Brian's Brief Encounters

This is an Unofficial Kaffe Fassett fanzine. Brought to you from a Leafy Suburb of the Throbbing Metropolis.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Kill Arthur: Volume 1

Arthur is ‘dead’.

The Ambulance crew are pretty sure.

We’ve bowed to their superior knowledge.

They’ve managed to convince his weeping widow, sobbing son and the nosey neighbour too.

Unfortunately, Arthur’s stiffening corpse isn’t actually dead yet. Not officially. Officially, he is ‘Apparently Lifeless’. There is still a chance he could be playing a cruel practical joke on us all.

Which is why we are present. Arthur has managed to die at home. In the living room to be more precise. Surrounded by his loved ones. And now us.

We now have to make a phone call to summon a doctor. Then wait for him before we make a second phone call and then wait for an undertaker. Finally we can write a nice story to tell everyone how efficient we were at making 2 phone calls and waiting.

Now, I know this process may be confusing to some. It may raise some questions. Like for instance, why we can’t make both phone calls together? Possibly halving our waiting time? Don’t be stupid.

It’s Saturday evening. So I have gone for a three hour wait for the doctor in the sweepstake. My colleague has gone for two. He’s new. He’ll learn. The first hour will be taken up by our control room trying to convince Arthur’s GP to leave the bosom of their family and drive all the way to us for a 30 second job. Fat chance.

Then we’ll be getting a Police doctor to us. Away from the bosom of their family. Slightly better chance. To tell the difference between an Arthur who’ll be taking Mrs A to the bingo tonight and one who won’t. They get paid. A lot.

By my reckoning they get somewhere close to ten grand an hour to confirm that Arthur is no more and to tell me the time. Plus travel expenses. Even at this fairly generous rate of pay, Arthur won’t be the top of the list for the Police doctor. He’ll fall somewhere after an actual breathing patient and the sumptuous cheese board on offer at their lodge.

I can understand this delay. I blame the ‘Ibiza Culture’ at our top universities.

You see, Year 1 Day 1 of doctor training is a lecture about telling the difference between someone they can help and someone who would be better served by a medium. On day 1 they’re keen, they listen attentively and the make lots of notes. Then it all goes wrong.

Year 1 Night 1 of doctor training usually ends at around 2am in the student bar. Buying rounds with cheques, getting their student debt off to an impressive start and telling each other how they’re going to be cardiac consultants 5 years after graduating.

Year 1 Day 2 seems to come round awfully quickly. There is a fair amount of inattention. And vomiting. The lecture for the day is all about what to do if your notes from day 1 were comprehensive enough to spot that the ‘deceased’ isn’t.

It’s Basic First Aid day. Their first chance to hump a rubber doll in public. Other than being a good warm-up for rag week, day 2 isn’t something your average GP remembers much about.

The NHS have recognised this problem. The doc may be reasonably adept at poking, prodding and coaxing coughs. Writing illegible scripts and notes. Telling you to live like an anorexic rabbit while their shirt buttons fight gallantly to hold back a beer belly. The Practice Nurse is there for the serious stuff.

If the wheel comes off and you happen to be in the need of some First Aid, the doctor will be dialling for an ambulance. While the nurse tries to keep you alive until they get there.

The whole team will be involved in your care.

The Secretary will be on the phone too.

To the person at the top of the waiting list.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Kill Arthur: Prologue

Bit of a chesty cough?

Won’t go away?

Drawing your pension?

Can only afford to have one bar of the fire on?

Haven’t been out of the house for a couple of months?

I can guarantee that after the last time your GP visited he was straight on the phone to his secretary. Asking them to let the person at the top of his waiting list know they could be in luck soon. He’d seen the weather forecast.

Now is the time to get your affairs in order. We’re not talking last will and testament stuff. That’s not my concern. You see, I’ll be round soon. We’ve never met. So you’re unlikely to be leaving your Lladro collection to me. I’ll be in your house for a few hours though we won’t be having much of a chat.

I’ll be getting there at some point after the ambulance crew has given up the fight. They’ll be in need of a much deserved cup of tea. I’ll then have to go through a familiar routine. In most cases this is made more difficult by your lack of forethought.

To help you to help me I’ve prepared a handy checklist. Feel free to print it off and keep it somewhere safe. Not too safe though as your Alzheimer’s can make it a bit tricky to find when you most need it.

Brian’s Handy Dying-At-Home-Alone Checklist:-

Ensure you have an unemotional person who visits you every day. Someone who is not going to let you get a bit whiffy. Someone who is not going to lie, weeping, across you when I’m a bit pushed for time. Home helps are a good option for this role. They’re used to it.

