Plod has been getting a bad press recently. His efforts to convince us that he is underpaid and under appreciated considerably hampered by the string of ‘News International’ arrests as part of Operation Elvedon, showing that he could always chose to augment his income with a nice cheque for £15,000 or so from Uncle Rupert whenever anybody reasonably newsworthy came within reach of his handcuffs. Quite why all the bad publicity and charges attach themselves to the journalists who handed over the cheques – as they would have done to any member of the public who came up with a good story – instead of to the policemen who were at least guilty of a breach of confidentiality, I do not know. One of the mysteries of the media.
Still, there is always overtime to be had. As if endlessly listening to the middle aged ramblings of dotty old ladies who don’t want to pay their BBC licence fee and think claiming that Savile patted their bum 50 years ago might do the trick was not enough, pity the latest task inflicted on the woebegone Yewtree coppers. Monitoring the ‘Big Brother House’ transmissions 24 hours a day! No really, so concerned are they that the latest celebrity policeman (the sorcerer’s apprentice?) Daniel Neal, not long of the parish of Yewtree, will let slip who will be the next Yewtree arrest to be released without charge, (that’s ‘without charge in the form of criminal charges’, not as in ‘free of charge to News International’) that they have a squad of ‘experienced chid protection officers’ condemned to watch Big Brother round the clock. I was already concerned about the effect on their minds of the constant diet of Level 1 pornography (non sexualised pictures of the neighbours kid’s fully dressed….) but now I fear they will be in need of lengthy specialised psychiatric nursing. I’ve only ever seen 20 minutes of Big Brother and the scars remain to this day…
Down in sleepy Glastonbury, a couple of ‘Fools from the National Academy’ (I kid you not!) dressed respectively as a giant penis and a giant vagina, were attacked by an outraged bystander. I don’t think the bystander was Mark Williams-Thomas, though he does have form in these matters. Anyway, this bystander was taken more seriously by the local police – and they turned up and demanded that Ms Vagina change her clothing. What? Victim blaming? Surely a woman has the right to dress as she pleases, without a policeman telling her that it is her fault she was assaulted! Are there no feminists in Glastonbury, no Vera Baird to speak up for her – particularly since the penis was allowed to continue on his priapic wander. ‘Steady as you go, Sir’.
Joanne Tremarco, who was dressed in costume as female genitalia, told a police officer they did not want to press charges against the man.
“Then he explained that I needed to take the costume off, or I could be arrested,” she said.
Speaking of Vera Baird, as we reluctantly do in these parts, from time to time, I now see the effect of having a vigorously feminist Police and Crime Commissioner. Resources are poured into her pet obsession of domestic violence. Newcastle now has no less than 7% of the nation’s entire network of support services for sexual exploitation. 2 of the 18 national sexual assault referral centres – there are none in the East of England or in North Wales! It’s very own rape crisis centre – even its own specialist domestic violence court to deal with offenders. All for just 4.3% of the total female population. (Domestic violence doesn’t happen to men in the Bairdlands). You might put this down to the men of the North East being particularly violent, or maybe just bored – but curiously, it seems that they have little time for such domestic jollies – for the North East now holds the title for the most number of thefts, vandalism, frauds, and assaults against workers in local businesses.
That’s what happens when Plod takes his eyes off the testicle and concentrates on the vaginas. A stunning average of 24, twenty four, against each and every business in the area. Will Vera be calling for specialist ‘business violence centres’, or wailing that advice from local police on how to protect your business is ‘victim blaming’? I wouldn’t hold your breath. So far she has been remarkably sanguine about the figures.
She said: “If we’re doing things wrong then they need getting right. Statistics for crime against businesses are down on the whole – it’s just that we have come to the top of the table because our figures haven’t gone down as much as other regions.
I look forward to a similarly sanguine comment on domestic violence – ‘not that much of a problem, just that our figures haven’t gone down as much as elsewhere……!
Even Our Vera isn’t the end of the bad news for Plod this week. Paul Lewis, the Guardian’s ‘Special Project Editor’, has a new book out next week. Paul is the Guardian journalist who uncovered undercover policeman Mark Kennedy. This time he has his sights on another undercover copper – Bob Lambert. He has made the stunning revelation in this book, that Bob Lambert was the author of the famous McLibel. The defamatory leaflet alleging a host of very ‘ungreen’ practices in the MacDonalds’ cook house. It led to the longest running and most costly libel battle in British judicial history – estimated to have cost MacDonalds millions of pounds and terrible publicity. If this claim is true, I suspect MacDonalds will be heading back to the law courts. The Metropolitan Police will be lucky to have enough spondoolies left for a single doughnut.
Mind you, Paul’s information has come from the same group of activists that were fined £60,000 over that episode and are now engaged in a civil case with the Met over a series of children allegedly fathered by the under-the-bed-cover cops….
We shall see.
Any more entries for Police News of the week?