back to article North Wales Police institute new happiness law

Police in North Wales are road-testing a new offence: it's called "failing to make a police officer happy". That, at least, is the conclusion that some viewers might draw from a recording posted earlier this week by biker mag, Motorcycle News (MCN). Penalties for not satisfying the copper contentment quota include possible …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Attempted to elicit?

    He volunteered the details of the firearms vehicle when he identified that vehicle to be one.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    NWP are not very nice in my opinion

    I live in North Wales and this sounds pretty realistic... Due to the almost complete absence of gun crime here, the armed police spend their days picking on motorists, usually in a Ford Galaxy. They are total arseholes in my experience (been stopped numerous times by them), totally uncooperative and utterly non-understanding. Without exception the pettiest and most officious people I've ever had the misfortune to come across.

    Posting anon, because I have enough problems with them already.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    don't hold your breath

    There's a very good reason that the police have lost all respect from the public and that's because they have proven themselves to be untrustworthy in answering to the general public.

    Police officers close ranks and invent all these tenuous (at best!) reasons for their illegal actions and then strangely no action is taken against them.

    They are clearly above the law which is meant for us "civvies." They don't have to be bothered with such incidents.

    In my local force area, a youth was knocked down and killed by a police officer - his fate? Having to undergo a training course.

    There is no justice in the UK anymore.

  4. Graham Marsden

    How do we know it was an undercover firearms vehicle?

    Well, because the officer kept repeating this fact!

    Perhaps if he hadn't *said* anything about it, his safety would not have been put at risk...?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Friday afternoon comedy at its best

    "- If he has committed an offence, will the police Force be taking action?"


    Oh my sides ache,

    Keep it up el Reg.

  6. JMB

    Police steal camera

    Surely the photographer would not have been aware that it was a firearms vehicle if they had not told him, it would just be a picture of a police car? If anyone is endangering their safety it is the plod who identified it as a firearms vehicle.

  7. SuperTim

    You thought the MET was bad.

    I have had the misfortune to deal with the north-wales police and i can confirm that they make the MET look like a bunch of tree hugging hippy peaceniks. I was stopped for travelling at 30mph in a 30 limit while carrying passengers in passenger vehicle. They will do anything to give you a ticket so they inspect vehicles over and over to find any issue. Fortunately they couldnt find anything wrong, but i still got a "producer" as i didnt have all my documents to hand.

    I can understand them targeting bikers (as they tend to fly about northwales with scant regard to others), but then to claim to be in a "firearms car" and use that to snatch a camera (definately not kosher) is typical of the facist bullyboyos!

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    An aside

    The next three weeks I will be in the UK and will be taking as many photos as I see fit. My last visit passed without incidence but every time I read of such things I wonder if I should just not bother and stay where I am.

  9. asiaseen

    Wouldn't it save

    lot of bother all round if the Met firearms officers pixellated their own faces? And WTF is a firearms vehicle? A James Bond style Z-Car? (I can't believe there were 667 episodes)

  10. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Tie in with Disney?

    > by agreeing to pixellate the faces of police marksmen. Head of CO19

    Couldn't the police just issue their snipers with Mickey Mouse masks? That way there'd be no possibilty that one might not get pixelated. it might not keep the other constables happy (or maybe it would - who knows?) but would certainly entertain the public.

    It may even act as a deterrent to any baddies who end up in the cross-hairs. Imagine having to admit to other prisoners (presuming the sniper in question was a crap shot) that they'd been shot by a mouse!

  11. Ebeneezer Wanktrollop
    Thumb Up


    I live in North Wales although I am a car driver and don't own a bike. Regardless, the fat, lazy,bullied as a child, micropenis equipped wankplods still sit on their arses in inconspicious places targetting said drivers so they can deliver their devine retribution upon the driving population as a feel-good fix for the slovenly, childish, can't get a girlfriend coz I'm such a twat bastards that they are!!!

    I don't like them much.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    No Supprise

    It Seems the police in have an anti motor bike policy.

    I would like to say the Met. have been very supportive of demonstrations though. Oh if you pay the sight a visit give them a tener they are trying to take Westminster Council to court over the Councils decision to charge motor bikes to park and need the cash.

