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 âNews Internationalâ arrests as part of Operation Elvedon, showing that he could always chose to augment his income with a nice cheque for Â£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 â as they would have done to any member of the public who came up with a good story â 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 donât 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 âBig Brother Houseâ transmissions 24 hours a day! No really, so concerned are they that the latest celebrity policeman (the sorcererâs 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, (thatâs âwithout charge in the form of criminal chargesâ, not as in âfree of charge to News Internationalâ) that they have a squad of âexperienced chid protection officersâ 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 kidâs fully dressedâ¦.) but now I fear they will be in need of lengthy specialised psychiatric nursing. Iâve only ever seen 20 minutes of Big Brother and the scars remain to this dayâ¦
Down in sleepy Glastonbury, a couple of âFools from the National Academyâ (I kid you not!) dressed respectively as a giant penis and a giant vagina, were attacked by an outraged bystander. I donât 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 â 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 â particularly since the penis was allowed to continue on his priapic wander. âSteady as you go, Sirâ.
Joanne Tremarco, who was dressed in costume as female genitalia, told a police officer they did not want to press charges against the man.
âThen he explained that I needed to take the costume off, or I could be arrested,â 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 nationâs entire network of support services for sexual exploitation. 2 of the 18 national sexual assault referral centres â there are none in the East of England or in North Wales! Itâs very own rape crisis centre â even its own specialist domestic violence court to deal with offenders. All for just 4.3% of the total female population. (Domestic violence doesnât 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 â but curiously, it seems that they have little time for such domestic jollies â for the North East now holds the title for the most number of thefts, vandalism, frauds, and assaults against workers in local businesses.
Thatâs 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 âbusiness violence centresâ, or wailing that advice from local police on how to protect your business is âvictim blamingâ? I wouldnât hold your breath. So far she has been remarkably sanguine about the figures.
She said: âIf weâre doing things wrong then they need getting right. Statistics for crime against businesses are down on the whole â itâs just that we have come to the top of the table because our figures havenât gone down as much as other regions.
I look forward to a similarly sanguine comment on domestic violence â ânot that much of a problem, just that our figures havenât gone down as much as elsewhereâ¦â¦!
Even Our Vera isnât the end of the bad news for Plod this week. Paul Lewis, the Guardianâs âSpecial Project Editorâ, 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 â 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 âungreenâ practices in the MacDonaldsâ cook house. It led to the longest running and most costly libel battle in British judicial history â 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, Paulâs information has come from the same group of activists that were fined Â£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 copsâ¦.
We shall see.
Any more entries for Police News of the week?