How did we end up here then?

A group of neighbours have been told to take down their communal paddling pool in case a burglar drowns in it overnight.

Residents of a block of flats in Strood Kent, were warned the 12ft pool could pose a health and safety risk should someone try to break into a nearby home.

Officials at mhs Homes, which manages the properties, said the pool must be emptied and taken down each night to avoid such risk

50 comments on “How did we end up here then?

  1. They’ll have to carry me out laying in it.

    Let’s hope the housing association has a gender imbalance of strong young men then.

    Seriously though, this is what happens when you allow bureaucrats to run your life. Housing Association, local council – when they own your home they own you.

  2. ‘We don’t want to spoil anyone’s fun,

    The words of a weapons grade, dumb-arse jobsworth.

  3. I could not concentrate on the story, distracted as I was by the seductive creature posing by the pool. Be still, my beating heart!

    I have downloaded the second photo to post on my wall.

    As for the paddling pool, a greater danger for the unwary might be immersion in the collected effluvium of all those chavs.

  4. Ms Young said problems first arose when a security gate to the communal area broke, meaning non-residents could easily access the garden – and pool.

    So fix the damn lock.

  5. I should point out to the elf and safety inspectors that I have noticed that they lock and secure their houses when they go away.

    Are they not aware of the mental distress they are causing would be burglars? Too often, we concentrate only on the physical aspects of elf and safety, but with Theresa May and the Royals leading the campaign for mental awareness, I must ask the inspectors to leave the doors and windows of their premises open when they go away.

  6. How did we end up here?

    Same way we ended up with police that can’t knock crims off bikes or fishtail fleeing cars (might hurt the poor reprobates).

    Being too tolerant of H&S jobsworths. Not speaking up when the policies were enacted. Adhering to all the policies that have been foisted on us.

    It is police policy to not chase anyone riding a motorbike or scooter if they don’t have a helmet – in case they hurt themselves.
    Great.
    Want to get away with a mugging? Do it from a scooter, don’t wear a helmet.
    Chase them anyway. If they come off, tough. If they take the risk, they can pay the price if it goes wrong.
    Death? One less scrote to worry about
    Paralysis? they aren’t on the street causing problems for society if they’re stuck in a wheelchair
    Neither? Prison

  7. DocBud – “The words of a weapons grade, dumb-arse jobsworth.”

    Who has obviously never had his house broken into. Or he might reconsider the whole subject of drowned thieves and fun.

  8. Perhaps if they put a few coins at the bottom of the pool they would improve the chances of doing us all a favour.

  9. Whether you call it “self preservation” or “a conflict of interest”, it is the number one (unspoken) priority of any entity. That entity could be an individual or collective, it doesn’t matter, self preservation comes first.

    Because of this in-built conflict of interest, it is the cultural norm to treat an estimate from a builder with suspicion. But for some strange reason there is rarely any suggestion that others are also susceptible.

    No inspector, bureaucrat, charity, or company will ever offer a solution that involves their own demise. As a result, they must either find fault, or repeatedly change/extend their remit in order to justify their continued existence.

  10. That pool is, at most, two feet deep. What are the circumstances in which a burglar would drown in that?

  11. I wonder if the local swimming pool, as a public building, must be emptied each night in case someone breaks in and drowns.

  12. Hal,

    I saved Her Majesty and her taxpaying citizens £150 million, and prematurely terminated my contract in the process, by producing the evidence that the kit the Army wanted to buy with that money – which I was tasked to help them acquire – wasn’t effective in the places they could use it, and wasn’t usable in the places it might be effective.

    But then I was confident enough that I could land another job quickly (I did, back in the dark blue world), and a reputation for honesty is actually useful in some quarters.

  13. @Philip Scott Thomas – yep that’s a classic of modern Britain isn’t it? We can’t get it together to secure your home, but we can order you about. Because it’s easier.

  14. That pool is, at most, two feet deep. What are the circumstances in which a burglar would drown in that?

    If the resident doesn’t take his / her foot off his head.