  13. Martin Lyne

    Please don't read this comment

    You can't take a photo of this comment, becuase it is a plainly visible secret. Oh wait.. damn.

  14. Dave Murray

    Good to see you support MCN

    In my recent experience the Police in this country are useless at catching actual criminals who commit crimes like GBA or Sexual Assault and spend all their time harassing decent citizens. We need more journalists to get behind campaigns like this one and show the general public that it isn't just "evil" bikers that have a problem with the police but anyone who wants to live in the free country we used to have.

  15. Aleksis


    Armed Response Vehicles are advised by ACPO to display a retro-reflective yellow dot on them (sides, rear, roof) so they can be distinguished from normal traffic cars by other plods.

    Seems strange to identify them, and then claim that identifying them could be dangerous to security...

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    North Wales Police

    Do have a very bad reputation. They do now have a problem... Getting on the wrong side of bikers is never a good thing. They will scream and shout until somthing is done, and will vote on mass to change things if needed.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters


    This is somewhat unsurprising. The NWP have been targeting motorcyclists unfairly for ages. Brunstrom, the head of police (He was retiring last I heard, may have done so now, but possibly not. If so, his legacy lives on) has admitted he hates bikes and bikers on several occasions. NWP have even been causght falfifying evidence, and following bikes in a helicopter <i>on the offchance</i> they <i>might at some point</i> speed.

    Having said that, I know that some bikers do ride irresponsibly, and the A55 is an inviting road to do so on. I have no problem with them catching people who ride/drive recklessly, but they ignore speeding cars in case they miss a biker.

    Anon. As I do ride myself, which would likely mean I get hit with a ticket for speeding in NW. Dispite the fact I have never ridden there.

  18. caffeine addict

    Firearms cars are hardly secret...

    Round here all fire arms cars are estates (normally Volvos) with tinted windows and a fecking great neon pink star on the bonnet, bootlid and roof. Hardly hiding from those evil terrorist photographers, now are they...?

  19. FFred

    Firearms car ?

    WTF is a firearms car ?

    Has Q been selling his wares on eBay ?

    As a semi-pro photographer, wherever I go a few cameras follow. Astoundingly, so far I haven't been arrested in Britain. Maybe I ought to go to Wales.

    Because it's so obvious that "terrists" will go about with a big DSLR and a discrete 70-200 in order to get the sharpest possible pictures. And then they'll probably upload them to Flickr's "Terror" group too... So much better than a quick sketch.

    Now I think the police just do what they're told to (and a lot of them, not being too bright to start with, just go ahead with that), but the real problem is whoever starts them on that track. Those people are often elected officials, and are obviously not playing with a full deck. They should be put away (or preferably taken back and shot).

  20. Anonymous Coward

    I am not a terrorist

  21. The BigYin

    Anti-bike Police

    The Welsh police have a long and glorious history of being anti-bike. OK, some bikers don't help matters with loud cans, small plates and riding like total dicks, but other forces seem to deal well enough with it (i.e. targeting the dicks and leaving the rest alone).

    Heck, up here you even get a nod or wave from the bike cops.

    Whilst MCN is at times...err...confrontational, I think they are quite justified with their current campaign. Why target law-abiding citizens when there are criminals about?

    Brunstrom seemed to think he was above the law and that appears to have filtered down to the rest. It unfortunate as lots of other forces have good relationships with the biking community (lots of coppers are bikers too), but NWP are just pissing in everyone's pot.

    There's a simple answer though, don't enter Wales; take your money elsewhere.

  22. Christoph

    How can I tell?

    If it's illegal for me to take a photo of firearms cars, how am I to identify them so that I know not to take a photo?

    If the police want to enforce this they should put large, plainly visible notices on all sides of such vehicles, saying "THIS IS A FIREARMS CAR. IT IS ILLEGAL TO TAKE PHOTOGRAPHS OF IT."

    After all such notices are used elsewhere, so there is no excuse not to do so.

  23. Wokstation

    Have a look in their comments section

    You'll see someone claiming to be that police officer, behaving most unprofessionally.

