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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?

CelticPixie Mon 22-Apr-13 12:31:51

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givemeaclue Mon 22-Apr-13 12:32:53

Contact the police commissioner for your area

WorraLiberty Mon 22-Apr-13 12:33:57

I'm sorry but I can't believe the Police said that.

It's far more likely that they see it as a waste of time being as though there are 12 kids to identify and no witnesses.

lardybum Mon 22-Apr-13 12:34:35

The thing is, if the police continue to be too scared to do anything, matters will only get worse until something is done about it and if it were me, I would be fighting for that something to be done. It isn't on that people can't even ride their bike without being targetted. What next? Too afraid to leave their home?

Allowing them to get away with it will do nothing but allow them to take it even further next time because why not, when they don't have to suffer the consequences?

SoupDragon Mon 22-Apr-13 12:35:15

What would your first port-of-call be then Gruffalo?

WorraLiberty Mon 22-Apr-13 12:36:46

How the hell are the police going to find time to track down, identify and speak to 12 kids who will only deny all knowledge anyway? confused

Badvoc Mon 22-Apr-13 12:37:11


Snoopingforsoup Mon 22-Apr-13 12:38:00

Gruffalo, MN wasn't the first point of call. The Police were called at the time of the incident. She's posting here because she's frustrated she's been told this will not go any further.
Most Mother's would be livid if someone had abused their family like that! I would be.

Callisto Mon 22-Apr-13 12:38:45

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mrscog Mon 22-Apr-13 12:39:13

Sounds awful - doesn't really matter who is committing the crime, but if the police are not taking something like this seriously then you do need to take your complaints higher up the police force.

GruffaloAteMySocks Mon 22-Apr-13 12:39:26

To actually phone someone and do something about it, like get in touch with the station or phone the IPCC. I'd also be asking why, despite not actually seeing or speaking to any of the children involved, the automatic assumption is that they're traveler's children.

My paternal grandfather was a Roma traveler, not a thief, not violent, not misogynistic, neither are my Roma family or me for that matter. So I'm going to hide this thread, since I can already see the massive generalizations and bigotry starting.

Dahlen Mon 22-Apr-13 12:39:44

Worra - the police spend a lot of time tracking down people and dealing with cases that they know will go precisely nowhere. It's part of the job. Doesn't mean it's ok to decide not to do it even though it's a complete waste of time. This is the age of accountability. Work has to be seen to be done more than the result matters.

lardybum Mon 22-Apr-13 12:41:17

So what do you suggest Worra? Just leave them to it to harass, intimidate, attack, threaten anyone who dares go near them?

Of course the police should find the time to do something about this before someone gets seriously injured. It could be a child who they decide to pick on next, or an elderly person. It isn't on at all.

CelticPixie Mon 22-Apr-13 12:41:36

Regarding the police being scared. Years ago I knew someone who worked in a Catholic school where there area lot of traveller kids in attendance (when they can be bothered turning up). This person told me that the police cannot just turn up at traveller site without a warrant like they would at someone home. Not sure of the ins and outs of why though? But the site near my parents would get busted every few months or so, and I mean properly busted with the helicopter out, vans, police dogs, several cars etc. It's almost like it has to be planed with military decision.

HexBramble Mon 22-Apr-13 12:41:52

I've googled and found my Local Police Commissioner, and tracked down his email address. Have written him a lengthy email, so I'll await his response. I've also spoken to DH and urged him to see the duty inspector today to make an official complaint. He doesn't want to complain against the officers, but I've asked him to report the incident yesterday.

He has a job near the city centre today, so no backing out.

WorraLiberty Mon 22-Apr-13 12:42:28

Dahlen the Police are massively over stretched.

I could see them trying to track them down if they'd actually stolen the bikes...but not for intimidation and stone throwing where there's absolutely no proof it happened.

However, I still don't believe for a minute the Police said that about the travellers etc...

Heinz55 Mon 22-Apr-13 12:42:28

Similar incident happened to my DH and DD - except one of the group was carrying a chainsaw shock and DD knew some of these kids from school. She didn't know what a traveller was before that incident - she does now. Fortunately we've since met some decent ones so hopefully she's got a balanced view that one group cannot be tarred with the same brush. In their case the group were just trying to intimidate (I think) but also tried to pull their bikes from them. We didn't even bother with the police but I would think in your case the broken glass makes it a more vicious attack rather than my DH and DD's which was their version of a bit of fun (I'm sure). My DD was very upset for a while and remains nervous of coming across any traveller kids when on her own but has more or less forgotten that particular incident, I hope you get some satisfaction from the police. Keep us updated.

MiaowTheCat Mon 22-Apr-13 12:42:32

I believe the incident could have happened... I believe the police may have been somewhat unmotivated in investigating it... I don't believe they'd be daft enough to say that they were going to do fuck all to your face though.

DontSHOUTTTTTT Mon 22-Apr-13 12:42:35

I used to have to visit traveller camps in an enforcement role. As a young women I was seen as less likely to have any problems than one of my older male colleagues. confused

Does your local authority have a traveller liaison officer? (Or similar)

HexBramble Mon 22-Apr-13 12:43:36

Gruffalo, you're entitled to think that.
MN is a source of support and I glean a lot of information from here.

LibertineLover Mon 22-Apr-13 12:45:13

I had this when my dog got stolen. A neighbour had seen the van, knew exactly whose it was, it was a traveller from a nearby site, the police refused to go and look, we suggested if we found him there would they come with us to get him, they said no.

OP please don't let it drop, go through all the proper channels and keep yourself and your family safe first and foremost, but something needs to be done before they throw stones at another child and something worse happens. Good luck.

HexBramble Mon 22-Apr-13 12:45:16

Worra, that's exactly what DH has just said to me. I feel too angry to let his go, though. So don't know what else to do.

CelticPixie Mon 22-Apr-13 12:46:49

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WorraLiberty Mon 22-Apr-13 12:46:59

Are they legally camped?

If not, are the council trying to evict?

amessagetoyouYoni Mon 22-Apr-13 12:47:26

I am sorry your family had this experience - sounds scary. You must follow this up with the police and complain if they do not pursue this.

However, I am disgusted with your thread title. If a bunch of black kids or obviously poor-working-class-white kids attacked you, would you bring their ethnicity or culture into it?

Think before you post things like this. Not all children from the Traveller community behave this way. The stereotype is unbelievably unfair and prejudice. Shame on you.

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