Worst-Case Thinking Breeds Fear and Irrationality

Here’s a crazy story from the UK. Basically, someone sees a man and a little girl leaving a shopping center. Instead of thinking “it must be a father and daughter, which happens millions of times a day and is perfectly normal,” he thinks “this is obviously a case of child abduction and I must alert the authorities immediately.” And the police, instead of thinking “why in the world would this be a kidnapping and not a normal parental activity,” thinks “oh my god, we must all panic immediately.” And they do, scrambling helicopters, searching cars leaving the shopping center, and going door-to-door looking for clues. Seven hours later, the police eventually came to realize that she was safe asleep in bed.

Lenore Skenazy writes further:

Can we agree that something is wrong when we leap to the worst possible conclusion upon seeing something that is actually nice? In an email Furedi added that now, “Some fathers told me that they think and look around before they kiss their kids in public. Society is all too ready to interpret the most innocent of gestures as a prelude to abusing a child.”

So our job is to try to push the re-set button.

If you see an adult with a child in plain daylight, it is not irresponsible to assume they are caregiver and child. Remember the stat from David Finkelhor, head of the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire. He has heard of NO CASE of a child kidnapped from its parents in public and sold into sex trafficking.

We are wired to see “Taken” when we’re actually witnessing something far less exciting called Everyday Life. Let’s tune in to reality.

This is the problem with the “see something, say something” mentality. As I wrote back in 2007:

If you ask amateurs to act as front-line security personnel, you shouldn’t be surprised when you get amateur security.

And the police need to understand the base-rate fallacy better.

Posted on November 18, 2018 at 1:12 PM37 Comments


Clive Robinson November 18, 2018 3:17 PM

@ Bruce,

This is the problem with the “see something, say something” mentality.

Ahhh that takes me back to when the UK Met Police said carrying two mobile phones was not just suspicious, but should be reported. There was also that delightfull be aware of men with beards and bags, shortly before Xmas…

@ All in UK Midlands,

But from personal experience as a father I’d say do not take your son to play in any of the parks around Telford Town Center. The people up their working for the council are obnoxious, unpleasant and do not know or understand the law as it applies to them.

I was up staying with relatives one Xmas and took my son to play in the park by the swings whilst the ladies went on a pre-Jan sales trip. We were knocking a football back and forth when he kicked his ball down a slope and toddled of as toddlers do to get it. This pair of scruffy blokes game up to me and demanded to know what I was doing, they did not like being ask who the heck they thought they were, nor being asked to produce their lawfull authority (which they could not). They then said they were calling the police, at which point I told them I would be more than happy to help the police arrest the pair of them. It was only then did the light bulb come on very very dimly behind their eyes as I started to list some of the crimes they were committing. They were distincly unhappy when I told them the potential full tarriff (life) for malfeasance in public office… For some reason they decided to become a little more conciliatory and not call the police. However they did try the “think of the children” line to defend them selves, to which I pointed out that “following orders” was not a legal defence and demanded to know which idiot in the council had thought up the illegal policy… When they declined to say I got my mobile out and phoned the police… Who did not like the posotion they had been put in when they turned up…

Needless to say I’ve not been back to Telford and I would not advise any one to do so, based on the incompetence shown back then.

echo November 18, 2018 5:07 PM

UK police are very bad in practice. UK police have a well known discrimination problem not to mention ingrained bad habits and inability to listen. Given what I have experienced with UK police I would be surprised if they could spell “baseline” let alone know what it meant or how to apply this understanding. I would write things up differently than @Bruce and Lenore Skenazy but based on my esperiences what they say is true. The problem isn’t just the police picking on innocent people but when an innocent citizen makes a complaint against establishment people all the bad habits of the police kick in.

UK police mentality is terrible in practice when making allegations against establishment figures of malpractice in public office, harassment, fraud, and sexual abuse. UK police also rig investigations into their mishandling of cases and bullying people complaining out the door. One very very senior police officer who interfered with mycase got off and I only heard about this when I read about the result in the newspapers. They had deliberately ignored me so I never even knew an investigation was underway and my evidence and legal argument which was critical to securing a prosecution was never considered. The rest of my complaints including police harassment and assualt and perverting the course of justice have never been heard. I’ve collected so much evidence of police malpractice it’s embarassing.