  15. Dear Mr Worstall

    “How did we end up here then?”

    We let the lunatics take over the asylum.

    DP

  16. H & S practitioners compete to identify ever more hazards and risks, much as the politically correct compete to identify ever more layers of oppression and discrimination. And,of course, such competition means more jobs in ‘equalities’ and H & S.

    By the way, if that land whale got in the pool, most of the water would get out.

  17. Surprised no-one else noticed “The pool holds some 15,000 gallons of water and takes roughly three hours to fill.” That’s about twice the size of our 4 x 5 x 1.7m pool which takes a day or so to fill.
    So the usual order of magnitude or two of journalistic inaccuracy one learns to expect. Arts graduates eh?

  18. “Take down…” so it’s some sort of structure person-height or higher “the paddling pool”, paddling? so, it’s ankle deep, eight inches or so. Make your mind up, it can’t be simultaneously a paddling pool and a structure big enough to require “taking down”.

  19. How did we get here?

    Governments are instituted amongst men for the purpose of mutual protection. Governments get bored with that, and branch out into fun stuff like protecting the people the government was created for to protect the public from.

    They no longer have a government. It should be disbanded. Standard Ecksian terms.

  20. @Hal,

    Pournelle’s Iron Law
    In any bureaucracy, the people devoted to the benefit of the bureaucracy itself always get in control and those dedicated to the goals the bureaucracy is supposed to accomplish have less and less influence, and sometimes are eliminated entirely

  21. “How did we end up here then?”

    Is the answer ‘Because we didn’t drown enough H&S wonks in the paddling pool por encourager les autres‘…?

  22. We don’t want to spoil anyone’s fun

    Which is why we are insisting on a ludicrous ‘solution’ to an absurd problem we invented, in the hope they’ll get fed up doing it.

  23. If we had any balls, we would tip our hats to irony and make the job of health and safety inspector the most terrifyingly dangerous in the world.

  24. Pcar

    Try putting broken glass atop your garden’s walls, or even barbed wire, and Plod will soon drop by to tell you to remove it because human rights…or something.

    I planned to throw a bucket of iced water over a persistent rough sleeper (who has refused all offers of help), but I was warned that I would be prosecuted for common assault. She’s still in the same town centre doorway 10 months later, camping squalidly and stinking strongly. All the “multi-agency” efforts to deal with her have failed (unsurprisingly). She gets to do what she likes because she’s “vulnerable”…

  25. I’d have thought it was fairly obvious how we got here.

    Step 1. Householder, annoyed at burglaries, doesn’t get around to making a few safety repairs, burglar gets injured, householder gets aways with it, says “Hmmm.”

    Step 2. Householder sets up a few ‘accidents waiting to happen’ around the house, burglar gets seriously injured, householder gets aways with it, says “Yeah!”

    Step 3. Householder sets up electrified fences, bear traps, pits lines with poisoned spikes, flame-throwers, giant rolling balls of rock, and ceiling that descends if you don’t step on the floor tiles in the right order. Burglar gets fried, crushed, spiked, and dies. Judge rather disapproves of the public taking the law into their own hands and imposing the death penalty for simple burglary, but what can you do? An Englishman’s home is his Maze of Sudden Death. Householder gets away with it.

    Step 4. Householder sees that kid with the shifty eyes hanging round on the street again. Never liked him. Think he might be propositioning the daughter. Invites him in off the street, pushes him into the Maze of Sudden Death. Kid dies. Householder tells the police “He must have been burgling the place. You can’t touch me for this.” The law says “Enough is enough. No more death traps. No more ‘accidents waiting to happen’/’Sorry I forgot to fix the dangerous electrics’. We do not approve of the death penalty for simple burglary, and consider a few burglaries a better outcome socially than over-territorial maniacs getting away with wholesale murder!” Health-and-safety is applied to private property, for the protection of potential trespassers. (Or for that matter, ambulance and rescue workers, police executing a search, bailiffs, the kids checking on grandad because they haven’t heard from him in three weeks and there’s all these flies…, or other people with a legitimate reason to enter property without the owner’s permission.)

