Friday, 25 June 2010

Bow Road: Police fail to protect local residents' safety at crime scene

MERA is very concerned about the lack of regard for and protection of the health and safety of pedestrians at the scene of the recent stabbing on Bow Road.  We will be following up this incident with the Safer Neighbourhood Team and the Borough Commander.

Below is an explanation of what happened together with photographs of what we observed at the scene.

A youth received multiple stab wounds in Bow Road, not far from Tescos, on Tuesday 22nd June.  Officers were called to the scene at 12.50pm.  He was brought to the chemist's shop at 648 Mile End Road before being transported to hospital.  As a result sections of the pavements were designated a crime scene and were taped off on both sides of Bow Road/Mile End Road in order to preserve evidence (although some taping left spots of blood outside the tape!)

Unfortunately this meant that pedestrians walking up and down Bow Road and Mile End Road were left with very little information about how best to complete their journeys.  Many assumed they had nowhere to go but the very edge of the pavement or into the road to make their way up and down the road 

Very little attention was being paid to the health and safety of local residents.  While the Crime Scene Investigations personnel were very busy addressing the incident, very little was seen of ANYBODY managing the traffic management of the incident.  The attitude at the time by police officers at the scene was that they would "get round to it"

The photographs which follow relate to what MERA committee members found at the scene about 45-60 minutes after the incident.  This account of what happened is being posted because we made several requests for pedestrian safety to be addressed promptly to to no avail.

The taping of the crime scene created a situation where there could have easily been unfortunate injuries or worse to local residents trying to walk along the road.   It was far from clear to pedestrians whether there was any safe way through the restrictions.  Specifics include:
  • police failed to stop pedestrians from walking along the very edge of the pavement and were not directing pedestrians as to how they could proceed safely.   Most stood quietly next to the tape.
Small children were walking along the edge of 
the very busy Bow Road (A11) at an accident black spot
  • Pedestrians - including children - chose to walk OUTSIDE the safety barriers and right next to busy traffic at this accident blackspot.  Mark Taylor, Chair of Mile End Residents Association demonstrates this point in the photograph below
The Chairman of MERA demonstrates the space left to walk 
OUTSIDE the safety barriers which are there for a reason!
Pedestrians were left a few inches from traffic.  
Police were NOT stopping pedestrians from walking along the outside of the pavement. 
  • Outside the chemists at 648 Mile End Road, pedestrians were forced to walk out into Mile End Road - into the traffic - to get round a car which was apparently part of the crime scene.   There were no traffic cones when this photo was taken at 2.30pm.  In the absence of cones, no attempt was made to site a police car (present at the scene) in the road to provide some protection for pedestrians.
Crime scene taped off outside 648 Mile End Road  
This left adults and small children walking into Mile End Road to get round the car.  Two hours later, after MERA told the police they were taking photos, a police car was moved into the road so that traffic had to move wide around this spot and pedestrians were more protected.  
WHY did it take two hours to provide such a simple and obvious solution?
  • Police had not contacted TfL to ask them to close the bus stop on the north side of Bow Road - in the middle of the crime scene,  despite the fact that MERA committee members noted a TfL emergency response vehicle passing by while they were observing the scene
  • It took OVER 2 HOURS for a safe route for pedestrians to be created on the north and south side of the road
FINALLY the cones arrive!
Note the policeman is walking in the road.
  • Routine traffic management solutions used for car accidents at this accident blackspot (eg police cars used to stop traffic entering a lane) were not used at the scene for OVER TWO HOURS despite the fact the very high level risks to the health and safety of pedestrians at this accident blackspot
  • at 3.15pm - over two hours after the incident and 15 minutes before the girls were due to leave Central Foundation School - there was no safe route in place to ensure they could walk west along the road without endangering their lives.  A safe route was only sorted minutes after a MERA Committee member advised the police that their lack of action was being photographed.
While we understand that a crime scene must be protected and that this is the top priority of the crime team, there are also other priorities which MUST be addressed by the police at the same time in order to avoid completely unnecessary risks to the health and safety of pedestrians.  This is a task which has to be handled by police other than those tasked with handling the crime.
    Police Management of the Incident

    We question the judgement of those managing the scene from the perspective of health and safety of local residents.

    All lives have equal value.  The injury or death of a resident due to a traffic accident is just as serious and tragic as the injury or death of an individual who has been stabbed. 

    We saw no evidence that
    • protecting the health and safety of local residents was given equal weight from the outset with protecting the crime scene
    • appropriate measures were taken to reduce risks at the earliest opportunity

    MERA will be asking Detective Chief Superintendent Paul Rickett, the Metropolitan Police Borough Commander  and the Mile End East Safer Neighbourhood Team the following questions:
    • Are the Metropolitan Police satisfied with the handling of the traffic management aspects of the incident?
    • Specifically, was adequate protection for pedestrians provided on the pavements on the north and south side of the A11 at the earliest possible time?
    • Is TWO HOURS an acceptable standard for putting in place measures to protect pedestrians from traffic at a crime scene?
    • Will the police now devise a risk management strategy for the handling of ALL accident and crime scene incidents on this very busy and dangerous stretch of Bow Road/Mile End Road?

    Stabbing incident

    This is the article in the East London Advertiser about the incident Man stabbed in broad daylight on East End road.  The victim was in a serious condition but is now stable.  A description has been released Bow Road stabbing: Cops release description
    The suspect is a black male aged between 16 and 20. He was wearing light-blue stonewash scruffy jeans and a black t-shirt. He ran off crossing Bow Road into Wellington Way, E3.
    If any local resident saw anything or has any relevant information you can telepone 0800 555 111l with information - anonymously if you wish.

    1 comment:

    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


    We welcome comments however please note:
    * All comments are MODERATED prior to publication (which means they are unlikely to be published straight away)
    * Spam is NEVER published


    Related Posts with Thumbnails