  24. Anonymous Coward


    replace Bikers with Asians in your post and you might spot what was wrong with your post.

  25. Tom yng Nghymru
    Thumb Down

    Dyfed Powys aren't much better

    Dyfed Powys came up with a stop all bikers thing a few years ago. Ended up stopping the same bloke, on his way to work from Brynaman to Swansea, every day for a week. The bloke was on the front of the local rag holding all of his producers.

    Also - got stopped, for a reason that was never made clear to me, just outside of Llandovery. Plod then had a field day when he found that the car was registered to the G/Fs mum. Of course plod was deflated when he found that the car wasn't reported stolen, was taxed and MOTed, I was insured to drive it, had no defects and after several phone calls confirmed that she knew I was driving the car (I was dropping something off for her).

    After this whole thing I was told by Plod - "Don't do it again". When I asked what I had actually done wrong, and should not do again, Plod replied "That" and got in his car and drove off.

  26. Graham Marsden

    @The BigYin

    > There's a simple answer though, don't enter Wales; take your money elsewhere.

    Unfortunately if bikers do that, the Police will have won, since they'll have succeeded in driving the bikers out of "their" area.

    Not only that, but it will give ammunition to other attempts to "protect" bikers from themselves such as the campaign to ban bikes from the A537 "Cat and Fiddle" ride in the Peak District.

    The only way for bikers to win and, indeed, everyone who respects liberties and the rule of law (rather than the "rule of Police State") is to stage *more* of these rides and point out how much time and public money the Police are wasting harassing innocent riders.

  27. Anonymous Coward

    Brunstrom and bikers

    It is well known that Richard Brunstrom has ruined North Wales police by making it into a revenue creating machine. He has admitted that he loves speed cameras, probably goes to bed with them. We have been caught by his police vehicles which just wait for those going over 30mph. We were caught going at 33mph just 10 metres before the national speed limit signpost and got 3 penalty points and 60 pound fine!

    Maybe everyone on the Reg will want to read this article from the BBC Wales news on Richard Brunstrom's attitude to motorbikes where he showed journalists accident photos which shows a decapitated head:

  28. Anonymous Coward

    Welsh police

    Was it not the Welsh police who also harassed WRC drivers at the Wales GB Rally?

  29. Anonymous Coward

    About Brunstrom..

    He's left now, went a month or two ago. His deputy has been filling in until he retires any day now and a new guy has been chosen.

    To give you an idea of what the police are like here, one idea being mooted is actually BANNING bikes from Snowdonia National Park - for those that don't know, that's a fecking big place. Utterly bonkers and impractical, but that doesn't normally stop our beloved Heddlu Gogledd Cymru

  30. Pete 6


    I've never had any issues with NWP or any other force, but it's just a matter of time I'm sure, Even if my bike is 100% legal, correct size plate and original exhausts and all.

  31. Anonymous Coward


    Simple, a 5 leg star shape marks out ARV's, some (most of the new) AFO's are rightious idiots, certainly a number of photog's have had similar bullshine foisted upon them... Thats why they are known as 'The Kevlar Cowboys' in the job.

  32. The Beer Monster


    Has been targeting bikers for eons. In his eyes (and the eyes of Ass Con Bill Holland of Warwickshire) we are obviously lower than a snakes belly.

  33. The Beer Monster

    Oh, I forgot...

    Hope you don't mind, but this article has now been linked to in the forums at:


  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    And at the same time the filth couldn't give a shit if you're being tormented to breaking point for years

    The other day I was strolling home when a trio of pussies walked past, turned and lobbed concors at me. I did of course give them the finger and inform them they threw like girls. Where they limp wristedly threw two more before skulking back down the road.

  35. Anonymous Coward

    Sounds Like Extreme Porn

    "A picture containing the registration number of a firearms vehicle might fall into this category."

    As others have pointed out, if there's a security risk from photos of that vehicle being seen, wouldn't that mean there's a security risk from the vehicle itself being seen? Otherwise, how could there be a security risk from people seeing photos of it?

