Letters to the Editor, October 24, 2013

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- Credit: Archant

I FELT compelled to reply to last week’s letter from Peter Grindon regarding the increased use of tasers by the police.

My first reaction was that the initial headline was wrong and should have been ‘Police taser use leads to a dramatic reduction in police officer and public injuries.’

I recently retired from the police, and the issuing of tasers to some response officers had lead to a significant change in the manner we deal with conflict situations, with all being resolved without injury to either police or public.

The deployment of taser is not taken lightly, with authority given by a force incident manager, who weighs up the threat to the public first and then the attending officers, and if the risk is so great that taser can then be considered and deployed.

The officer with the taser has the final decision, and if it is deployed, then he is subject to a gruelling and intensive investigation by senior officers. It is not a decision taken lightly, and any casual and ‘shoot first ask questions afterwards’ mentality does a great disservice to the police.


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It is a typical response from someone who openly admits that he could not be a police officer, but sees fit to throw cheap insults at people that have the bravery and courage to serve the public.

His rather naïve opinion that all conflict is resolved with dialogue shows a lack of appreciation of the dynamic threats that officers face with conflict situations.

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At some point you have to close with the enemy to use a crude military term, and this results in injuries to both sides.

Taser use has reduced this immensely. Remember that some people see it as a great bragging right if they can injure a police officer, and taser has allowed thousands of officers to return home to their families uninjured and alive.

I have little time for people that are brave with other people’s lives, and I say to those people, join the special constabulary and show us how it should be done without the protection that taser provides.

PHILIP ARMITAGE

Ashbury Drive, Weston

OH WOW! What a ginormous protest on the Grove Park tennis courts.

The Mercury photographer managed to squeeze perhaps four families into the photos, making them look like a biblical horde fronted by clergyman in full cassock.

And they managed to find some real tennis rackets, including the family heirloom being waved by the well-known gent on the back row.

I can remember when most of our family actually did play tennis on our local courts. Everyone was dressed in special white tennis-playing clothes, rackets were kept in presses under the stairs, we all had to know the bizarre scoring terms: ‘love, 15, 30, 40, deuce, advantage, volley, net’.

Courts had to be booked weeks ahead. The cafe sold tea and cakes and thinly sliced cucumber sandwiches.

On the adjacent field cricket matches made stately progress from over to over and wicket to wicket. Two groundsmen were employed and took infinite pains to keep the tennis courts clean and tidy and the cricket field mowed and rolled.

But that was 50 years ago, in a different world where sanity reigned. Where the news was read by John Snagge and children were entertained by Andy Pandy or Muffin the Mule, we travelled to work by bus or bike and our circle of friends lived within half an hour’s walk. We live in a very different world now, with central heating and cars, multi-channel television and internet, long commutes, holidays abroad, more sitting around and very much less participation in sport.

I have never in many years seen anyone play tennis on those courts in Grove Park. The odd football kickabout, yes, but an actual tennis match, no. There have in recent weeks been a couple of lads knocking a ball about with rackets, but I rather suspect that is the usual protester activity so they can stand up and say “The courts are used”. In reality there has been no sustained usage.

Covenants? Oh, yes, but did those people who set up the covenants think 10, 20, 50, 100 years hence? Are the covenants to be held up for another 1,000, 10,000, 1,000,000 years? I rather think not.

I suppose I could be wrong. I might take a walk next week and see, in full cassock and mitred glory, the Bishop of Bath and Wells wielding a mean racket as he volleys to the Dean and Chapter whilst the assembled curates nibble their cucumber sandwiches and balance dainty cups of tea on paper-thin saucers, casting their eyes left and right as they follow stroke and counter-stroke...

MIKE ROGERS

Baker Street, Weston

I HAVE noted some recent comment about provision of a play area which has been delayed pending adoption of open spaces/drainage systems in St Georges and thought that a bit of background information might be helpful.

Independent Group Councillor Derek Mead heads the consortium of developers responsible for bringing the rhynes up to an adoptable standard. The work was due to start a year ago. At a meeting of local parish and district councillors, consortium developers and North Somerset officers, a representative of Mead Realisations stated that Cllr Mead would not release funds for the required work until an unrelated planning approval was signed by North Somerset Council.

This disgusting state of affairs highlights the conflict between Cllr Mead’s commercial interests and his duty to those who elected him. How wise of Weston Conservative Association, led by John Cole, to refuse to make Derek Mead an approved Conservative candidate.

TONY LAKE

District councillor for St Georges

Greenhill Road, Sandford

MY friend had her first accident, after more than 50 years of driving, this morning at the ridiculously dangerous new road layout at the big roundabout on Winterstoke Road! A policeman was very quickly on the scene as apparently it was the second collision in quick succession.

Please can you ask the council what is going on.....are they in partnership with the local bodyshops?

Someone is going to get seriously injured.

DENISE RICHARDS

The Cornfields, North Worle

I AM writing to complain about the new road markings on the junction of Drove Road and the main roundabout leading onto Hildesheim Bridge.

