The moment the news broke on Halloween that an Uzbek in a rental truck had just killed eight people on New York s West Side cycle path, my heart sank . Now, you might think that any decent human being I marginally qualify would be profoundly saddened by the pointless murder of folks merely out enjoying a city s recreational facilities on a crisp autumn day . But that wasn t it. Or you might think since I spend a fair whack of the year in New York, where as usual I get everywhere by bike that I might be concerned about becoming a terrorist target myself . I use that bike path constantly in summer . Had the attack occurred earlier in the year, one of those victims could have been me . But that wasn t it, either.
Maybe this means I don t qualify as decent after all, but what plunged me into despair was the immediate certainty that the powers-that-be would rush to utterly destroy a vital transportation route in the name of protecting it. And wasn t I right . In fact, New York s heavy-handed security measures for that bike path, under way two days later, have proven even worse than I expected: more clumsy, more poorly thought-out, more visually grotesque, more damaging to the whole purpose of that pathway, and get this more dangerous.
Let s fill in the picture . Running the length of Manhattan alongside the Hudson River, the West Side bikeway is the busiest cycle route in North America . Officially, it s intermittently mixed use, but in practice it s entirely mixed use . Runners, the weaving walkers praying over mobiles and the parents with strollers the size of five-bed caravans never notice that the city has built them an entire parallel walkway, replete with comely landscaping, where their dreamy ambling would not impede two-wheelers who actually need to get somewhere. Pathway crowding has grown vastly more intense since the introduction of thousands of Citi Bikes, which tourists prefer to ride in chatty phalanxes of five across . Thus even before this horrific Halloween trick, for commuting cyclists to keep up a steady clip on a two-way, 10ft-wide path required the driving dexterity of Steve McQueen in Bullitt.
Yet in pursuit of that eternally receding Valhalla of perfect safety, New York authorities have now inserted massive concrete blockers at 56 intersections in the five miles from W .
59th Street to the Battery, the bikeway s most heavily travelled segment . Some bright spark originally demanded that these 10ft-long, 2ft-wide barriers be angled to obstruct entire lanes, but now adjacent pairs of these monsters sit in the middle of the path with squat orange barrels at either end, leaving barely enough room on each side for a single bicycle to thread through these pinch points , in transport jargon . Those wide-load strollers will never fit. Before Halloween, I d already had plenty of brushes with mortality on this jam-packed thoroughfare, and had witnessed multiple bike accidents of a most grisly nature . Now that the artery looks like the aftermath of an asteroid collision, cyclists trying to get to work on time are bound to rack up more casualties than Isis ever could . It would actually be safer to break out the diggers and crack the path into landfill .
Either that, or cyclists return to the taxis, buses, lorries, and hot-dog carts on 10th and 11th Avenues, leaving the so-called bikeway to the tourists on foot, who can pick their way between the boulders as if visiting the set of a disaster movie. Although Mayor de Blasio claims this obstacle course is a short-term solution , in my experience the average short-term solution lasts about as long as the Appian Way. Municipal overreaction to single acts of terrorism is not restricted to New York . After the attack on London Bridge in June, overnight the Met plunked 2ft-wide, waist-high steel barriers along both sides of every major bridge across the Thames siting these crude, hideous metal walls smack in the bike lanes, so you could forgive cyclists for feeling a little picked-on . In London, too, gigantic black hostile vehicle mitigation measures chunky, disc-shaped monstrosities that jar glaringly with the historical architecture have cropped up like evil robotic mushrooms around Hyde Park Corner, Buckingham Palace, and St James s Park.
And never mind us whinge-bag cyclists . Security barriers in response to the terrorism-on-the-cheap vehicular fad are installed with no consideration for motorists, either . Like many other carelessly butchered intersections, the pinch point on Birdcage Walk backs up traffic for blocks. Right, government must do something , or at least be seen to . Yet officialdom s response to an individual incident is too often conceived in a spirit of hysteria, with a short-sighted eye to preventing another attack that hews to the exact specifics of the last one .
But cities have not been designed to protect their populations from homicidal drivers . The measures required to stop vehicles mounting the pavement altogether would entail civic vandalism on an aesthetically disastrous and economically ruinous scale . Yes, take a few precautions to reduce obvious vulnerabilities where crowds gather, but only after intelligent consideration of tasteful options that preserve functionality . Instead we are clogging our cities with permanent Brutalist monuments to the power of the malevolent accelerator. Overkill safety measures (see: airport security) constitute terrorism s most enduring triumph .
