, if the police are not prepared to attempt to tackle it.

write a letter to the local police commissioner, explain what happened, explain why you think the police response is unacceptable, send it recored delivery,

quoteunquote Mon 22-Apr-13 12:13:42

That would be,

I would contact your local council town/parish council meeting

Callisto Mon 22-Apr-13 12:14:09

I find the lack of police response all too believable. The police never follow up complaints like this against travellers.

gordyslovesheep Mon 22-Apr-13 12:15:26

I would be complaining to the Police then

yaimee Mon 22-Apr-13 12:19:21

Think quote has it spot on.
sorry this happened. How awful for your dd and dh.

livinginwonderland Mon 22-Apr-13 12:19:23

I'm not surprised the police haven't done much. These communities can get very violent and most police seem to stay away as much as possible. Go back the police and insist something is done - if they refuse, contact your local paper. Other people need to know what happened!

I hope your DH and DD are okay.

Snoopingforsoup Mon 22-Apr-13 12:20:35

I have to believe it. My friend's business is affected by travellers who turn up to her lane every few months, camp there, eye up her property and horses. When they move on again, they leave a real mess to be cleaned up. The Police are not able to do anything it seems even when a crime has been committed. The council can't do anything about it either.
I think it's very wrong but sadly, they are aggressive and threatening towards my friend and her family and make her life hell. It has also blighted the property and they're unable to sell it!
I have sympathy to a point where Gypsies/travellers are concerned, but when I hear of stories such as this - it does make you wonder how they appear to be above the law!

HexBramble Mon 22-Apr-13 12:21:29

Thanks. All good advice. I've already found who the local Councillor is and I've drafted an email to send. And, come to think of it, I used to know someone from my local area who is now a reporter for the local newspaper. I'll pop a note through his letter box asking him to contact me. I really don't want DD's or DH's photo's in the paper though, not after what the police have said.

lardybum Mon 22-Apr-13 12:21:38

Are they buggery above the law!

Ring the police back, speak to someone higher up and complain/demand something be done. If no luck, contact the local MP, go to the papers, contact whoever you can over this because it is unacceptable.

And surely it is up to you, or your DH, whether to press charges or not?

IloveJudgeJudy Mon 22-Apr-13 12:21:50

I believe this, too. DH had a works van stolen. Police knew it was on a local traveller/gypsy camp and told DH they were too scared to go and get it. Eventually they did raid the camp, but it was a full-blown exercise. They did not just turn up as they would with anyone else. it does sometimes seem that some people are above the law.

Cantbelieveitsnotbutter Mon 22-Apr-13 12:22:02

Avoid avoid avoid, don't go there, don't appeal to the mums. Be grateful they are ok and have their bikes still. There's a reason the police won't / can't help you.

HexBramble Mon 22-Apr-13 12:22:40

quote, thank you. Your advice has focused me. I'm not going to let this drop.

Cantbelieveitsnotbutter Mon 22-Apr-13 12:24:38

The police can't do anything as its a war they won't win and they know it.

Dahlen Mon 22-Apr-13 12:26:14

I'd go back to the police and ask to speak to the Duty Inspector. I find it incredibly hard to believe what's happened, but assuming it's all true, I would not be letting it stand. It's outrageous.

Are you sure your DH hasn't misunderstood what the police said at the time, bearing in mind he was understandably shook up? Maybe he's unintentionally painted a different picture because of this and in the act of paraphrasing what the police said when he got home and recounted things to you. It's just that even if the police decided not to follow up for the reasons they've given, it would be professional suicide to tell your DH that.

Your DH is right about one thing definitely - do not go down to speak to the mothers of these children. You risk inflaming the situation and finding yourself on the wrong end of a charge of causing harassment, alarm or distress.

Hope you are all ok and soon get over this. It must have been horrible.

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HexBramble Mon 22-Apr-13 12:27:15

I'm going to call the city centre Station today, lardybum. I'm not sure how much of what the officers have said has been lost in translation - DH is a hefty, law-abiding tradesman and a man of few words. He's taken their advice and wants to 'leave-it' and is just glad nothing worse happened. It doesn't help that he knows other tradesmen have had run-ins with travellers in the past and therefore won't question the officers' attitude.

I'm however, very angry and guilty that I wasn't there to protect my DD, not that I could have done much

HexBramble Mon 22-Apr-13 12:29:31

Dahlen, cross-post. That's what I was trying to put into words. You've done it better than me.

Gruffalo, I don't see your point?

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