Saturday, 20 October 2012

Criminal Swimming.

This afternoon, I took my daughter, 3, to Danes Camp leisure centre in Northampton for a swim. She may be a toddler, but she's happy in the water, and can comfortably swim a length of a 25m pool. Her two great delights are sitting on my back "faster daddy, faster" and jumping into the water. Both of these are easier if the water is more than 2ft deep.

However I hadn't figured the health and safety implications. I was told by the life-guard that my daughter was not a "swimmer" and wasn't allowed in the deep water. While I was being informed of this fact, she jumped in and swam happily into the middle of the pool and back again.
I said.
"She can swim, and I am keeping an eye on her"
At this point, the life-guard went to fetch her manager. He repeated the allegation that my Daughter couldn't swim, ignoring the evidence of his own eyes as she splashed about happily, underneath signs warning of "danger" and listing things you're not allowed to do (have fun, mainly).
"You'll forgive me, if I pay more attention to my daughter than to you"
She was at this point about 5m from me, in deep water.
"It's the rules. She has to be able to swim 50m"
This is ridiculous. There are only a handful of 50m pools in the entire country.
"She can swim 50m, but not here, it's only 10m from one end to the other. You'd struggle to make her see the point of swimming 50m without getting out and jumping in, but she's more than capable of doing so"
Logic failing, our brave defender of child safety attempted to further define his rules
"but it's doggy-paddle, not a recognised stroke"
At this, ludicrous, desperate, surreal attempt by thwarted authority to re-assert itself in the face of someone saying "why?" and applying logic, I said
"we're finished. I am happy my Daughter is safe, and I shall ignore you from now on and enjoy my swim"
At this he mentioned banning me, like I give a shit or want to "swim" in his chav piss-puddle again, and calling the police.

And fuck me, if Terry Jones, our jumped up little leisure-centre gauleiter, wasn't as good as his word. Sure enough, when I left, there were two uniformed Police officers in the manager's office, looking like (short, young, slack-jawed) paramilitary gestapo in their assault vests and black shirts. To the officers' credit, they barely said a word and appeared rather embarrassed to be there.

The five-minute conversation is below.

"Why are they [police] here?"

"I have a right to call them, if I think, you know... rules... for your benefit... *mumble*"

What a mealy-mouthed, spineless little worm.

It's the sheer grotesque waste of police time that gets me. It's an abuse of the police to expect them to back up every petty authority like our low-rent Gordon Brittas here. On top of that, some pretty unpleasant allegations, child endangerment etc... were made, and I want an apology. I will keep you posted.

Terry Jones is another example of why Britain's horrible: The routine abuse of petty authority. When did we become so cowed, so deferent to stupid rules without question? The freedom to deliver a well-delivered "fuck off" to idiots abusing what little power they've been granted, will make the country very much happier.


Anonymous said...

Gordon Brittas indeed. Well done for standing up to this petty bureaucrat & good luck in your fight against them. He couldn't win his argument so he sought to bully you via the police presence.


Anonymous said...

Why couldnt the fuckwit have dealt with you with a "if you are sure she can swim a length, swim along beside her and demonstrate that to me"...thats what my local leisure centre does and I agree with them.

banned said...

Good for you but it is a result of the compensation culture that creatures like him feel compelled to enforce National Guidlines (hiding behing supposed H&S) on rules in the face of common sense and then bring in plod to prove that, whatever else may happen, he was doing his job "properly".

Jackart said...

But he & Probably the local council are gold plating national standards, effectively preventing small children from swimming. This is why we get so few Olympic swimming medals.

Ex-Pat Alfie said...

What no tasers deployed? What will Gadget have to say of these young PCs?

Wildgoose said...

He admitted that "he could see she was a good swimmer" - on tape. Surely that is Game, Set and Match against his entire ridiculous argument that she is in danger because she can't swim?

splotchy said...

The jumped-up Terry Jones is not your problem, irritating though he sounds. It's his employers, the H&S checkers and child protection hysterics, all leaning on him and writing this sort of nonsense into his employment contract.
You are right to object, but you need to direct your objections higher up. Crucially you need to establish why the police were called - what 'crime' was being alleged and do the police feel this is an appropriate use of their time?

Henry Crun said...

"The freedom to deliver a well-delivered "fuck off" to idiots abusing what little power they've been granted, will make the country very much happier."

Couldn't agree more.

Malcolm, I admire you keeping your cool faced with the two police officers. I suspect that councils and other public sector departments are purposefully employing the less intelligent because they will not kick back against stupid and pointless rules and regulations. Which leaves us, the public, either acquiescent to these gauleiters or just annoyed to the point of not using those facilities ever again.

I expect you will receive the usual mealy mouthed reply from the local council in response to your complaint.

SadButMadLad said...

I have a friend who used to work at leasure centers. The managers are typically totally incompetent. One caused a number of customers to get ill. Another emptied the main pool through their supidity. And a third nearly destroyed a jaccuzi by turning off the chlorine. Thats three different managers in one chain. Need I say that they are named after an ex tennis player.

And for a fourth case, this time at a council run centre by coincidence, a good one. This one banned an asian woman for ignoring safety rules about bringing in too many children without adequate supervision. Eight children, all very young. And when told about the rules brought up the "you're racist" offence seeking excuse. Thankfully this manager had the gumption to tell the woman where to go, with no police involved.

pablopatito said...

This is my local pool. My lad has swam in the deep end a few times both here and at all the other council pools. He's never been told not to, despite the fact that he can only swim 25m.

Were you given a copy of the rules that you asked for? Otherwise, I'd suspect that this 50m rule was made up on the spot.

I imagine it would be very difficult to learn to swim if you were never allowed to swim anywhere deeper than you. It's also difficult to know if your child is capable of swimming the permitted 50m if he or she is never allowed out of the shallow end.

Does this rule only apply to children? If so, maybe your daughter could sue on the grounds of age discrimination?

Anonymous said...

For perspective, regarding children, the problem is not H&S or some random leftist plot, the problem is the Daily Mail and the controversies they gin up every time some child dies in an accident. That is the driving force in our culture. It would behoove people who politically benefit from the Mail's general stance and support to try and sort this out...

Anonymous said...

As it happens, the usual response of a Daily Mail reader in the case of a child drowning in a pool is "where were the parents?"

JuliaM said...

"As it happens, the usual response of a Daily Mail reader in the case of a child drowning in a pool is "where were the parents?""

True enough. And yet, when the parents are right there and the 'cause' of the accident, it seems to be all the local council's/lorry driver's fault!

Tatty said...

Any chance of a transcript for the "hard of hearing", pretty please ? :)

BrianSJ said...

'the right to call the police' - I would have thought that it was only responsible to call the police if you believed an offence was being committed, or about to be committed. Not convinced that breaking council swimming pool rules is an offence.

Weekend Yachtsman said...

You're lucky it was the police waiting at the pool, not the Social Services waiting at your house - or worse, calling at the nursery when you're not around.

This is what Britain has come to.

Weekend Yachtsman said...

Think yourself fortunate it was just the police waiting in the office.

If it had been Social Services waiting at your home - or even worse, calling at the nursery or the child-minder's while you're not around - the outcome might have been very different.

This is what life in Britain has become.

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