As the Uzbek recovered from an NYPD gunshot wound after his rampage, hospital staff reported that the rejoicing Sayfullo Saipov felt accomplished .
Should that cretin get a look at my bike path now strewn with cement cubes, barrels and barriers that stop not only hostile vehicles but everyone else he would feel only more so.
Unlicensed security director given suspended prison sentence as court considers confiscation of his assets
On 6 November, at Caernarfon Crown Court, Mark Pursglove was sentenced for working without a licence following several hearings in October 2017 and September 2017. At this latest hearing, Pursglove was given a 4-month prison sentence suspended for 2 years. He was also sentenced to a community order of 150 hours unpaid work. As part of this hearing, Pursglove was referred for the confiscation of assets under the Proceeds of Crime Act (2002). As a result, a confiscation timetable was set.
Pursglove is a serial offender, he was found guilty of working without a licence on 14 September and this is the second time he has been prosecuted; in February 2016, he was found guilty of supplying unlicensed security operatives. When sentencing Pursglove, the Judge said:
I do not think you appreciate how serious this matter is. A licence is required for public protection. It ensures that the public know that when they are at their most vulnerable, for example when they are drunk; there are calm heads around who have their best interests at heart.
The Court takes a serious view of this. You breached your licence in 2016 and a substantial financial penalty was imposed (over 8,000). You lost your licence in early 2016 and you tried to manufacture your way around this. You were found guilty by the magistrates of two serious offences.
The matter is aggravated by your failure to admit your guilt and to show contrition to the probation officer ahead of the hearing today
Nathan Salmon, our Criminal Investigations Manager also said:
I am hopeful that Mr Pursglove s sentence will stop his involvement in the private security industry. For several years, the SIA has had to use the strongest sanction and prosecute Mr Pursglove because of his ongoing offending. However, he was arrogant and wilfully ignored his 2016 conviction and the loss of his licence, a matter which the SIA could not ignore.
We will pursue the recovery of Mr Pursglove s assets, which he has as a result of his crimes. This action will prevent the reinvestment of profits made by criminals and limit their unfair advantage over legitimate businesses. The next hearing will be at Caernarfon Crown Court on 9 April 2018. Pursglove will be ordered to pay a victim surcharge and costs at the end of confiscation proceedings.
- The Security Industry Authority is the organisation responsible for regulating the private security industry in the United Kingdom, reporting to the Home Secretary under the terms of the Private Security Industry Act 2001. The SIA’s main duties are: the compulsory licensing of individuals undertaking designated activities; and managing the voluntary Approved Contractor Scheme.
- For further information about the Security Industry Authority or to sign up for email updates visit www.sia.homeoffice.gov.uk.
A church is supposed to be a place of safety and security. But Sunday s mass shooting in Texas marks the second time in two years a gunman has turned a place of worship into a place of war. It’s raising new questions about church security . But the head of Chicago s archdiocese says don’t expect to see armed guards or metal detectors. Cardinal Blase Cupich says thoughts and prayers are nice, but the church shooting in Texas demands more than just talk. “It’s time now to act, and we need to do something about the growing violence due to these high powered weapons in our country, Cupich said. The head of Chicago s archdiocese says he has already instituted a ban on guns in churches . but even after the carnage in Texas and the massacre of nine people by a white supremacist in a black church in Charleston, South Carolina two years ago, Cupich says he does not see the need to beef up security in Chicago s Catholic churches. “I don’t want to make our churches places in which people feel as though they should be fearful about coming in .
We want to create safe environments where people do come in and for people to be alert, Cupich said. “What you have with churches, you have a collection of people all in one spot . Unfortunately, someone with bad intentions, that’s an attractive target, said Mike Verden. Former secret service agent Mike Verden says churches are considered soft targets with little security . He says short of armed guards and metal detectors, there are ways churches can make themselves more secure, including controlling access points, monitoring social media, meeting with local police and fire officials to develop an emergency response plan and awareness training for staff. The Reverend Michael Pfleger, whose St . Sabina s church is in one of the city’s toughest neighborhoods, agrees armed guards aren’t the answer. “We are not ever going to have armed security in our church . I refuse to fall into this madness of more guns .
I heard the Attorney General in Texas talk about more people should bring their guns to church . That’s madness, said Rev . Michael Pfleger.