Leave a comprehensive and legible list of people I need to tell.

Make sure you’ve seen your GP within the last 2 weeks. Post mortems are very expensive.

Make sure you don’t die by falling on a knife. Post mortems are very expensive.

Make sure you don’t have any strange bruises. Post mortems are very expensive.

If you’re a regular heroin injector ignore the three above. Like it or not, you’re gonna be wasting the taxpayers money.

If you feel like a bowel movement. Please don’t strain too hard. Dying on the toilet is really not this year’s look. Plenty of fibre in your pre-death diet is a good idea.

Try to make it to your bed. I have a dodgy back.

Leave a note for the milkman. I’ll put it out for you.

Give all your valuables away. Otherwise they end up on my property list.

Make sure you have a selection of beverages, fresh milk and an assortment of nice biscuits in. Hob-Nobs are my favourite.

If you have a garden then make sure the grass is cut.

If you don’t have a garden do your utmost to get the council to move you somewhere that does. Then make sure the grass is cut.

Buy a football. I may be with you for some time.

In case of inclement weather. Get some board games in.

Like Cluedo.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Making Progress

If only George Dixon could see us now.

He’d be amazed at how far we’ve come.

‘Technology’ probably wasn’t a buzz-word in his day. We’re full of it now though.

You name it and the modern Police officer has it somewhere in his armoury. From the humble friction lock baton to satellites. If we need it, it’s there. Some of the time. The only slight niggle I have with technology is it’s a bit temperamental. It isn’t Policeman-proof.

I blame the disposable society in which we now live. I could hark back to the good old days. Days when all I would have to rely on were my sharp intellect and penmanship. Days when a dynamic risk assessment wasn’t required to escort a septuagenarian across the street. Though to be honest I do actually like some of the modern gizmos. Crumple zones and airbags spring to mind.

Imagine George with a personal radio. He could play the song title game on early shifts. As long as he wasn’t in a blackspot. Or it was raining. Or it was humid.

He could find lost cats much easier with the aid of a helicopter. So long as it wasn’t raining. Or a bit breezy. Or they had run out of fuel. Or Jess had strayed anywhere near an airport. Or it was past the pilot’s bedtime.

If things took a turn for the worse in downtown Dock Green he would be like a dog with two tails. Even if the lack of a strap caused his baton to slip from his grip. Or it failed to extend. Or lock. He could rely on his CS spray. Subject to one or two limitations. Obviously.

Like having forgotten to give the can it’s twice daily shake. Or being too far away. Or being too close. Or it being a bit breezy. Or the sprayee being as high as a kite, mentally challenged or both. Or spraying himself. Or, heaven forbid, forgetting to shout a warning first.

If all went well he could break out the Quick-cuffs. As long as they hadn’t fallen out of the inadequate holder during the hurly-burly bit. Or the cuffee had large wrists. Or small ones. Or he couldn’t remember one of the Home Office approved cuffing manoeuvres.

A van with a cage would then be available to him. As long as it was completely clear of the previous arrestee’s bodily fluids. Or wasn’t making a regular ‘disturbed house’ call. Or the anti-lock brakes hadn’t lived up to their hype.

Back at the station he could settle himself down in a climate controlled office. So long as it wasn’t the height of summer. He could log on to a computer. Server maintenance permitting. Using one of his fourteen passwords. Then type the same thing three times. On different software packages that haven’t quite mastered the art of talking to each other.

At some point he’ll have to turn back the clock. Reacquaint himself with a familiar friend. One that hasn’t changed much. A trusty ally he could rely on.

The Throbbing issue black biro.

So long as it wasn’t too cold.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

A Brief Evolution

To the accompaniment of gentle slurping.

The briefing officer continued.

More jobs were dished out. Various unshaven men and women wearing polo shirts and jeans were indicated at the assignment of each task. I didn’t merit a mention. Maybe I was in the wrong place? Maybe I should have worn my civvies? Maybe I shouldn’t have shaved?

My disappointment was short lived. When we reached the Administration information section I got not one, but two tasks! Okay, the briefer didn’t actually know my name. He managed to point me out successfully though.

Everyone had been given their position in the convoy. I was to bring up the rear. Watching their backs so to speak. Once ‘on the plot’ I was given the dangerous task of vehicle security. I was glad we would have body armour on. 6.10am in this particular street can be very hairy at times. You never know when someone might want to break into a car to steal some fast food wrappers or dog chews. They’d have to get past me first.