Clive’s advice sounds good when telling some idiot to go away but completely fails when you’re trying to push a case and up against canteen culture. Not only in the end did I get punched in my own home by one polcie officer, I was dragged away from witnesses and slammed into a wall by another, and the last time I met the police disappeared under a squad of black flack jacketed thugs who charged into a room pout of nowhere all psyched up. An investigation of being bullied out the door by police station receptionists was, in the words of the investigating Superintendent, something which “should never have happened”. Not thatthis went anywhereas he bullied me into agreeing it was a “learning exercise” and he would fix thinsg for me before discovering? Yes, I was being shuffled out the door by one police officer who after I had spent ages negotiating giving a statement udner PACE conditions (i.e. with audio and video recording plus NGOs and social services or whover to provide support) later cancelled this meeting without telling me using some irrelevant “policy” I had never heard of and nobody sought fit to cite. Because of the technicalities and sensitivities of my case I am a vulnerable person and need special measures in place to protect me and this is how I am treated? Just look at how police treated women making rape complaints and insentiive evidence collection. Police denied any problem like the thugs they are until priorities and rules changed then polcie began treatign women better. Sadly the no-criming has crept back again as well as other nasty behaviour. It just never ends with these people.

UK police are a complete timesink. My case is about another injustice and correcting the state utterly ruining my life. Elements of this have been reported in the media and it’s a well worn story. The police go throughthe motions of telling people to bring their complainst to them but when you do they can’t move past historical bad habits and the police wonder why some cohorts never report anything to the police. Sometimes going to the police results in worse harassment and abuse than if you had never brothered.

As for court action? Look at how families are treated during inquests if it involves allegations of gross negligence against a doctor? The full force of state brutality lands on you.

Timothy November 18, 2018 5:31 PM

It must be a nightmare to be questioned about your relationship with your child by law enforcement based on the accusations of a total stranger. Perhaps a parent would be glad that such safety mechanisms were in place, but it would seem to be a frightening disincentive to spend time with your children or show them affection or discipline in the public sphere. I would think the presence and engagement of a parent, especially a father, would be a very strong protective factor for a child. If the man’s identity was not adequately protected, the speed and publicity of such an allegation could cast a shadow on his reputation and actually put his family at even greater risk for many years.

The UK’s NWG Network lists signs of CSE (child sexual exploitation). Even as we are hearing this story second or third hand, there don’t appear to be any documented signs of CSE in how the story was communicated. It would be helpful for people to be educated about these kinds of things.

On the health side of emergency services, the UK was having a problem with a small group of people over-utilizing accident and emergency (A&E) services. A group of 23 ‘frequent flyers’ had reportedly visited an A&E unit 703 times in a three month period. Some regions had sent letters of reprimand for wasting NHS’s money, or even issued anti-social behavior orders, that could result in jail time if broken. A paramedic came up with an idea to offer this group of people alternative coping mechanisms, and the emergency calls and hospital admissions dropped by about 90% among the group.

At the moment, I don’t have the statistics for misappropriated criminal allegations, but it would seem prudent to determine if there were vulnerabilities in reporting mechanisms. The recent cases of lethal swatting incidents would seem to help make this point.

echo November 18, 2018 6:09 PM


There is an NHS policy stating that where negligence or misconduct causing grave harm which reflects badly on the medical profession occurs there must be an investigation. I can assure you that even when citing this policy it goes walkies.

I have audio recordings proving A&E staff bully some patient cohorts out the door. A large part of this is their gung ho attitude. Other aspects are acting beyond their capacity, refusing to consult with the appropriate expert, and acknowledge GMC rulings and guidance on the specific medical condition let alone pick up the phone to confirm this. I also have other evidence of other patients havign doctors refusing to believe the condition exists even when the patient has very literally been bleeding on the floor in front of their own eyes. The hospital I visited has been in the media over a number of scandals and at least one court case alleging A&E staff bullying patients which failed because they had no evidence to corroborate allegations even where their case was compelling on the face of it and other evidence indications there is a problem with A&E practice across the NHS.

How can you fight this? I even have letters from an accredited expert medical professional of known standing and good repuation obtained at my own personal cost which caused financial hardship corroborating this. I can’t even get a lawyer because I’m being slapped around before I walk in the door. This expert states very clearly lawyers won’t understand the case. I do but the ego war from (mostly male) lawyers? It’s not difficult but getting a lawyer to share perspective is very difficult in reality especially if they have attitudes or a closed mind.

