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Editor’s comment: No more fake bodies in the canal, please

PUBLISHED: 15:30 29 November 2017

Peter Bailie

I have to wonder what makes someone stuff a boiler suit with cardboard tubing and dump it in a canal.

I like to think it wasn’t a malicious act and that someone, possibly while high, thought it would be a hilarious prank to play on the emergency services, or the poor soul who spotted it in the water. (Our friend in the boiler suit might, at a stretch, have been a discarded Guy, but he didn’t have much of a costume, or a face, so I can’t imagine he’d have been a big money-spinner.)

This wasn’t a harmless act: it diverted no small amount of resource away from an extremely cash-strapped police service. I’m not generally down with policing fun or overreacting to kids being silly, but this particular prank was irresponsible and costly.

The Gazette has given a fair bit of space over the last few months to the incredible pressure the police are under locally at the moment. Hackney police chief Ian Simpkins has very graciously been honest with us about the fact his team doesn’t have the resources it needs to do the best job it could. It’s only through that kind of honesty that public pressure will mount on the government to cut our public services some slack, although I am not exactly hopeful about this.

And I know there is still a serious lack of trust in the police in parts of the community, some of the reasons for which are outlined by Mary Pimm and Nik Wood in their letter this week.

But this wasn’t a protest like the ones we saw following the death of Rashan Charles: it was just a thoughtless act that could have taken officers away from someone in real need.

I don’t want some kid banged up for having a bit of misguided fun. But someone knows who chucked that “body” in the water. If this is you, do us all a favour and have a word with them.

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