It was the police who caused the chaos

By Alun Buffry

Evening News, Norwich, September 20, 1996


WHILE walking home on Saturday, September 11, I noticed a lot of police stopping people from walking down Unthank Road near Trinity Street.

In fact, I saw at least 10 van loads of uniformed police as well as several dozen further up Unthank Road and in many of the side-streets.

I know there were even more near the roundabout at the top of Grape's Hill.

Why? Apparently because a group of about 60 young people had decided to hold a street party.

While I stood and watched from behind the police barrier, they seemed to be enjoying themselves and not exactly doing any harm - apart from blocking the road, no worse than the inevitable roadworks we have seen around the city over the last few months.

While the street party people (Reclaim the Streets) were blocking off one street to traffic, the police took it upon themselves to block off a further 10 streets, to cars, and even stopped pedestrians carrying on their normal business on Unthank Road.

My friend was even threatened with arrest when she tried to explain that she wished to pass by to visit her friend. I also noticed, written on the police vehicles, the words Making Norfolk Safer.

Certainly that day many of us did not feel safe at all, not because of the street party-goers, but because of the threat of arrest from the hundred or so police there to keep an eye on the sixty or so young people.

In my opinion, which seemed to be shared by most of the onlookers, it was a gross waste of public money and police time and we deserve an explanation.

Surely if the party-goers were allowed to hold their demonstration under the watchful yet discreet eye of half a dozen police, it would have been a far more pleasant event with far less chaos and at far less cost.

It was the police who caused the chaos- and THEY were paid for it.


Alun Buffry

Mornington Road