I’m not the kind fo eprson to turn up at A&E (or visit any other cinic) just to say “Hello” or “feel better” like I’m “worried well”. Heck oh mighty the protocol itself states any delay causes harm and I’m left feeling terrified of seeing an NHS doctor because they are known to be bad.

One clinic tried to force me on CBT and take valium when I was there to discuss professional standards and sort out the mess they had caused and discuss who bestto see for expert opinion. The only reason I was stressed is because they ignored why I was there are tried to medicalise the stress and upset I felt because of doctors bullying!

If I hear “fill in a complaint form” one more time I will scream.

Dr. Strangelove November 18, 2018 6:30 PM

What do you think will happen if you tell someone they’re fears are irrational ?

It’s a drug, worst than whatever…

People are in love with their paranoia.

What was that movie

Timothy November 18, 2018 7:38 PM


I am impressed at all the steps you are taking to audit and investigate NHS practices. You sound well-informed and very aware of the realities of the agencies mechanics, for better or worse. I sincerely hope that your persistent and dedicated efforts advance patient-care safety and raise standards for the community. Sometimes it’s been the simple things like hand-washing, vaccines, and proper record-keeping that have made all the differences for thousands of lives.

I commend you for documenting your experiences, and wonder if you will write a paper or even a book on your observations and suggestions. It seems like the most educated and experienced people often have the most to add when it comes to raising awareness and creating informed change. I think you have a very good story that will resonate with many people.

When I feel overwhelmed, I have found a couple of rocks to hold on to. There is a short video compilation from retired Navy SEAL Jocko Willink called “Good” that is pretty helpful.

Also, like we all do, I of course support protecting children where it seems they are in danger. The California Child Abduction Task Force offers a training simulation on child abduction: “The simulation will cover first responder protocol, AMBER alert, child welfare investigation, working with schools, the District Attorney’s role, international abduction, and working with non-profit organizations.” Also CATTA, the Child Abuse Training and Technical Assistance Center, provides some great resources on child protection for concerned parties as well.

Mark November 18, 2018 7:57 PM

Pity no one — politicians, councillors, the press, social workers — managed to say something over the ten years during which a Pakistani-Muslim rape gang did indescribable things to 1400 girls in Telford and Rotherham.

But let’s scramble the helicopters over a father with his daughter.

Jon (fD) November 18, 2018 9:58 PM

This is, of course, from a very similar psychological reason to those (typically in the USA) who call the cops (or start a confrontation) because black people are nearby.

The US police have problems with this as well.

Jon (fD)

Clive Robinson November 18, 2018 11:20 PM

@ Dr. Strangelove,

What do you think will happen if you tell someone they’re fears are irrational ?

The problem with the word “irrational”[1] is its use is its self not rational.

Most fears are actually quite rational but improbable.

I’m one of those people for whom lighting has indeed struck, so I know very personally it can happen. The odd thing was it happened in one of the least likely places, compared to other places I have frequented in stormy weather. That is it happened just under fourty years ago in a down poor in the middle of a small quite flat public park with two and three story houses around it and some trees in the 50-100ft range. As far as the witness and myself could remember it was the only strike of lightning (so one shot, one hit, but no kill for the lightning deity on that occasion[2]). Since then I’ve been up radio masts and in antenna fields more times than I care to remember during stormy weather, likewise sailing craft and hangong over the side of oil rigs.

I get asked from time to time “arn’t you scared” and as I point out the probability of getting hit by lightning[3] is very low in the UK about 1 in a million in the year it happened. Then I get a little naughty and say you are just as likely to get hit when sitting indoors telling somebody on the phone how bad the weather is. And if they look the particularly “sensitive type” I tell them about Roy Sullivan, who officially got struck seven times with injuries including his hair catching fire on a number of occasions. But sadly he died in bed at 71 next to his wife who was thirty years younger having apparently shot himself.

The point is what most consider “luck” good or bad is mostly probability based on random and unconected events over time.

Thus if someone does have a fear of lightning even when in doors is it “irrational”? No certainly not, it happens frequently enough for us to get “annual trends”. Is their fear improbable well at better than 1 in a million of which 4/5ths are male each year with half being indoors then you could say yes it’s improbable however at something like 1:10000 over a life time world wide… People put money in the UK National lottery with odds around 1 in 13million of wining the jackpot I would say their behaviour is clearly more improbable.