    If showing the registration number is a security risk, isn't there already that security risk from the vehicle itself displaying its registration number? If not, how can it be a security risk in photos?

    If it is as speculated in the article (and I accept it's just speculation), then it would be as silly as the extreme porn law criminalising possession of harmless photos of lawful acts.

    So, we've got:-

    * the Sexual Offences Act 2003, which amends the Protection of Children Act 1978 so that, while you can legally have consensual sex with a seventeen-year-old, it's generally a crime to possess a dirty photo of someone that age;

    * the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008, which criminalises possession of "extreme pornographic images", even though many such images do no harm, do not form part of any actual, illegal abuse, and are images of entirely lawful acts;

    * and we've got the Coroners and Justice Bill, working its way through parliament, which will criminalise possession of "prohibited images of children", including dirty drawings of the aforementioned seventeen-year-old who you can legally have consensual sex with.

    And now we've got this nonsense as well, with police objecting to photos of the police themselves shown as they appear in public anyway.

    There's a growing theme these days of banning harmless images of lawful stuff, stuff you can lawfully see with your eyes without any harm being done.

    This is just insane.

  36. Flossie
    Black Helicopters

    Llanberis pass

    The speeds being done by some of the Bikers going over the Llanberis pass last sunday were nothing short of frightening. For those who haven't been there, it's narrow (for an A road) and on a mountain ledge. The slightest mistake and you're either into the wall/cliff face or tumbling down a very steep slope. If the police want to catch dangerous bikers, this would be a great place to hang out, but i've never see a police officer there ever, obviously they are far too busy hassling the innocent elsewhere.

  37. raving angry loony


    I hope that El Reg keeps up the pressure on these police-state-wannabees making up the rules as they go along. I don't expect anyone will get disciplined for making up the rules - after all, the police is never wrong as far as they're concerned - but it would be nice to get at least an official statement from someone that we can tear apart and ridicule.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Maybe just an unmarked car?

    Perhaps it was just an unmarked police car (if it's the one visible in the picture) and he didn't want its number publicized, but didn't think that would sound good enough?

    I once got stopped (not on a bike) in Cambridgeshire by a black plod with a Welsh accent. No doubt he helped them meet two quota targets at least.

  39. Mr Bear

    Call the coppers

    I'd have called the police and said that I was being robbed by some someone impersonating a police officer. After all a real police officer wouldn't steal your camera.

  40. Anonymous Coward

    Something Useful from the Home Office

    Last month the Home Office issued some reasonably straightforward guidance in this circular:

    It has recently been circulated in my force (yes, I'm a police officer), and I genuinely hope it counters some of the ignorance and misinformation I've encountered.

    If you see me on the beat you're welcome to take my picture. Might crack the lens mind.

    PC AC

    (Badgers, because the Badgers Act comes up in the Sergeants exam every year. Believe me, I know)

  41. Anonymous Coward

    and brits think us types are crazy

    For wanting and keeping their guns. Time to take your country back, boyo.

  42. Jason DePriest


    Happiness is mandatory, citizen.

    Are you happy?

  43. Petrea Mitchell

    Firearms vehicle?

    Another confused foreigner here, wondering what a firearms vehicle is and why it needs to be so carefully protected. I mean, it sounds like something which is perfectly capable of taking care of itself should a terrorist happen to show up...

  44. Anonymous Coward


    is so reviled by retired North Wales Police plod of all levels that they're practically queueing up to write letters to the regional press castigating him for the laughing stock he turned their once-proud force into, and for destroying the public's trust. On his retirement he gave a parting shot at the force, saying that prior to his arrival the force was afraid of tackling high-profile organised crime:

    His "Look at me, aren't I wonderful, the force was crap before I turned up and now it's the best" went down like a lead balloon.

    That's not to say that Dyfed Powys aren't much better. They've TWICE managed to get a biker rally cancelled - one at the last minute I seem to recall - because of concerns they had about a potential riot taking place between various factions, but had no firm evidence to back this up. Did anyone say "free country"? Is this what some of my relatives fought and died for in the past two world wars?

