Have Peterborough police got better things to do

Thornton on Thursday column with Peterborough Telegraph's deputy editor Nigel Thornton - peterboroughtoday.co.uk

Thornton on Thursday column with Peterborough Telegraph's deputy editor Nigel Thornton - peterboroughtoday.co.uk

The police no doubt have better things to do than patrol Bridge Street and fine the yobs who cycle along the pavement in defiance of the ban.

Of course, the police have better things to do.

They have also got better things to do than to pull over my colleague – an upstanding and decent member of society – because his car number plate was obscured by dirt.

“I’m not sure you’ve noticed, officer, but we’ve had some pretty foul weather,’’ is what he didn’t say to the officer.

He also didn’t say, although, who could really blame him if he had: “Haven’t you got better things to do?’’

Peterborough City Council, despite much trumpeting of its determination to crackdown on the cycling forgot to make sure the necessary powers were in place to tackle it!

So the police are currently the only ones who can enforce the ban. And, all together now (it is panto season after all) they’ve got better things to do. But that really isn’t the point.

Collaring burglars (and well done Cambs cops for doing lots of that), dealing with violent thugs and handling the aftermath of horrible road accidents are “more’’ important than slapping tickets on two-wheeled menaces.

But policing, to paraphrase Forest Gump, is like a box of chocolates.

Letting a starstruck little boy sit in a patrol car and putting the blues ‘n’ twos on for him is not a top priority.

Stopping for a chat with a township store owner is not a top priority.

Knocking on a door to check an elderly resident is okay is not a top priority.

And enforcing a ban on cycling on Bridge Street is not a top priority.

But that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t do it.

Deal or no deal?

Some might think I have been harsh in my condemnation of Peterborough City Council for its role in the St Michael’s Gate scandal which has seen people turfed out of their homes to make way for homeless people (no matter how many times I write those last 12 words it never feels any less ludicrous).

Harsh? I don’t think so.

Harsh is what has happened to those poor people who have had their lives turned upside down and thrown out of their homes.

Belatedly, the city council has come out “fighting’’ and effectively admitted the deal they signed with a property firm is ethically wrong! I say ‘‘fighting’’ but I’m reminded of Dennis Healy’s memorable quote about his opposite number Geoffrey Howe “like being savaged by a dead sheep’’.

Councillors are still playing the victim card and peddling the line they were “forced’’ to do the deal.

If I was one of the true victims - the people who live/lived in St Michael’s Gate that attitude would enrage me.

What good are crocodile tears to families who have the emotional upset and upheaval of finding a new school for their children or elderly people ripped out of a community they felt safe and content in?

Finally, after the ink on the deal is dry, the council has written to the Local Government Association in a bid to put an end to these deals.

It’s too little. And it’s too late.

The council should never have had anything to do with this shoddy deal.

Council leader John Holdich told full council last week the “business model’’ was “ethically wrong’’ and “counter to a council’s role to ensure the wellbeing of its population’’.

It certainly is – so the question remains why did Peterborough City Council do this deal?

Diary Of A Bad Dad

I’ve not told my kids yet but I’m a bit worried Father Christmas might give Thornton Towers a miss this year. It’s not that they’ve not been good – they’ve been as good as you can expect a two- year-old and a four-year-old to be!

It’s just ours has been the house of plague for the past few months –and for the sake of his health Santa might think he can’t risk it.

Colds, coughs, tummy bugs, another cold, another cough, another tummy bug, it’s been relentless. It’s like a very unpleasant form of pass the parcel as we take it in turns to transmit bugs to one another.

I’ve probably suffered the most with Mrs T moaning about my weak immune system.

Mind you she didn’t help this week because with me and my eldest battling a tummy bug, Mrs T decided to walk into a wall and the doctor has diagnosed concussion.

“I feel a bit dizzy,’’ she complained but to be honest like most men if your wife says she’s dizzy you just think ‘so what’s new’.

I was a bit annoyed with her though as it was my turn to be ill.

I’m really hoping we can shake off our ailments before the big day. I want to be well so I can eat and drink what I like and, er, make myself feel ill!