The problem with probability is not that it apparently strikes randomly, but time. At some point we know there is a distinct possability the Earth will get struck by a global life changing object from space. We know it’s happened several times before thus it’s illogical to conclude it can not happen again, especially with “Shoemaker–Levy” giving jupiter a smack back in mid 94, just to remind us. The further apart rare events happen the more effect they generally need to have to be noticed. Thus there are almost certainly events that have happened that without evidence appear to be illogical at best.

As I’ve mentioned before I’ve twice had a coin I’ve tossed land on it’s edge and it’s been withessed by others who likewise looked totally shocked. So not impossible as many would claim just apparently very unlikely or improbable to most minds, but it turns out the odds are quite low for an American nickel at about one in six thousand[4].

As I’ve had a few supposadly “impossible” things happen to me in my time, my bench mark between improbable and irrational is firstly,

    Do the laws of nature permit it?

And secondly,

    Do we know enough about the laws of nature?

The second one is, when you think about it NO, which is “why we do all the sciency stuff”.

On a side note I’m on “Drs orders” to take it easy at the moment because they have just upgraded my “Borg Implant” from a reviel to a pace maker. The cardiologist was trying to tell me my heart was doing the seemingly impossible which was sometime only beating 10 times a minute through to beating 220 times a minute. Thay thought at first it was either equipment failure or misreading… As I said back to him “It might be the reason I’ve been feeling a little under the weather rather more than usual”. His face was a joy to see, as I pointed out “improbable as it seems atleast I’m still here to show it’s possible”. What I still don’t know is if the condition has a name, if not I suspect “Robo’s twitch” would like “Boaty McBoatface”[5] be considered to lack gravitas.

My Ex has already told me I “should take things more seriously, it’s important” to which I can only reply “If you take it seriously it’s only going to frighten people and they’ve got enough problems without being scared as well”. But I will admit to taking a slightly flippant side to life, lets say it got called “Dinglefoot’s disease” my first thought would be “Who’s this Dinglefoot bod? and why’ve they given it to me?” the fact I’m sitting in a Drs office should be sufficient to say “no thanks mate, it’s not one of nature’s gifts I want, I’m quite happy with rugged, but I could stand a helping of thick wavey hair, to cut down the sun burn in summer”…

[1] definition of irrational in this case is : not logical or reasonable.

[2] If you subsequently hear I’ve died in some freak lightning storm then maybe a lightning deity does exist 😉

[3] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0169809500000831

[4] https://journals.aps.org/pre/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevE.48.2547

[5] https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jul/15/why-boaty-mcboatface-had-to-be-torpedoed-david-attenborough

Jon (fD) November 19, 2018 12:04 AM

The laws of nature permit you to flip a coin and have it not land at all. The random action of gases in the atmosphere could accelerate it to escape velocity before it hit the ground. Not jolly likely, though, and I think we know enough about the laws of nature not to worry too much about it.

Jon (fD)

PS – Stop flipping thick coins with flat sides. 😉

Wesley Parish November 19, 2018 5:04 AM

A highly relevant case is:

North and South August 1996, Pages 54 – 69
Second Thoughts on the Christchurch Civic Crèche case: Has justice failed Peter Ellis? By David McLoughlin


The irony is that New Zealand now faces a severe shortage of primary school teachers because many young men who might have otherwise have delighted in teaching children, refuse to have anything to do with the sector. Public displays of psychosis does that to people.

Rj Brown November 19, 2018 5:16 AM

Several years ago, I was working out of town and not too far from where my daughter lived at the time. On a Friday evening, we decided to get together for dinner. She chose a nice restaurant, as we both love good food. We had a good dinner and a good time. Out in the parking lot, she kissed me goodbye. Since we knew we wouldn’t see each other for months after that, we hugged each other. About that time, an elderly couple walked thru the parking lot. The woman saw us an assumed I was with a young mistress. She elbowed her companion and said “Look at that!” and made the kind of disgusted sound you would expect an old lady to make when she was indignant. I broke out laughing and so did my doughter, but had my daughter been a bit younger (she was about 30, but looked like a college coed) I could see that lady calling the police.

Gary Stevens November 19, 2018 6:26 AM

While I 100% agree with your topic it reminds me of a quote by Daniel Kahneman where he says that after studying cognitive biases for the last twenty years he’s no more able to avoid them then before he started.

