The comments attributed to Brunstrom came from a forum on the Welsh language where he was discussing the lack of the word "Heddlu" on squad cars when he first started. He said that people who resisted the addition of the Welsh had argued that it was dangerous and people could die due to misunderstandings. He pointed out that if that argument held any water, which it doesn't, then in areas where most were first speakers Welsh it should have been in Welsh only.
Cue Tory MP and London Media.
David Jones, Tory MP for Clwyd West, had a chat with the Sun, who printed the story under the heading Take 'police' off all my cop cars. The Tory said:
"We cannot allow this nonsense to continue. It's bad for community relations and it's got to stop"Reading the article it is sad but predictable that the Sun totally misstates his words. They state:
"Mr Brunstrom rejected claims that English visitors would not understand what the police cars were if they were marked only as ‘Heddlu’.
He said: “There were many false arguments that people would die if Heddlu was used.
“It was absolute arrogant nonsense.” Now that's not what Brunstrom said. While the quotes are correct, he was not referring to it being a false argument that people would die if it was only marked as Heddlu, he was referring to the old argument when people objected to making the cars bilingual. But hey, when has The Sun ever bothered about getting it's facts right.
Unsurprisingly the story was then picked up by the usual hit squad of the Mail and the Times, using the same quote in the same distorted way.
The best quote though comes on the BBC website The BBC, unlike the other three bastions of journalism, bothered to check the facts with North Wales Police before just writing a story. North Wales Police explained what I have done above, namely that there is no such policy and there will be no such policy, and quite right too. Of course the rent-a-quote Tory MP couldn't accept he was wrong and insisted that he stood by his comments, even though they made no sense once the facts were revealed.
The quote I enjoyed though was not from David Jones MP but from Jeanette Miller, president and chief executive of the Association of Motor Offence Lawyers. She said that there was no doubt that removing the word Police would cause problems:
"I think there would be a good argument that a motorist was unaware of any requirement to stop if the word police is removed from signage on police cars"It's a car with blue and yellow stripes, a huge blue flashing light at the top, a loud siren and two uniformed coppers inside - I wonder what it could be!