Ruby Toogood | 20.02.2002 14:56
One board member, 'boomclick', said 'Like a lot of U75ers I have a basic antipathy towards the police, having had very few positive experiences with them and several negative ones. Brian has done his best to fit in with the tone of the boards without losing his professionalism, has listened, responded to points and made some good points himself. I have several friends who work in the drugs field, have told them about what's happening with this thread and they've signed up to the site and contributed themselves.' The editor and owner of urban75, Mike Slocombe stated 'It's rare to see a cop willing to embrace new technology and use it to reach out to a community, and with Brixton's unique set of problems, a fresh approach can only be welcomed.'
It was inevitable that sooner or later his postings, written in an informal style, would catch the eye of the press and on Monday 18th of February the Big Issue published an article on the subject which was rapidly taken up by local and national media. Remarks were quoted wholly out of context, such as this:
'The concept of anarchism has always appealed to me. The idea of the innate goodness of the individual that is corrupted by society or the system. It is a theoretical argument but I am not sure everyone would behave well if there were no laws and no system.'
This was a reply to a debate about the Brixton Movement for Justice March earlier this year, in particular to one board member's posting about her anarchist beliefs. In essence, it was the (diplomatically worded) response familiar to many anarchists "nice idea, but it'll never work". This has been used in the media to imply support for anarchism; the front page of Tuesday's Evening Standard was headlined ‘Anarchy Is Attractive, Says Yard Commander’. Former policemen and representatives of the Police Federation have weighed into the fray, calling for action to be taken against Paddick for bringing the service into disrepute. Paddick is clearly unpopular in some quarters already because of the go-easy cannabis policy. Coincidentally, it seems, he went abroad on leave as the story was breaking and is therefore unavailable for comment. It appears that the commander has not broken any disciplinary code, but Scotland Yard are reported by the Guardian as saying that they could not comment until his return as they had no way of verifying that the comments were his.
The bulletin boards experienced a massive influx of visitors on Tuesday, presumably a combination of journalists and those who had seen the story in the media. The effects of this invasion on the online community of urban75, a community which is much valued by its users, remain to be seen.
Threads from the bulletin boards:
Guns/Crack, The Commander- your opinion please- http://www.urban75.net/vbulletin/forumdisplay.php?s=&daysprune=&forumid=7&x=7&y=16
Brixton Movement For Justice March-
Lambeth LBGT Police Forum
RubyToogood (urban75 board user)