Monday, April 30, 2007

Brunstrom was WRONG

I've always thought that Richard Brunstrom, Chief Constable of North Wales was a damn good policeman. Still do. I've disagreed with his approach sometimes - but he's a top cop nevertheless. But his latest stunt is an outrage - which may not be forgivable. The entire North Wales Police Authority should be ashamed.

This is what the Chief Constable did. He showed photographs of the decapitated body of a young man, who had been killed in a road accident, to a group of journalists - without seeking the permission of the parents. Mr Brunstrom claims he showed the photographs to promote road safety, and he blames journalists for breaking a confidence - he having told them that North Wales Police did not intend to release the photographs to the public. He further claims that the meeting had been deliberately distorted and misrepresented. Well, Your Honour, I beg to differ. Mr Brunstom was 100% wrong. If he has any sense, he will apologise fulsomely to the deceased man's family. Even that may not be enough. I suspect that every parent of a young man in Britain will share my outrage about what the Chief Constable did.

This is all a big shame. Today's post by Peter Black demonstrates the great strengths that Richard Brunstrom has. And I really hope he survives what is inevitably going to lead to calls for his removal from his position.


Alwyn ap Huw said...

I disagree with you Glyn. The outrage that has been expressed about Mr Brustrom on the media today has given the impression that he showed these pictures for some gratuitous reasons. He showed them in order to underline the horrors of dangerous driving and in order to try to reduce the number of horrific deaths of this sort.

The distress caused to the victims family is regrettable, but if the Chief Constable's actions save even one other family from losing a loved one in the same way then he has my 100% support.

The truth of the matter is that this is part of the "hate campaign" that is being waged against Mr Brumstrom by those who can not forgive him for his clamp down on speeding. People who are too full of themselves to realise that speeding is illegal, that they are not above the law, and that a policeman is employed by society to catch those who brake the law.

Brumstrom was RIGHT

Anonymous said...

I also disagree, but what I disagree with is the way the media have reported this. These pictures where not made public, but were shown in a closed seminar. I think the whole matter has been hijacked by those who have their own agenda against Brunstrom, such as that utter bigot Mark Tami.

Left Field said...

As I understand it the pictures were used in a closed seminar containing journalists. How could he be surprised that they would then report it ?

Alwyn Wrote:

if the Chief Constable's actions save even one other family from losing a loved one in the same way then he has my 100% support.

I agree with you Alwyn. But what he should have done is spoken to the family, explained that if they allowed him to use this picture, then it may help to stop others suffering the way they had. But he didn't.

The rest of the family didn't even know he had been decapitated. They have now found out in the most dreadful way.

Glyn Davies AM said...

alwyn, I didn't post that the Chief Constable showed photographs for gratuitous reasons - and I would not have been concerned if the parent's permission had been given.

There is an anti Brunstrom campaign, which I disagree with - because he is a very good policeman. I understand that there has now been an apology (on behalf of) the Police Authority and Richard Brunstrom. Because he is so much the 'face' of the force in North Wales, I hope Richard Brunstrom apologises himself. He is too good a policeman to lose.

Anonymous said...

While I agree that Brunstrom was somewhat foolish to do this, that's because someone with so many people out to get him should be more careful.

Being shown gory pictures by the police is nothing new for journalists. They regularly have to see them during murder press conferences. So showing grisly images in itself isn't an unusal thing for the police to do; I've had to see quite a few as well as harrowing tapes of 999 calls by, for instance, mothers who have found their daughters stabbed to death.

In fact, it's obvious that the journalist had seen these pictures before because he recognised the driver of the motorcycle.

The main complaint of the family seems to be that some previously unknown details of the man's death, such as his decapitation, has been made public. If the journalists that attended the conference had not rushed to make a story of this those details would never have emerged.

Is it so surprising that this attack on Brunstrom comes so soon after he spoke at the Cymuned conference? Maybe someone should have taken him aside and showed him images of the consequences of siding with the nationalists.

Alwyn ap Huw said...

Left Field said: The rest of the family didn't even know he had been decapitated. They have now found out in the most dreadful way.

The problem with this complaint is that the information about the manner of the man's death was already in the public domain.

Cause of death is not and cannot be a family secret under the laws of England & Wales.

When a person dies in tragic circumstances a coroners inquest, open to the public and the press, is held in which precise details of the events leading up to and causing the death are discussed openly.

Every death is recorded by the Registrar General and includes details of cause of death. Anybody can buy a copy of a death certificate and share the certificate details, as I have done many times on genealogy forums and web sites, without seeking permission from next of kin etc.

Brumstrom is not guilty of any form of breach of confidentiality or insensitivity, the distress caused to the family was caused by their mistaken belief that public knowledge could be kept as a family secret. Brumstrom cannot be held accountable for their mistake.

Anonymous said...

Alwyn, stop navel gazing - every now and then you should take the trouble to read the english press, distasteful as that prospect is, you might learn something. The only people who don't think Brunstrom should go is a handful of his apologists in North Wales. 6% clear up rate for burglary and he's "too good a policeman to lose", Glyn?! One in ten fully legal north wales drivers now has points on their licence, 0% of unregistered criminal motorists have points...what an own goal. Showing pictures of dead (and mutilated) human beings to journalists was gratuitous and naive to the point of incompetence. Journalists wait years for opportunities to get at populist hate figures and this naif served himself up on a silver platter. This is a misjudgement of calamitous proportions. There might be no end to his folly. Next time his poor judgement might lead to dire consequences for someone other than himself.

The bulk of his contemporaries can't wait for him to go. Policing this country is difficult enough without a senior figure on their own side on a one-man mission to lose the support of the majority of the public. If the people of north wales are content to have someone as naive, insensitive and ultimately ineffective as Richard Brunstrom as their Chief Constable then, by all means, he should stay.

I'm from north wales but left many years ago. I recently visited Snowdonia for the first time in 20 years. The scenery is still as glorious as it ever was but North West Wales is run-down and tatty when you get up close to it. I wonder how many potential tourists choose not to visit the North Wales force area because of Richard Brunstrom's ill-considered methods? People respond positively to fairness and proportional responses - not black and white solutions to complex problems.