  45. OrsonX


    South Wales phrase = FYI

  46. Anonymous Coward

    I have three words for ya' lot...

    "Policing by consent."

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    North Wales Police

    A few years ago I had to go to Wrexham Police Station to install a new computer and software, the DS who I was installing the stuff for was kind enough to give me the following advice the day before I went.

    "When you get into Wales watch out for the Traffic Police, they are all c*nts."

  48. dervheid

    yet another symptom...

    of our (not so) gradual slide towards a totalitarian police state.

  49. Serenity
    Black Helicopters

    A thought with the camera issue

    I'm on the other side of the pond, so I don't know about the practicalities and likely response, but it seems to me that a flash mob approach could be an entertaining way to deal with the police seizing cameras issue.

    Arrange for 20-30 people to show up around a cop or police car, take their picture and then immediately disperse in different directions. Do it enough times, don't hang around longer than necessary to take the shot and pick isolated cops and you ought to make your point pretty fast.

  50. Armus Squelprom

    A major clean-up is needed.

    It will take decades, or a very substantial civil insurrection, to move the police back into a public service ethos.

    This "we are the masters, you will obey!" attitude has to be eradicated - a good start would be to formally discipline all officers who are discourteous to a law-abiding citizen (just as we would if they were bus drivers or nurses). It will probably be necessary to get rid of 90% of the senior officers though, as they plainly don't care about incidents like this one.

  51. elderlybloke

    I feel left out

    Here in New Zealand , the coppers are very polite to me.

    It may be my white hair that reduces the chance of me being a Terrorist.

    Got stopped recently by a girl copper who was checking on driving licences.

    She was very polite and pleasant, asked nicely if I had my licence handy.

    We seem to have a different sort of Police down here.

    I am at peace and contentment with our Police Persons.

  52. Badbob
    Thumb Down

    Could be as bad as Strahclyde's finest.

    When I was about 20, I drove a V6 Vectra. It looked the part (well as good as a Vectra can) and could shift, if it really needed to.

    Every Saturday morning for four weeks I got stopped on my way to work (at about 5:30am). Once they claimed it was a spot check and kicked my tyres and stuff, once they thought I was going a bit fast off a roundabout and wished to impart some advice (Roundabout was very big and had a 70mph limit on it, and i was below that), and twice I was breathalised (with a negative result, had been days since my last drink). The reason they gave for breathalising me was that i was driving with the window open on a cold november morning.

    I complained to the boys in blue in writing, threatening them with legal action for their obvious profiling (young male, powerful car, early morning) and was never stopped again. Well, not in that car anyway.

  53. ShaggyDoggy

    Firearms for what ?

    The point here is WhyTF did the police bring a FIREARMS vehicle in the first place ?

    Were they expecting bin Laden on a bike ?

  54. Sillyfellow

    homeoffice circular

    that posted circular is interesting reading.. thanks for that.

    - this sentence: "It is a statutory defence for a person to prove that they had a reasonable excuse for eliciting, publishing or communicating the relevant information." suggests what? guilty until proven innocent? that's what it looks like to me.

    - "A police officer can only stop and search a person they reasonably suspect to be a terrorist under this power.".. i need to ask, what exactly constitutes 'reasonable suspicion' that someone 'may be' a terrorist? shifty eyes? too tall or perhaps too ugly? (yes, it's happened before) looks at police officers? what exactly? please do clarify this if you can.

    - "Officers do not have the power to delete images or destroy film.".. so how come i've heard and read of so many incidences where police officers have instructed people to delete images? is this not illegal?

  55. Hud Dunlap

    firearm vehicle

    As a Yank living in Texas, I just don't understand the concept of "firearm vehicle".

    They do sound like the Selma (Tx) police. They used to pull over anyone who had a rock band bumper sticker on the grounds that they were probably carrying drugs.

  56. Anonymous Coward

    @AC 17:09

    "and brits think us types are crazy For wanting and keeping their guns. Time to take your country back, boyo."

    Yes the only resonable answer to overxealos cops is to arms up and start shooting. That is sure to calm things down and make the police behave.... idiot.