At the end of the day awareness is vital, but there are some aspects of our cognition that are just too human to overcome!

Robin November 19, 2018 6:51 AM

While I think the person who reported the abduction clearly misinterpreted what they saw and over-reacted, I can’t see much wrong with the police’s actions.

Assuming that the person reporting the incident came across as reliable and credible, the police’s immediate priority is the safety and welfare of the child and in an abduction case any delay makes it increasingly unlikely that the victim will be recovered safely. So they did what the procedure says – kick off the whole media circus to get everyone keeping an eye out for the child while at the same time looking for corroboration.

In the updates a couple of hours later, the police were already cautioning that while they were still looking, no-one had reported a missing child.

The police response to this kind of incident in the UK is influenced by the James Bulger murder; a couple of people actually challenged the killers as they took the toddler across town, but were given convincing stories and no-one knew to be on the look-out for a missing child.


de la Boetie November 19, 2018 6:51 AM

Seems to me this is not a case of police not understanding the base rate fallacy, it’s far more the SOP of CYA. They’ll be criticised whatever, so if they’ve made a very public display of looking, then that job is done regardless of outcome.

And it’s the public who’s at fault because they’ve bought the underlying ideological narratives.

Far more pernicious in the UK has been the destruction of the presumption of innocence and common law in sexual offences prosecution, the auto-belief of the accuser, and the failure to bring timely prosecutions and the disastrous evidential failings.

As noted above for NZ, UK Primary school education is now dominated by women teachers (85%), with a contribution to that being men’s vulnerability to specious allegations (with the base rate being tiny).

I can recommend Gigerenzer’s books on Risk as being a helpful antidote in a number of real-world problems. But politicisation of Fear (as noted in the above articles) doesn’t give a hoot for that.

de la Boetie November 19, 2018 6:54 AM

@Robin – indeed the Bulger murder is seared into peoples’ memory, as is the disappearance of Madeline McCann.

Statistically, both illustrating the problems of the Salience effect, whereas such cases are extremely rare.

TimH November 19, 2018 9:15 AM

If I was walking alone and saw a solitary child crying, I would not approach to assist. The scenario puts me as the predator to a casual observer. Double my risk once if the child has a different skin colour, again if under the age of about 8, again if a pretty very young girl…

And a small piece of advise from a colleague in UK who’s sis is a cop: if there’s a situation, always be the one who calls the cops, because you are by presumption the vic not the perp.

Men in Black November 19, 2018 10:26 AM

a man and a little girl … obviously a case of child abduction

There is a certain “child molestation” culture in Britain, especially in large cities like London, which is heavily propagandized by the tabloid papers and enforced by Mob rule.

It’s a base human female desire to mate with a male, and then have him tortured, mutilated, and locked up in prison away from her and her kids as soon as she has found a new mate. Like Delilah with Samson in the Bible.

The men at the top of the British social hierarchy use this “child molester” trope and enforce it as a way to keep male commoners down and in their place.

In any case, a man cannot appear in public with a little girl in Britain, because that is an offense to their culture of male dominance and keeping women in the kitchen encumbered with cooking, cleaning, and childcare. So a man taking care of a little girl is seen as a traitor to a male-dominant culture.

vas pup November 19, 2018 10:59 AM

“Some fathers told me that they think and look around before they kiss their kids in public. Society is all too ready to interpret the most innocent of gestures as a prelude to abusing a child.”
Yeah, same in US. Many years ago I’ve been with my sister and her daughter (she was 6 years old). I was with them standing in a registration line for their departure to Continental European country of their residency. When their turn was up for registration, I kissed my sister, an my nice was asking: why you are not kissing ME as you kissed my mom? You don’t like me or what? I show her several police officers around the line and whispered in her ear: I love you dear very much, but here we have crazy rules and they could consider this kiss good bye (definitely NOT in the child lips!) as abusing a child.

Robin November 19, 2018 11:13 AM

@Men in Black

“In any case, a man cannot appear in public with a little girl in Britain”

I have a two and a half year old daughter, who I took everywhere with me for the first couple of years of her life and I can say that from my own experience, that statement is not true.

