After a month of struggle with a city centre shop over the tasteless display of crossbows, there was a small victory yesterday. The shop has always sold swords, collectors knives, imitation weaponry - but it was the display of crossbows during a 'sale' that followed the sentencing of Stephen Griffiths that finally encouraged me to take action.
After I asked the owner to change the display in the window, and he agreed to, I thought it was a quick victory for taste and common decency. When I returned to find that nothing had changed - I rang the local paper, the T&A, who ran a story on their front page.
The shop then decided to close the shutters of the display over the Christmas period, and I had hoped that when the shutters came up, the owner would have the sense to have had the crossbows removed. Nope.
Many people contacted me to show their support - MP's offices, councillors, women's groups, and many concerned Bradfordians. There was nothing illegal about the sale of these items to over 21 year olds, 'collectors' as the owner repeatedly told me, so it was unclear as what to do next.
Then the T&A rang me to say they wanted to do a follow up piece, having been summoned to the leader of the councils office. Ian Greenwood told them that the council were unhappy with the 'borderline legality' of the shop, and supported my campaign.
The T&A wanted a quote - but instead I suggested that we went to the shop together, and tried to talk to the manager. I invited Andy, a canon of the Cathedral and Jane from the Rape Crisis Centre. In we went, with a photographer and a reporter in tow. The owner was horrified.
At first he began the 'invasion of privacy' rant, but soon realised that began to look even worse for him. After I asked him about broken promises to take the display of crossbows down, Andy had asked him about the reputation of the city, and Jane pointed out the impact of these weapons on women - the owner threw his hands up in the air and ordered a member of staff to remove the crossbow immediately.
A small victory. The shop though continues to sell samurai swords, crossbows, knuckle dusters, 'hunting' knives and daggers to 'collectors'. One such collector was Stephen Griffiths the self styled 'Crossbow Cannible'. Serial killers are exactly that, 'collectors'. The sooner we make make such behaviour abhorrent to society the better.