Shocker to British cops: No climbing 3-ft ladder without training

December 23rd, 2008 - 5:58 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Dec 23 (IANS) What’s the height of bureaucracy? The British version seems to be banning police officers from climbing a three-foot tall ladder without formal training.Police officers of Lancashire county were shocked when the local health and safety officials told them they could not go up the small ladder to fix speed limit signs on road sides without training.

The officers were installing roadside electronic speed indicators for months, using a three-foot ladder, without injury or incident. But when health and safety officials learnt of the scheme, they ordered the special training.

Officers were then banned from moving the signs between locations until they had completed the course. Around 45 officers and more than 80 civilian volunteers have now had the training in how to climb the small ladder, organised by the police, Lancashire county council and Lancashire fire and rescue service.

During the training, they were told to wear high-visibility jackets and leggings. They were asked to cordon off the area where the signs were to be erected in bad weather so that pedestrians would not bump into the ladders.

A police officer said: “It is a preposterous waste of police time and taxpayers’ money and it is time the health and safety Gestapo had their wings clipped so that people can go about their jobs using their own common sense.”

Ben Wallace, MP for Lancaster and Wyre, told Daily Mail: “It’s another example of the tail wagging the dog, of bureaucracy gone mad. It beggars belief that bureaucracy stands in the way of common sense, even when it concerns our police force.”

There were no comments from the health and safety officials.

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