  57. archie lukas

    This was normal in the middle-east


    This is Blighty and this shit just should never happen;

    after all the terrorist photographer could simply write down the vehicles reg number.

    same-same information for hijacking weapons.

    Mind you the fool also informed the photographer it was a good choice to attack!!!!

  58. SirTainleyBarking
    Black Helicopters

    AC 17:05 Something Useful

    Yes thankfully the guidance is being circulated, which is good.

    If it comes from the top that this guidance has to be followed, hopefully the few idiots who give the rest of the force a pretty unpleasant reputation may have cause to think twice.

    Failing that they need to be held to account by the IPCC.

    Oh and BTW the last photograph I took of a copper was one on duty at the Edinborough fringe festival. He was being followed by an Amy Winehouse look-a-like in drag.

    Poor chap had the look which said "Remind me why I joined up again?"

  59. Joseph Bloe

    Really? Pixelate?

    In this day and age, what idiot wants their image pixelated?

    At least the traditional black square (which used to be used over people's faces) can not be mathematically undone....


  60. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If you lived in Wales...

    Whereas I do have some sympathy for Welsh Plod (if you lived in Wales wouldn't you hold a grudge against the rest of the world too?) I have zero sympathy for bikers.

    My experience is of endless traffic violations by bikers, usually a combination of lack of consideration for any other road users combined with complete disregard for speed restrictions. The number of biker fatalities provides ample supporting evidence. Bikers are one per cent of road users but account for 20 per cent of fatalities on UK roads. Yes I know the bikers blame other motorists for those statistics but where's the supporting evidence? Surley it makes sense for Police to do their best to help reduce road deaths and to focus their efforts on the 1% highest risk. You might just as well complain about Police discriminating against drink-drivers who might argue: Why single ME out just because I've had a few? I can drive perfectly well with a few pints on board. - Well, because we know that before the breathalyser road fatalities after which one of the motorists involved was found to have a high concentration of alcohol in his blood were much higher. Just as it makes sense for police to be particularly active with breathalysers around closing time near popular out-of-town pubs on Friday nights so it makes sense to take a hightened interest in bikers when there are more around because they are far more likely to be involved in collisions.

    I was grumbling to aimiable local plod about how a biker who overtook me on the inside when I was doing 70 ("well I might have just edged very slightly above while overtaking, Officer") in the outside lane of the motorway had gaven a hand signal which I interpreted as registering his disapprobation at my not changing lanes for his convenience. Friendly plod then explained that bikes accelerate faster than cars (not sure why this means it's OK for them to consistently travel very significantly faster than the speed limit) and told me how he'd got his bike up to 115 the previous weekend. I said I didn't know he'd been visiting a country with a higher limit than UK. He grinned and said 2 wheels are safer than 4 (which seems to be at variance with the statistical evidence).

  61. KenBW2
    IT Angle

    I hate to sound cliche but...

    where's the IT angle? El Reg is getting too many of these sensationalist articles that belong in The Sun or The Mail that is so often bemoaned around here.

    Please focus at the back

  62. Anonymous Coward

    @ AC 12.06

    No wonder there are fatalities with muppets like you on the road. I'm surprised you even noticed the bike, many many car, van, bus and lorry drivers don't bother to look.

    So no wonder when I see "Biker killed after colliding with car" I read it normally as "driver pulled out of junction in front of biker" or "spiteful motorist swipes biker off road" or "wanker in an Audi driving down the middle of the road murders biker through crap driving"

    For the record I drive cars too, just sick of the generally shite driving I see more and more of, including "drive down the centre of the road to protect those ever so shiny alloy wheels" or "drive on the wrong side of the road on a blind bend"

    Yes some bikers are tossers (the local car bodyshop owner being a severe arsehole...then again his driving is consistently awful and reckless....I pity anyone who leaves anything in his care) but most are well aware of their vulnerability and take appropriate steps - lifesaver checks, lights on etc

    Oh and filtering through traffic is legal so to all the small dicked car drivers out there, stop acting like a tosser by trying to block filtering bikers....its bloody annoying, not to mention bloody reckless, and it may inspire certain bikers to interface your door mirrors with a boot

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