    The law is as it is because of human nature, not because we particularly like burglars.

  26. @ NiV
    In your alternative universe
    In ours we get Harriet Harman saying all girls are basically innocent so if one of them accuses you of anything you are not allowed to point out that she has stolen stuff/wrecked your house/beaten-up your helpless small child when defending yourself against a (totally false) claim that you hit her in self-defence (that she is still alive could be taken as evidence that she is lying but must be ignored).

  27. @ Theophratus
    When we moved in there was glass on top of the oldest garden wall and no-one ever commented.
    20 years later something (we’re pretty sure it was the council’s mowing machine but we can’t prove it) knocked it down and our insurance company paid some of the cost of rebuilding it.
    The glass was there to reassure the old lady who owned the house before the people before the people who sold it to us.
    Occasionally some kid kicks a football over the other wall – which doesn’t have any glass on it – and knocks on the front door asking me if I can give it back (on one occasion I couldn’t find it in the dark but he gave me his address and when I found it I delivered it to his mother).

  28. “@ NiV In your alternative universe”

    I confess I’ve long wondered if some of you guys live in a different universe to me. Nice to hear confirmation.

    “In ours we get Harriet Harman saying all girls are basically innocent so if one of them accuses you of anything you are not allowed to point out that she has stolen stuff/wrecked your house/beaten-up your helpless small child when defending yourself against a (totally false) claim that you hit her in self-defence (that she is still alive could be taken as evidence that she is lying but must be ignored).”

    Sounds a bit too much like personal history?

  29. @Niv – like your ideas at 3. Can you recommend a builder who can do this? – i presume you have personal experience ?

  30. @NiV: “We do not approve of the death penalty for simple burglary…”

    Only someone totally ignorant of the devastating impact of a burglary on an elderly person’s sense of security and safety could blithely refer to ‘a simple burglary’.

    That, or someone so consumed with glee at the chance to sneer and virtue signal that they don’t care about said impact in the slightest.

    Which one are you?

  31. JuliaM,

    Who said I was talking about an elderly person? A lot of burglaries are simple.

    And even supposing I was, are you seriously arguing that it merits the death penalty? Have you considered the devastating impact of a child’s death on the thief’s mother? Or his wife and children? Are you so consumed with glee at the idea of a burglar getting punished that you don’t care about the impact in the slightest? ‘They’re not a human being. They’re the enemy, and deserve no mercy.’ What virtues do you think that signals?

    Starving alone in their hovel as the December snows descend, the children shiver as daddy wipes the tears from his little moppet’s eyes, hugs her one last time, and goes out alone to try to find them a crust to eat from the bins behind the elderly Mr Murphy’s house in Ely…

  32. Of course it was – classic ‘Appeal to Emotion’/’Ad Hominem Abusive’. And the answer to the question was “Neither”.

  33. Well, NiV, I’m prepared to put my hand up and say, while I do not believe that the state should execute burglars, or indeed anyone, I am entirely indifferent if a scumbag burglar dies as a consequence of their own actions. In fact, indifferent is probably not accurate, if there is one less scumbag available to commit offences against my family, friends or myself, I view that as a positive.

  34. DocBud,

    Sure. All I’m saying here is that the reason for the law is that the state knows that people often think that way, and it doesn’t agree that burglary merits the death penalty.

    I’m not making moral judgements here about people feeling that way about burglars – only observing that they do.

  35. “Sure. All I’m saying here is that the reason for the law is that the state knows that people often think that way, and it doesn’t agree that burglary merits the death penalty.”

    The government exists to stop burglary. All else is dereliction of duty. Failed government.

    In my state, as well as many others, a burglar can be shot dead. Yep, that’s the law. And the perp’s family is enjoined from civil suits over it, too. Because the government exists for the common defense. Protection of burglars is not in their charter.

