A former chief superintendent with Staffordshire Police has defended the interception of a coach in a suspected terror alert on the M6 Toll road.

Nick Howe said closing the motorway near Lichfield on Thursday, following reports of vapour escaping from a bag, had been the “right decision.”

An electronic cigarette prompted armed police to swoop on the coach and close the motorway for more than four hours.

Whereas those of us endowed with pragmatism, common sense and a respect for liberty recognise the farce for exactly what it was; a massive and hysterical overreaction to a problem that didn’t exist. I mean, if I was a terrorist, blowing up a Megabus on the M6 is exactly what I would do…


Staffordshire police said that they had received a “genuine report” of vapour escaping from a man’s bag while the coach was near the M6 Toll plaza at Weeford.

And I don’t suppose it occurred to anyone to do the sensible thing and point it out to him so that he could put it out himself. Oh, no, it has to be a terrorist attack.

What have we come to?

A police spokeswoman said, given the credibility of the information received, officers had “responded swiftly and proportionately”.

I’m glad you think so. The reality is that this was just another example of the fuckwitted, over-sensitive, trigger happy response we can expect from the police. Something that could have been resolved simply at the time was blown out of all proportion inconveniencing thousands of travellers for no good reason. So, no, you did not act proportionately.

Still, I guess it will give the anti-smoking brigade a weapon to use against e-ciggies…

13 comments for “Really?

  1. Jeff Wood
    July 9, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    I guessed the problem was caused by an Electrociggie from the initial news reports.

    However, now I think there was more to the matter than I first thought. If you have not used or seen used one of these things, be assured the exhaled steam disappears in seconds, and is in no way continuous.

    Steam escaping from a bag? No. I now suspect a government stunt.

  2. john in ches,hire
    July 9, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    LR, Luikkerland on his blog has written about this with, in my opinion, some intelligence. I think there is a big question mark over the whole episode. Was it planned, or was it opportunistic of the police force to use the incident to practice their tactics? Too many questions to just take at face value anything the police spokesman has to say. And was there an apology to the passengers for the disruption to their journey?

    • July 9, 2012 at 2:43 pm

      I doubt it was planned, but it was certainly used (as soon as it presented itself) as the golden opportunity to show the public how on top of things the authorities are…

      • July 9, 2012 at 2:54 pm

        And didn’t they just?

    • July 10, 2012 at 9:08 pm

      They did that sort of thing downunder at the cricket some years back – had a good old practice at everyone’s a potential terrorist. Dangerous idiocy.

  3. David M
    July 9, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    They’re desensitising the public to shows of force and heavily armed state paramilitary teams. Along with the placing of missiles on the roofs of residential buildings and a heavily militarised London, they’re preparing us for martial law. Be prepared.

  4. Dave
    July 9, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    government stunt. 😛

  5. Greg T ingey
    July 9, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    The proper remark isn’t just “fuckwits” but really dangerous fuckwits.
    Innocent people (& not just mere Brazilian elecrtricisns) are going to be murdered, by the police, before this is over, unless someone gets a grip.

  6. Andrew Duffin
    July 9, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    I don’t believe for a moment that the “authorities” would, or could, have produced all that theatre following one phone call (a 999?) from some bus passenger know-nothing. More likely such a call would have resulted in a squad car stopping the bus a few miles down the road and asking the driver if he had a problem.

    The whole thing’s a put-up job.

    The message is “Look out, terrrsts, how ferocious and efficient our police are; don’t even THINK about trying anything on at the Olympics”.

    Yeah, we get it.

    • Tatty
      July 10, 2012 at 1:19 pm

      The message is “Look out, terrrsts, how ferocious and efficient our police are; don’t even THINK about trying anything on at the Olympics”.

      Or just maybe it’s;

      “Look how easily an awful lot of our emergency services and armed security forces can be distracted and kept in the one place for hours on end.”

      In Home Warfare I learned never to turn my back on “the enemy”. In just ten minutes…while I was dealing with one screaming toddler who’d fell over and slightly bumped her knee… the other one was straight up the stairs stuffing three toilet rolls down the loo.

      So, Mr Terrorist, what could YOU do with four hours ? 😐

  7. July 9, 2012 at 11:18 pm
  8. Maaarrghk!
    July 10, 2012 at 6:08 am

    Oh yes. It’s all very well for you all to mock, criticize and snipe from the sidelines.

    But don’t you get it? That could have been a REAL cigarette! Then where would we have been, eh?

    Can’t you people just get with the program here? Second hand smoke is really REALLY dangerous and is killing CHILDREN right now!

    So of course the response was both appropriate and proportional.

    • cascadian
      July 10, 2012 at 6:40 am

      *uck me, I’d never considered that.

      But wait a minute, the response team did not have supernanny as a member, to put the miscreant on the naughty step.Perhaps she is not a union member who can benefit from the call-out pay.

      All this incident has done has confirmed to urban mischief makers that you can shut done a quarter of the city with one hysterical phone call. Well done plod, you showed you were outmanned and inefficient during the Tottenham riots, I fear for London during the Olympics, pray for rain.

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