Thursday, 26 March 2009

Wanted - Answers from South Wales Police

The Western Mail features this story on its front page today. It was reported yesterday at Wales Online, in the Echo and here on the BBC Wales website.

Mr Frederick and Ms Heath asked me to help them make a complaint about the incident which took place in Riverside last month and to publicise it, so as to try to prevent something similar happening to others.

When they first came to see me, Ms Heath wept as she told me of her fear when machine guns had been trained on her and her 12 year old daughter as they watched her partner with four guns on him as he stood handcuffed in his underpants in the middle of their sealed-off Cardiff street. They were told to keep still or be shot.

Some very basic and simple enquiries could have avoided the stress and trauma which have been caused to this family. The couple described how edgy and nervous the officers were during the operation. The police appeared woefully ill-informed, saying they had expected the house to be unoccupied and asking questions about whether there was a back entrance. The raid related to "suspicious items" found at the music studio in Grangetown Mr Frederick shares with three other band members. Discarded guitar leads, a broken tape recorder, a "Danger - Keep Out" sign, a video tape of Mohammed Ali and a drink in an "ethnic container" in the fridge were enough for someone to conclude that the studio was a bomb-making factory. The operation involved raids on the studio and on Mr Frederick's home. The other band members were not subjected to the same treatment.

I've written to the Chief Constable of South Wales Police and to the Independent Police Complaints Commission making a formal complaint and requesting answers to some of the many questions that arise from this. South Wales Police have issued a limited response to press enquiries acknowledging that "Mr Frederick has done nothing wrong".

There are too many frightening parallels between Mr Frederick's case and this one. Thankfully nothing went wrong on this occasion, but after listening to the details of Mr Frederick and Ms Heath's experience, its easy to conclude that they were just very lucky.

2 comments:

Robert said...

What is going on with the police
lately ?
They were totally heavy handed on the recent Gaza demos and last Saturday on the day of the Wales Ireland game there were armed police outside Burger King in Cardiff.It's the first time I've ever seen armed police in Cardiff.
The riverside incident was totally stupid and horrible.
Lets hope the coppers responsible get into real trouble for this.
Although they probably won't

landsker said...

If it weren`t for the "war on terror" and the "war on drugs", the police force would not be able to justify their budgets.
So...if perhaps if there was no military campaign against Afghanistan, and a decriminalisation of drug use,then we could reduce the budget and size of the police force.
I`d agree that at this moment, the country does need some kind of law enforcement, particularly with all the billions that have gone missing from our financial institutions...But..
It would be interesting to compare the per capita budgets for policing in countries such as Spain or Holland, where there is little or no military activity against "the terrorists", and where also the personal use of drugs is not a criminal offence.