Music hath charms to soothe the savage breast…

The BBC reports that a police spokesperson has said it was “not an appropriate action” for an officer to play “ice-cream van” music when young people were throwing bottles at a Land Rover vehicle in the Twinbrook area on 22 May.  Although they also admit that this humorous approach had defused the situation and the trouble had stopped. From the report

Sinn Fein councillor Angela Nelson told the Andersonstown News that the officer’s actions “beggared belief”.

“The PSNI are put on the streets to do a serious job and that is to keep order on the streets and face down anti-social elements. This is like a sick joke.

“It goes against everything we are trying to solve and eradicate in the area.”

The same councillor told Talkback that the police “should have arrested them”.

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  • coconnor

    I don’t get the Shinner response. She sounds more like a TUV member.

  • sdelaneys

    I find myself taking a ;position I rarely take, praising the psni. A situation which could have been made worse was defused with a bit of humour. That councillor needs to catch herself on. Maybe a wee bit of cs gas or a few plastic bullets fired would have pleased her.

  • HeinzGuderian

    Why would you rarely praise your own Police Force ?

  • joeCanuck

    Maybe she heard the music, went for a poke, and was frustrated and disappointed when she didn’t get it.

    (Mods, a poke is Stabanese for an ice cream cone).

  • Greenflag

    A policeman with a brain and a sense of humour . Theres hope yet for NI . Sometimes in life pursuing the same old strategy is no longer effective and not only yields diminishing returns economic , social or political but even ends up in negative returns .

    Going against the flow can at least on occasion be a winning strategy . These young people presumably have no jobs or are out of school with plenty of energy and nothing to occupy their minds for the summer ?.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    You cant win them all.
    Theres a wee low scale war going on out there between the PSNI and the hoods. Its not political….its the same in the worst parts of Manchester, Liverpool, London, Dublin, New York, Paris.
    No doubt there is some no mark dissident on hand to praise it all as a rising by young republicans and a show of forse by the “British PSNI”.
    Cllr Nelson has it right. Even if her statement comes accross as a bit po-faced the PSNI action was a bit “unprofessional” and no doubt a few of the PSNI were spoken to by their Inspector.
    In this instance I take the charitable view that the cops were trying to de-fuse a situation with humour. Maybe they were just getting a wee bit provocative is a less charitable view.
    But thats the problem with History.
    Once as Tragedy.
    Once as Farce. The ice cream van business is clearly the latter.
    I dont know if Cllr Nelson is old enough to recall the 1970s when the Black Watch regiment used to attach Catholic icons and pictures to their Saracens to either
    a) provoke the local Community
    b) provide evidence of their Catholicism.
    Send your considered answer on a £10 note to me.
    An answer (not necessarily the right one) appears in one of the many books written about The Troubles but I forget which one.

  • al

    You can’t win. The only other option for the police would have been to armour up and go in strong to arrest these hoodlums. What would Angela Nelson have said then?

    I heard a story about when we had the snow earlier in the year youths in North Belfast were pelting a police landrover with snow balls and the police shocked them by opening their door and chucking snowballs in return. Better than rubber bullets I suppose.

  • oracle

    I thought the officer show inititive, I think Nelson is an idiot, what are the Shinners feeding their councillors these days? apart from copious quantites of bullshit…..

  • The Raven

    I thought the Shinners closely guarded what their accolytes and familiars said. How badly misjudged was that statement from yer wan there….

    Al, I bore witness to a similar event of snowballing up here on the North Coast between some post-1am drunken teenagers and the cops. All good spirited, no one hurt, no one arrested, and banter at the end. Isn’t that what we wanted??

  • sdelaneys

    Because they rarely do anything to deserve praise amongst other things, Heinz.

  • coconnor

    It’s a bit like those policemen in England that got disciplined for going sledging on their riot shields.

    Surely that’s exactly how we want the police, it certainly makes me less cynical about them.

  • Eire32

    We say that here in Derry as well lad, bit strange when i asked
    a couple of birds in a shop in Bundoran…

    “Gis for pokes hi”… How they laughed.

    Anyway, you’ll not catch me criticising humour, fair play till them.

  • Eire32

    EDIT!! “Gis four pokes hi”

  • Cynic

    It worked. Ridicule is a very powerful weapon against the wee hoods. He or she should be given a commendation not criticised. How is this different from handing out lollipops in Fermanagh? He actually made these wee thick heads think about what they were doing

  • Procrasnow

    that Sinn Féin councillor should wake up and smell the cannabis on her road to getting a life.

  • Wonderfull

    What seems to be missing is that on the ground the RUC or should I say PSNI amoured Landrovers since changing grey to white with stripes have been know on the “ground” as Ice Cream Vans.

