It is rather ironic that, despite the alleged shortage of police on the beat, the complaints about unnecessary paperwork and bureaucracy slowing down "real" policing, Nanny's finest recently managed to find the time and resources to arrest Keith Hirst a 54 year old plumber with a heart condition.
He was accused of dropping and apple core.
He was arrested by five police officers, taken to a police station, had his DNA and fingerprints taken and spent 18 hours in a police cell.
During his "sojourn" he twice needed to be seen by a doctor, after complaining about dizziness and chest pains.
Mr Hirst, from Swinton Manchester, was not best pleased with his experience.
"The way I was treated you would have thought I had robbed a bank.
My family are law-abiding people and I would help if I saw a gang of yobs attacking a police officer.
But this kind of incident does not help in improving relations between the community and police."
The story begins on 21 April, when Mr Hirst said that he was tapped on the shoulder by a police community support officer as he walked to the chemist at lunchtime.
The plastic policeman accused him of dropping an apple core (which Mr Hirst denied), and demanded his name and address.
Mr Hirst said:
"He was an overzealous young lad baying to give me a ticket.
I told him I was on my way to the shops, but would be walking back that way if he wanted to speak to me later. He followed through the precinct to the chemist.
When I came out there were five police officers surrounding me. I said I had done nothing wrong and so was not telling them who I was.
The most senior police officer said they would have to take me into custody."
Mr Hirst was arrested for refusing to pay a £50 on-the-spot fine and taken to Swinton police station before being eventually taken to the magistrates' court in handcuffs.
His wife, Glynis, who is disabled and cared for by her husband, did not know what had happened until 10.45pm on the day of his arrest.
"My daughter had been ringing hospitals as we thought something had happened to him."
The charge of obstruction has been dropped. However, but Mr Hirst still faces a trial for littering, which he denies, in July.
Supt Ian Palmer, of Greater Manchester Police, said:
"Littering is an offence and GMP work tirelessly to ensure the streets are not only safe but also clean."
It is indeed an offence.
However, there surely is such a thing as a "proportionate" and "common sense" response to whatever crime is being alleged?
Is this really an effective use of GMP's scarce resources?
Are there no other crimes in Manchester that are more deserving of the time and effort of 5 police officers?
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