BBC News: The death of a police constable who fell from a bridge that collapsed during the Cumbria floods was an accident, an inquest jury has ruled. Bill Barker was on Northside Bridge in Workington on 20 November 2009 when a section of it gave way underneath him and he was swept into a swollen river. (Read more)
The Regional News Magazine show covered the inquest results but after watching the piece, I was left feeling angry again about the abject falseness in many senior police managers. Both the ACPO officer and the Superintendent placed before the TV cameras stood and simply read from a sheet of paper. A so obviously pre-prepared ‘media friendly’ script, supposedly designed to ‘illustrate’ a compassionate and caring leadership in the service.
“He was a dedicated and caring police officer and a dedicated family man also. A man proud to serve west Cumbria and his country.” (HM Coroner)
I can fully appreciate the two officers concerned may not be very ‘media savy’ or personally didn’t feel confident standing in front of a TV camera… IT SHOWED!
That said, either give senior officers proper media training or keep them out of reach from TV crews. Plastic concern does nothing to endear them or indeed the police service to society, let alone the families of fallen officers. Give them proper media training or tell them to get the fuck out of sight until they learn some genuine compassion.
Reading from a piece of paper, in such a stilted manner no matter what is being said is simply unacceptable, especially for such high-ranking police officers. Telling the press about how much you “valued” the man or “how important” he was to “the community he served” in such a style could actually have been done by a Plastic Police Officer local PCSO, or the bloody station cleaner for that matter!