    So no wonder the playing of ice cream van music disfused the situation as it struck a humorous cord.

    Much better than their previous name of “meat wagons” wonder what music could have been played then.

  • Oruairc

    How did the music come to be in the Landrover?

    Was the peeler in question carrying a recording of ice cream van music ready for just such an occasion? E.g. a deliberate policy.

    Or does he/she listen to that stuff routinely and in this instance just amplified it through the loudspeakers?

    I wonder where you can get CDs of ice cream van music? Or was it an illegal bootleg from the street?

    Of course the use of loud music in combat situations is not new. Bit of a difference from that scene in ‘Apocalypse Now’ though.

    ‘I love the smell of vanilla in the morning’.

  • joeCanuck

    Something by Meatloaf obviously.

  • joeCanuck

    Just a thought; in view of the number of serious crimes (e.g. the murder of the lad from S.Armagh) that have not resulted in charges let alone a prosecution, could the CC be called Mr. Softee?

  • Alan Thorne

    It was probably a ring tone, probably downloaded some time before to amuse his colleagues, logical as the landrovers are said to be known as Ice Cream vans.

    I think the cop concerned deserves a commendation.

  • Middlemarch

    From a bit of research in the past I know that the police in Derry listen to Neil Diamond. I remember photographing a jeeps and black taxis in my younger days – public vehicles. I saw a Neil Diamond tape on one of my prints. School kept my notebooks – would be great to have a look back. I can picture them playing ‘Sweet Caroline’ on drug busts…

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    As long as it wasnt Daniel O’Donnell or Big Tom.

  • DC

    Love it. It’s called the police using their initiative.

    Brilliant stuff, maybe inappropriate for SF (and indeed many in the police service), as they tend to hold a socially conservative outlook of how the police should function, yet entirely appropriate in dealing with the young audience that did need dealt with appropriately.

    As for the SF councillor’s comment – well it would seem you just can’t win at times.

    But, well done the music playing cop.

  • Comrade Stalin

    You left out Philomena Begley.

  • lamhdearg

    C, in the vain hope that no good catholic would deface an icon.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Agree with the comments, the SF councillor should back off, the police tried something unusual (and potentially not intended to be taken seriously) and it worked.

  • DC

    On second thoughts, it could well prove the psychology of the kids just doing stuff for entertainment purposes as they were out-entertained by the police themselves, in a fairly juvenile manner. For effective treatment and changes to bahaviour it will need a more long lasting approach than that of an instant arrest.

    I suppose pictures could have been taken (equipment permitting) and passed on later to local community reps and parents in the area for wider community engagement on changing kids behaviour.

  • joeCanuck

    The trouble stopped because the kids ran home to their mammies to get the money for the pokes.

  • Clanky

    How can the PSNI “admit that this humorous approach had diffused the situation and that the trouble had stopped” and still call the officers actions inappropriate? Surely the most appropriate thing to do in that situation is to prevent trouble which is exactly what happened.

    I would have a few less scars if the peelers had played music at me during the more idiotic moments of my youth!

  • wee buns

    Love the image of ‘Sweet Caroline’ blasting inside the jeeps!

  • wee buns

    Agree CS…affectionate even?

  • wee buns

    So would we all have Clanky.
    Surely, a Mr Whippy (sic) machine dispensing screwballs etc would spell curtains for teen riots!

  • lamhdearg

    Sweet caroline that song has been taken on by N.I. football fans, Dont think that would go down that well in Nats west belfast, try song sung blue, Or maybe not

  • Homerfan

    Headline: “Police mount elaborate hoax – Kids didnt get ice cream after all”

  • lollipopstix

    they were not throwing bottles the police were telling lies to cover themselves.

  • Dan

    Grow up.

    Back to the story, make this officer Chief post-haste. Or at least bring back Hugh. Matt Biggott’s a douche, just telling these guys off shows.

  • lollipopstix

    There wa nobody throwing bottles there were just people drinking in the street. My mates were there. It was even in the newspaper on Monday that there were no bottles being thrown that the police told lies to cover themselves!!!!

  • Dan

    People drinking in the street? Illegal last time I checked. You should report your so-called mates if you really are unbiased against the Police Service.

  • lollipopstix

    Well the police didn’t do anything about it did they they just played a bit of poke van music and people laughed at them. They left them to it then lied about what happened, they are supposed to stop street drinking.

  • lollipopstix

    you need 2 wise up.
    i think that this humorous approach was a good thing but i just dont like how they lied, how they lied about the youths throwwing bottles and starting troubl thats all im saying.