Sunday, September 21, 2008

Knife Arch in the Country

Friday evening, Princes Risborough station - What's this? A knife arch and lots of police (well, four) stood around.

Obviously not fitting the right profile, I just wandered into town to do some late night shopping, without having to be analysed, probed, questioned or otherwise delayed.

Once I got to Tesco, another surprise. In the side car park was a huge police lorry belonging to the Thames Valley Police 'Mounted Section'. What? Police horses and a knife arch. What was happening to this backyard of relative rural tranquility?

Well, it transpires that two things had caused are local boys and girls in blue to get a bit twitchy and to bolster the local police cloak of invisibility with a year's worth of resources:

  • On the previous Saturday night, according to the Bucks Free Press, there was a mini-riot with a fight erupting at a private party on the north side of the town. Apparently there were worries that some of those involved might return to continue their misdemeanours on Friday. On the night in question I had been enjoying a meal in a local pub with a friend and we had noticed a number of police cars haring up the road from High Wycombe toward Princes Risborough. As we live in such a quiet relatively crime-free backwater, we had just assumed that there had been a road traffic accident somewhere.
  • Trouble makers from the Thame Show were expected to come into town and cause a bit of bother. A quick bit of research into this theory would suggest that it can quickly be discounted as the Thame Show is a one day show that finished the day before.

When I returned to the station, the number of police had increased to 9 or 10. It transpired however that, as it was getting a bit late for them (it was nearly ten o'clock), they needed to work out how to remove the aforementioned knife arch and return the train station to its usual state of late night desolation. I can't say for how long the police horses stood in the Tesco car park, munching their hay.

As an interesting aside, a local commented to me yesterday that he hoped that Risborough 'wasn't going to go back to how it was in the 1970s'. Apparently Princes Risborough was a regular hot-spot for Mods & Rockers who would travel on trains to the town, half way between High Wycombe and Aylesbury, to fight. I am unable to confirm this by means of a link to some obscure corner of the internet, as I usually would.

How the world has moved on - Princes Risborough has, I think, changed little over the years whereas the population mix of the two larger neighboring towns has changed dramatically over the last three decades.

As if I hadn't already had enough excitement for one evening, a broken down train on the Risborough to Aylesbury single track line had caused some delays to Chiltern Ralways' services, so I was almost 30 minutes later than expected in getting home.


Anonymous said...

Your research into the Thame Show was a bit too quick. If you had researched further you would find that there is a fair that took over the centre of townthat started on the day of the show and continued on until Saturday. When they were talking about trouble, they were referring to the fair. People talk about the two interchangeably.

Central User said...

Thanks for the feedback Anon. I had thought it a bit strange that people were referring to the Show over more than just the one day. The good thing is that there was no evidence of trouble makers (that I saw) making their way to Risborough by train. CU