@de la Boetie
I’m pretty sure that the police are perfectly aware that the threat of child abduction from a shopping centre is not a common one. However once one has been reported by a credible witness, the risk of harm to a child arising from it is very high and merits an urgent response. They can always back the response down when it becomes apparent that no child is missing, but they can’t get back that vital first hour of investigation if it turns out to be real and they waited.


de la Boetie November 19, 2018 11:51 AM


“once one has been reported by a credible witness, the risk of harm to a child arising from it is very high” – that simply isn’t true. The witness was nominally credible, and not apparently malicious. But the base rate for this is tiny. It virtually never happens. What scenario would realistically lead this to happen in this way? It doesn’t happen.

And then, we’re comparing conflicting demands on resources, where you might have somebody stabbed because the police were off responding to this absurd eventuality Because of the Kids. The police cannot take a rational choices in this kind of case because they’re hot-wired to respond. Plus, sending up a helicopter is very expensive, you’d be better off (objectively) funding more police staff, for example.

I agree with you by the way in having no problem being with my young daughter in public (although that was some time ago), that’s hyperbole in the other direction. What I can report is that I have declined doing various pro bono work with teaching kids various skills because it’s not worth the risk or the auto-presumption of being a perv.

Faustus November 19, 2018 1:08 PM

@ Timothy

Thank you for the sweet link about the paramedic who diverts people with frequent issues away from Emergency Services so the services can do their work, while still providing the sufferers appropriate, in fact MORE appropriate, care.

It’s no fun going to Emergency or the clinic and I am sure these people are authentically distressed, if not literally ill. A punitive reaction towards them is just mean. It really does my heart good to read of someone modeling a caring and effective response to their troubles.

I also liked the Jocko pep talk. It has a militaristic tone which could put some people off, but he lays out an eminently helpful attitude towards adversity. It’s been a tough couple of weeks and it helped me.

Timothy November 19, 2018 3:34 PM


I appreciate that you found value in the links. Having effective care is so important.

Yes, it does seem to have a little bit of a military flair. Interesting thing is that he has a bachelor’s degree in English and often reads and talks about military history books and interviews a variety of interesting people on his podcast. He has also written a few books, including some kids books. Thank you for taking the time to listen and respond. I’m so glad it helped you.

echo November 19, 2018 6:14 PM


The new Stalking Protection Bill does not go far enough according to the Sussex police and crime commissioner (PCC), herself a victim of stalking. Katy Bourne said she was failed by the police and prosecutors when she reported her own case. She argued the issue of stalking was routinely trivialised and shrouded by misinformation – saying it is regarded as a “nuisance rather than a crime” and prosecutors fail to understand the patterns of behaviour tied to stalking.

This comment shows very clearly how police and prosecuters fail by misunderstanding issues resulting in trivialisation and treating citizens as a nuisance.


blockquote>The Conservative politician said that while she fully supports the Stalking Protection Bill, more work needs to be done to address the “insidious crime”.

She said: “There is no legal definition of stalking, meaning it is very difficult for people to pin down what the crime is. Different agencies use different terminology to describe it, making it harder to address.

“I fully support the bill, but while legislation is important, it is equally important to see how the bill is understood and applied. We need to work with police and prosecutors and all agencies across the board to give the public the confidence to come forward. There is always more that needs to be done. We can’t afford to be complacent.”



This is exactly it and exactly the kind of conversation I wanted myself with the police and in fact very clearly told them so and explained the reasons why. The police no-crimed me and refused to review the legal argument and evidence I had without even looking at it let alone considering it. When a number of critical points I was raising turned out to be true the police skipped past denying it and just completely ignored it like I had never said it.

There’s much more I could go on about but it essentially boils down to police being overtly lazy and not wanting to do any work to using my home as a pitstop for a teabreak (and not do any work) as things escalated to the point where I was ganged up on and assaulted on multiple occasions with complaints and internal affairs and any checks and balances completely failing including one very definately mandatory investigation turning into bullying and very inapprioriate contact instigated by the guilty officers and the whole thing going walkies.

I also have an outstanding complaint against my PCC who used my complaints for their own purposes and instantly forgot about me the second they got what they wanted plus they took their eye of the ball over the IPCC investigation and let it slip. I have emails proving they gave me the cold shoulder when I chased things up them. It is very definately an issue of discrimination which under the circumstances is very sad.

