A riot van swan capture has raised new questions about the over-the-top tactics of the UK’s Lincolnshire Police Department. When they recently received a call about an injured swan in the road blocking traffic, two officers in a patrol car and a third in a riot van showed up on the scene.
Now, if you’ve ever asked a swan to “Move along, there’s nothing to see here,” you probably have a pretty good idea of what the officers were up against. Beautiful and bad-tempered, swans think they can go anywhere they like — especially in England, where all unmarked swans on open water are considered the property of the Queen.
These big birds have attitude, and the Lincolnshire swan was no exception.
And, despite the emergency call, the swan wasn’t injured. It was perfectly healthy and willing to put up a battle.
It took a solid 30 minutes to catch the swan in a sheet and shove it into the back of the riot van so that the feisty white bird could be transported to a nearby river.
Meanwhile, second-guessers said that they saw no reason for the police officers to manhandle the swan in the first place. They thought the bird was fine where it was and that it should have been allowed to remain.
The Lincolnshire police fired back, saying that “action was needed” because the riot van swan was obstructing traffic.
Alas for the officers, the incident comes only a month after their much-criticized response to an escaped cow. When the frightened animal began roaming the grounds of a primary school, the Lincolnshire Police Department employed an armed sniper to take down the rampaging animal that they said had charged members of the public and a police officer.
One resident wasn’t too surprised that the cow kept charging and running since she saw it being chased by three police cars. A farmer grumbled that, if they’d asked him, he would have taken it alive.
The Lincolnshire police will apparently use whatever it takes, be it rifle or riot van, to control swans and other law-breaking livestock.
[mute swan photo by Nicholas Sanchez via Wikipedia Commons]