Thursday, February 22, 2007

"Police officers were not specifically deployed to direct [Tuesday night's] traffic [in Belfast]"

(c) John BaucherOn Tuesday night, I was caught up in the traffic chaos as I was headed to St George's Belfast City Airport for an evening flight across to Heathrow.

Due to that afternoon's fatal accident on the M2, my normal 5 minute / 2 mile journey across East Belfast took over an hour and twenty minutes! And that was taking side streets to get down to Dee Street to cross over the drive back up the near-empty Holywood side of the Sydenham bypass. I reached the airport car park with 10 minutes to spare before check-in closed.

Tonight's Belfast Telegraph publishes the PSNI's responses to some questions posed by the Bellylaugh's reporter. One, in particular, stands out. It officially describes the hopelessness that was felt by many of the drivers stuck in the gridlocked traffic across Belfast and its suberbs.

Question: How many police officers were deployed to direct traffic?

Answer: "Police officers were not specifically deployed to direct traffic.

The situation was such that there was no feasible alternative route with the capacity to take the volume of traffic affected by this event."

No contingency exists to cope with closing such a strategic route out of the city in the build-up to rush hour. There is no alternative to turning the streets into a car park. Helpless. Hopeless.

The photo comes (c) John Baucher, the only decent picture of the traffic chaos that I can find. Check out his excellent Flickr stream and website - I love the photo of the swarming birds over the bridge just up the road from Central Station.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like a complete disaster, but what could the police do really? The infrastructure just wasn't there to deal with that incident.

I know people who got really pissed off about it, but it was a one-off event that one couldn't really account for.

Bank Of Doge said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Alan in Belfast (Alan Meban) said...

Grumpy Old Man ... I heard that too, second hand - in fact slightly more graphically. But with respect to the dead and the bereaved family, I'll self-censure that kind of info until the coroner decides to make it public.

Thanks for dropping by though. And as a recent entrant ... welcome to the blogosphere!