I feel very shocked by how the police and IPCC and PCC treated me. I was used and abused an ultimately never even had a case number. I was asked about this by one police officer who said I should have had one but I never did. I wouldn’t be surprised if none my complaints ever made any totals the police have to reportfor monitoring and discrimination purposes.

“Harassment charges are less serious than stalking – there is a difference in the sentence – and the defendant will plead guilty to harassment if they agree to drop the stalking. It is a prevalent problem,” she said.

UK police ignore harassment allegations if they are against establishment people.

“We have developed a new protocol with police which means a fundamental shift in how we deal with cases – this includes considering if they involve stalking from the outset. It also emphasises the need to properly record, identify and investigate offences of stalking and harassment.”

The police are already supposed to do this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wesley Parish November 20, 2018 5:13 AM

@usual suspects

It might be worth mentioning that the fearsome irrationality of the Civic Creche Case worried me as something unaccountable for many years.

But I opened a book titled The Great Ape Project one day, as part of my research for a novel I was trying to write concerning Genetically Engineered and Modified (GEMed) humans (I was wanting to get the primatology aspect absolutely right: I’ve had a gutsful of writers writing stories about werewolves, to take one example, who have no knowledge of either humanity or wolves.). And I found in the first article, an incident where a volunteer at a chimpanzee sanctuary in Florida iirc, had made friends with a male chimpanzee who shared an island with two female chimpanzees, and one of them had a child. The volunteer accidentally spooked the child one day, and the two female chimps proceeded to beat him up. He only survived because the male chimp fended the female chimps off.

It sounded so like the Civic Creche Case that I was gobsmacked. The only major difference was that in the Civic Creche Case the vigilantes were male as well as female. So the three or more million year effort of the females of the species to domesticate and tame the male of the species has borne fruit of some sort.

Me November 20, 2018 9:21 AM

This is one of the things I don’t like about being a man that likes children.

I was told by my mother to be careful with talking to kids because people will think that I am a predator. Why? Because apparently the only men that like to interact with children are predators. WTH! Can we stop the planet? I’d like to get off.

Erdem Memisyazici November 20, 2018 7:17 PM

There is also the psychological aspect to keep in mind. Professor Philip Zimbardo had a wonderful experiment on the matter where once egos settle in an authority structure whether that’s a prison or a cult morality gradually goes out the window without even the most sober minds noticing. If your job is to find terrorists, you are subconsciously trying your best to find one. As your moral superiority settles, you may find that even manufacturing that evidence is acceptable so long as the system allows it. It’s a meat grinder after all, you are but an insignificant piece of a machine just trying to keep the status quo and we get things like that chap who was drunk and got gunned down by a police officer screaming at him to crawl in a hotel corridor. Remember that lady officer who broke into a guy’s house and shot him thinking it was her house? It never even occurred to her to look around, a criminal was sitting in her house. We must understand that no situation where a person is in constant contact with another person with all the power over their lives is devoid of corruption. We must try not to give authority super powers over citizens telling them to weed out the bad ones. Bad things will happen, and we will solve them after they do, not before.

CallMeLateForSupper November 21, 2018 10:19 AM

@Rj Brown

I am laughing along with you & daughter, because a very similar thing happened to me.

One of my sisters is 4 years younger that I. Our brother is ~16 years younger than I. Away-y-y back in the 1960’s, said sister asked me for a lift to the mall to shop for some shiny treasure that she and all other 15 year old girls apparently viewed as de riqueur. So I bundled up said brother, my ever loyal “navigator”, and told Mom that he and I had urgent business at the mall.

Even at 3, brother knew where the toys lived. As soon as we entered the store, his feet were pounding toward the main isle. Sister and I paused briefly just inside the door to arrange rendezvous time, then she was off as well. And that is when I overheard two older women (whom I had noticed appraising us): “Isn’t that little boy darling?” And the other said, “Yes… but she is so YOUNG!”

The mall was across a four-lane highway from a US Air Force base. So, naturally, the ladies concluded 1) AF personnel and 2) the 20yo male and 15yo girl had a 3yo son. Confirmation bias.

Sister and our parents were extremely amused. Mom liked to tell the story to other AF wives. The story is family lore to this very day.

echo November 22, 2018 2:10 PM


A friend wanted to go shopping. On the way back we stopped off somewhere so she could have her drink and sandwiches. As things turned out an old work acquintance of hers was passing and asked if I was her mum! Ooh, talk about 20 something year olds rubbing it in. I’m not that old!