  36. John P,

    When we left South Africa in 1995, even as British citizens, we were not allowed to legally leave unless we had a certificate from the tax authorities. They wouldn’t actually stop you leaving, but they would stop your money leaving. It took three efforts to get that certificate, each time they upped how much we owed. Eventually, certificate in hand, we headed to the bank so we could transfer the maximum permissible amount of R200k to the UK (leaving a few thousand behind which we ended up giving to our maid).

    A couple of months later, I got a tax demand from South Africa. I sent them a copy of my tax certificate and told them very forthrightly to go and screw themselves.

  37. “The government exists to stop burglary. All else is dereliction of duty. Failed government.”

    Agreed. Exactly. That’s what I’m saying, and what I’m arguing for.

    So when criminologists argue and present evidence that prisons and punishment make the burglary problem worse, isn’t it dereliction of duty to carry on with a policy that demonstrably doesn’t work?

    Or, as usually happens when people implement a policy that their deepest beliefs say must work, and which then fails spectacularly, will they say “We didn’t go far enough! We obviously need to apply the same policy, only harder!”?

    “Also note that we don’t get many burglaries.”

    AS they say they say in Missouri, ‘Show me!’

    https://www.statista.com/statistics/232580/burglary-rate-in-the-us-by-state/

    http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/stats/Crime/Burglaries

    Which state? Where do you rank?

    Is it better than Italy? Better than the Netherlands?

  38. An American friend had his house burgled twice in 6 months (apparently, they wait until all the stolen stuff is replaced, and then come back). Of course, Tue Police never found the offenders. On returning from a holiday at home he placed signs on the front and back gates of his house, reading, “It will be assumed that anyone entering these premises as a trespasser is voluntarily surrendering their civil and human rights.” The local Police officer said it was a lawful notice, but suggested the second part, which read, “There is nothing in this house worth dying or being maimed for.” was removed.
    For the rest of his stay, no burglar went anywhere near it.

  39. “It will be assumed that anyone entering these premises as a trespasser is voluntarily surrendering their civil and human rights.”

    Interesting. So anyone can put up a sign reading “It will be assumed that anyone [doing X] is voluntarily surrendering their civil and human rights” about anything they don’t like people doing, and that’s lawful? There are all sorts of possible applications for that…

    I suspect the truth is that you can always assume what you like, but that doesn’t make it legal to act on the assumption. And I suspect the burglars know that – but there are lots and lots of houses, and lots of reasons for spreading one’s burglarous attentions more widely. Who knows?

  40. @ NiV
    “cave canem” was found in Pompeii.
    It is now illegal to keep a dog that is a danger to innocent people, such as a pitbull, but there are not YET laws against a well-trained Yorkie or an Irish Wolfhound.

  41. “It is now illegal to keep a dog that is a danger to innocent people, such as a pitbull, but there are not YET laws against a well-trained Yorkie or an Irish Wolfhound.”

    Mmm. Careful here. Under UK law, the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 applies to *any* breed of dog that is considered “dangerously out of control”. (s10. “For the purposes of this Act a dog shall be regarded as dangerously out of control on any occasion on which there are grounds for reasonable apprehension that it will injure any person or assistance dog, whether or not it actually does so, but references […] do not include references to any case in which the dog is being used for a lawful purpose by a constable or a person in the service of the Crown.”)

    The 1991 act made it an offence in any public place, and the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 extended this to include private places, including your home and garden. There is a specific exception written in for “householder cases” where the dog is inside the building of your home, and attacks or threatens someone who is a trespasser or who you (if present) believed to be a trespasser. (I think it comes under the heading of the “reasonable force” you can use to eject a trespasser.) But that doesn’t cover the garden! And it doesn’t cover people with a right to be there, like police officers executing a search warrant, so you had better train your dog to be able to read!

    https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1991/65/section/3

    I think the definition of “dangerously out of control” was intended to apply to unconfined dogs barking and growling aggressively, but you may need to ask yourself whether your “cave canem” sign gives “grounds for reasonable apprehension that it will injure any person”. I mean, that’s your intention, isn’t it?

    On the matter of first offences, “Jail early, jail often” is the advice I’ve been given, to prevent crimes becoming a habit. What do you think? Would that work?

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