I don’t want to alarm anyone living in Middlesbrough any more than they already will be – having woken up and, rubbing the sleep from their eyes, remembered that they live in Middlesbrough – but far from ‘Putting People First’, Cleveland Police doesn’t have your back; in fact it would appear that they are perfectly content for you and your loved ones to burn in the fires of prophecy.
I put in a Freedom of Information request last month to their HQ; I found a popular template, which helped make me sound smart, and added my query, which didn’t:
I am studying Journalism at Teesside University and am writing to make an open government request for all the information to which I am entitled under the freedom of information act. In order to assist you with this request, I am outlining my query as specifically as possible.
If however this request is too wide or too unclear, I would be grateful if you could contact me as I understand that under the act, you are required to advise and assist requesters.
My request in part concerns the scale and effect of last year’s English riots, and remembers the worldwide cost of the preparation for Y2K which was put at over US$300 billion.
My question is: What systems, protocols and resources does Cleveland Police have in place for any social disorder or cataclysm – heavenly or otherwise – coming to pass as a result of the end of this 5,125-year-long B’ak’tun of the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar; an event commonly referred to as the Mayan Prophecy for December 21st 2012.
I understand that under the act, I should be entitled to a response within 20 working days. I would be grateful if you could confirm in writing that you have received this request. I look forward to hearing from you in the near future.
I waited patiently, grew impatient, wrote to them again, and then yesterday received the following letter in the post:
I received no such email. Is my correspondence being monitored and intercepted? Have I uncovered something big here? The incorrect use of a question mark at the end of the final sentence – is that code for something? Is Elaine McGuigan reaching out to me or warning me of rendition to come?
I’ll need to tread very carefully from here on in but it’s hard to know if I’m being followed with so many police cars on the streets. This needs to stay between us; I don’t know who else I can trust.
My life as I knew it is over.
Still, it’s not the end of the world.