Before any man asks me my age it is a well known SCIENTIFIC FACT there isn’t a woman alive over the age of 40. This is my excuse and I’m sticking with it.

Clive Robinson November 22, 2018 5:07 PM

@ echo,

… it is a well known SCIENTIFIC FACT there isn’t a woman alive over the age of 40.

Odd, I thought it was 21…

In the past when I could get away with it, I used to ask the question “At what age does a woman cease wishing to look older and start wishing to look younger.

It kind of remained an open question untill Sara Cox[1] went on Room101 and asked for all nubile 19year olds to be banned as a major threat to human society… The host pointed out she had at 19 been a nubile model in Japan, and the reply that came back that started “I know…” I’m sure raised more than a couple of eyebrows 😉

As for men, well some of the younger ones are worse than women these days. I blaim that Gandi bloke[2] personally, apparently “mens cosmetics” are outselling women’s cosmetics because of him and that Beckham person… It’s got so bad somebody pointed out to me the other day that “beard oil” is selling rather better than Brent Crude, and in way way smaller barrels at twice the price… And there was me thinking a good rib down in warm Yorkshire chippy beef dripping was all that was needed 😉

That said, for years now I’ve been a little bit older than my teeth. But sporting and other activities[3] have left me with broken roots and cracks which means at some point I’m either going to end up looking like “Nanny Ogg” or be a great deal older than a set of acrillic nashers care of some dental lab.

[1] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sara_Cox

[2] No not the lad who put the spining wheel in the Indian flag, the other one called David. He got stuck up on the sides of busses in his underpants, I’m sure you remember him 😉

[3] It’s not just my teeth that got cracked and broken, it was more than a few bones which is why I tend to audibly creak when the weather is on the change… One sporting activity was racing sail boats, few realise just how much energy can be transfered from a boom to the side of your head, till they’ve been lifted clear out the boat unconscious from the impact.

echo November 23, 2018 8:13 PM


Or 45?

Watch the video to discover a plausible deniability for carry one red and one white die plus a comment on age and nerdy behaviour and future success.

Psychological illusionist Derren Brown shocks James and the Studio 56 audience with only a pair of dice, a series of numbers, and 45 grains of rice.

Wesley Parish November 25, 2018 9:14 PM

@usual suspects

Another highly relevant case that came to mind generated this joke (amongst Kiwis: I don’t know if Poms ever heard it) : Q: what is the quickest way to bring up an Australian baby? A: Stick your fingers down a dingo’s throat.

I’m talking about the Azaria Chamberlain case in Australia in 1980.

I knew it was going to be biased against them when I heard over the radio someone alleging that Azaria meant “Sacrifice in the wilderness” when I knew that Azaria was a Hebrew name meaning something like “The Lord is my help/strength”.

When I arrived in New Zealand later, Kiwis tended to see the hysteria as an Australian fault. But then after the Civic Creche case, I think neither side of the Tasman can claim anything.

Clive Robinson November 26, 2018 3:14 AM

@ Wesley Parish,

I don’t know if Poms ever heard it

Trust me we probably “co-invented” it at the time within oh probably twenty minutes of the news arriving…

The UK has a colourful history of “dead baby” jokes of which there must be thousands[1] and similar[2]. But the thing with ingestion continues with the oft heard,

    I like children but I don’t think I could eat a whole one

Comment where the “rug rats” are being noisy.

Though recent news suggests there may be a factual basis for the munching of minors by minors. A mother was reportedly horrified that her child in a ball play feature was repeatedly bitten by another child sufficiently hard that blood flowed from multiple bites…

As for names and their aledged meanings, a quick look online shows how things can get not “lost” but “augmented” in translation. There is a Welsh name that means “bringer of strength” that some English chose to misrepresent as “brutish/barbarian” a few centries back when the “politics” was right.

[1] The well known author Sir Terry Pratchett was a known collector of such humour, as well as other jokes that would produce the “Ow yuck” response in those of even moderately sensitive sensibilities.

[2] What goes from green to red at the touch of a switch? Kermit in a liquidizer.

Jared Clarke June 6, 2019 3:30 PM

We live in such a knee-jerk society now, where as pointed out, people think the movie “Taken” is reality, and actual reality isn’t.

Parent identity cards on their way, for safety of the children of course.

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