I was always taught that when entering a roundabout you stay in the left hand lane to go left or to travel straight on and the right hand lane (inside lane) to turn right, but the new marking on the roundabout is asking you to go left on the left hand lane and straight on and right on the right hand lane.

This was never the case with this roundabout before the new markings and is causing confusion and inevitably will cause an accident.

Maybe the traffic law states that you go the way the road markings state but common sense states that why after all this time should it change. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.

ANDREW FRIDAY

Addicott Road, Weston

THE residents of central Weston should weep. Two central doctors’ practices have moved a mile away, another medical centre and surgery has already closed down.

The Boulevard post office is closing down. The council seems determined to close the tennis courts down. Residents cannot park outside their own homes.

They should weep and ask, does anyone care?

BRIAN SHELDRAKE

Palmer Row, Weston

IT HAS been a long time since the initial fuss over the possible opening of a Tesco on the Milton Road.

In that time, there have been a few weak attempts to bring the pub back to life, but all have failed.

It would be interesting to know how much the council has lost out in potential revenue during this time.

Also, what is likely to happen in the future? My money is still on Tesco winning the day.

COLIN HUNT

Ringwood Grove, Weston

THE Regency Public House in Weston held a conker championship on Sunday October 13 with proceeds going to supporting the Weston Lifeboat Fund.

An entry of 32 were finally whittled down to a final between Steve Richardson and John Harris.

After a hard fight final in which Steve received self-inflicted damage to his right wrist by missing John’s conker on numerous occasions, Steve triumphed and received his medal from pub owner Mark Shorts’ children, before retiring to the bar for well earned refreshments.

The idea of the championship was the brainchild of pub manager Tom Mason who supplied conkers and string for the contestants.

This contest is one of many events held throughout the year at the Regency a real centre of social activity as all good pubs should be.

Congratulations to Mark Short and his enthusiastic team for a great day to be repeated in 2014.

DAVID WALKER

Royal Albert Road, Westbury Park

YOUR correspondent, in scoffing at Esperanto, misses the point of the language, which is not to replace English in international communication, but to enable friendship between English-speakers and foreigners on equal terms.

The argument for Esperanto as a world language was lost in the early 1920s, when the language of America and the British Empire took the place of French on the world stage.

This is comforting to a native speaker of English, because no effort is involved and it gives one superiority over foreigners, who are generally bound to make mistakes and feel inferior. This is not the best basis of friendship. Far better if both parties to a conversation have made the same effort to learn the language involved.

As Esperanto is the world’s easiest language, it is an ideal way of making international friendships - and that is what members of Woodspring Esperanto Circle chose.

They did not sit on the sidelines carping at Esperanto, they actually learned it, corresponded with foreigners, and exchanged visits with them by means of it. Members of a revival of the club could do the same, but it seems that there are too many people in Weston and the surrounding district who are content to let foreigners do all the necessary work.

Our primary schools could help by teaching Esperanto as a first foreign language. At present, children at the secondary stage give up foreign languages after two years, taking the easy option of depending upon foreigners learning English.

Esperanto learned in the primary school could at least be an easy introduction to a difficult subject, or be continued to the level of the Diploma of the Esperanto Association of Britain.

British children could then make friends with foreigners on equal terms.

DAVID CURTIS

St Judes Terrace, Milton

A FEW weeks ago I had occasion to be admitted to the day surgery unit of orthopaedics and trauma at Weston General Hospital.

It was a minor operation carried out under general anaesthetic. I went in at 7.30am and was discharged around 2.30pm.

During every minute of my stay it was the NHS at its very best. Each member of staff caring for me introduced themselves, explained their role, and told me exactly what procedures I would be undergoing, in a most professional and kindly manner.

At no time did I feel frightened, nervous, or left in the dark. In other words I felt safe and well cared for.

The cleanliness of the department was such that one could have eaten off the floor. After-care was also well catered for.

Like many Westonians I have read and heard much about certain negative aspects of our hospital, therefore I would like to take this opportunity to duly give credit and thanks to all the staff of this unit in the most public way I can think of - via The Mercury.

ANN BABER

Lawrence Close, Worle

I WOULD just like to say a big thank you to all the staff who dressed up for charity at Matalan store on October 17. You all looked brilliant in your costumes and it was a fun evening. Well done to each and everyone of you.

MARY STANLEY

Constable Drive, Worle

I WROTE in after last year’s carnival asking why the toilets outside the library on the Boulevard were locked.

This year I thought I should put in a plea before the event instead of complaining after.

Many visitors will come to see the spectacular show, surely the town council could offer them some toilets to use if required.

If you went to a football match or a theatre show we all know there will be toilets available at the venue.

There are toilets on the route, but they need to be open for business until the end of the show. Is this too much to ask?

STEVE COUNSELL

Hampden Road, Worle

AS A Westonian born and bred, I have really enjoyed your Picture Past series, including the old ads for shops/businesses long gone.

So imagine my surprise when turning the page this week to find a picture of my nine-year-old self along with my school friends from Walliscote Junior School.

It brought back some wonderful memories.

Well done Mercury, keep providing old memories, up-to-date information and debate for locals.

SHEILA MOGG

Beechmount Drive, Weston

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