The bulk of the briefing pack was explained next. Waking up people is quite a Risky business. We’re not just talking morning breath here either. Halitosis aside, they seemed to have thought of everything and I mean everything. Even the environment had been considered. I felt safe I wouldn’t have to look out for Greenpeace activists trying to chain themselves to the dog van.

Good Communication was going to be vital in this dangerous operation. Even though it was unlikely we would ever be more than 5 yards from several colleagues, we had our own radio channel. Just to be sure. Mobile phones were to be switched off until the ‘target’ was secured. An added security measure. In case the spaniel had the dealer’s number on speed-dial.

Drug dealers have Human Rights too. Apparently.

The End.

Well, not quite. You see the briefing officer wasn’t the most senior officer present. Although I was pretty clear about my role in the morning’s events. Some people don’t listen to a mere briefing officer. So, it’s traditional for the next highest ranking officer to add their input. Then the next, and so on. I was glad Sir Ian wasn’t with us. I had a dinner date.

With those pearls of wisdom ringing in my ears I headed for my car. Swelling with pride at my good fortune to have been part of such a modern and professional briefing. How far we’ve progressed since the 70’s. I mean, can you imagine Jack Regan being that thorough?

No. He’d ‘brief’ something like this:-

(Reader aid:- You may need the assistance of ‘language line’ on the sidebar to understand the following)

“Eddie the Snout has been on the blower. Fat ‘Arry and ‘is boys are flogging gear. The beak ‘as signed a double u and we’re gonna spin ‘is drum. Big Willy will do the rory. The rest of you pile in and take ‘em out. They’re a bit tasty so we’re going tooled up. Just ‘oller if you get any grief. Grab a motor and let’s go.”

Positively Neolithic.

Hurrah for progress.

What if big-boned Harold found out his human rights hadn’t been considered? Who would look after the vehicles? Where was his spaniel?

The flares were a mistake too.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

I'll Keep It Brief

Occasionally I have a day off from persecuting motorists.

Sometimes I get to do something really exciting.

Like paying a house call to a ‘suspected’ drug dealer for instance.

It’s not that I wouldn’t like to do this every day. It’s just I know my place. Motorist persecution, form filling and domestic circumstances reorganisation are what I’m employed for. I perform each task with the requisite amount of gusto.

Only if I get promoted out of uniform will I ever have any contact with a narcotic salesman. It’s unheard of to find one on the streets of Small Corner all by myself. I wouldn’t know what to look for. It’s a question I’m often asked by an innocent motorist who considers driving documents to be optional extras. No, I couldn’t spot a burglar or a rapist either. It’s just not my job.

That’s why I’m excited to be in a crowded room at 4am. You see, we’re off to wake a very naughty man up at 6. Apparently he’s been selling things he shouldn’t have. We’re not talking ‘green’ here either. It’s ‘brown’ and ‘white’ he’s been ‘serving up’. I waited for the punch line. It didn’t come. This must mean it’s serious.

He only lives 10 minutes away. We were going to surprise him. In 2 hours time. It would be tight. We may be a few minutes late. I hoped he didn’t go out for a jog. We didn’t want to miss him. We just had something really important to do first.

We had to be briefed.

I don’t want readers to get confused here. This was to be a ‘downhill’ briefing. ‘Uphill’ briefing is for a completely different situation. It has its own mnemonic and everything. This one was strictly IIMARCH.

The briefing pack looked rather thick. It was just as well, I may not have known what was going on without it. Or the nervous briefing officer who read it out loud to us all. He seemed to have thought of everything. I’ll just give you the abridged version.

I’ve already given away most of the Information above. Though, I did forget to include all of the intelligence we had. It seemed all the intelligent people agreed. He was definitely selling drugs. There was some doubt as to his ownership of a TV licence too.

The Intention was to wake him up. Arrest him for selling drugs. Then search his residence for a myriad of items. I can’t go into too much detail here. Suffice to say that I’m glad my bathroom scales aren’t on open view for all my visitors to see, and that I use waxed paper with which to wrap my sandwiches. Phew.

Things started to get complicated at the Method part. It had been agreed that persistent knocking or keeping a finger pressed to the bell wasn’t the way to awaken this man. I’m guessing he’s a heavy sleeper. We had a door entry team. Three men by the window wearing T-shirts with ‘Ghostbusters’ embroidered on the chest were pointed out by the briefing officer. Maybe they were going to a convention afterwards.

The man beside them holding a dog lead was introduced next. It seemed that the Springer Spaniel at the other end of the lead had a crucial role too. If he was apprehensive, he didn’t show it.

He was far too busy licking his testicles.

(…wake up at the back! We’re not finished yet…)

Monday, June 20, 2005

Land Sharks

In amongst the Diversity lectures.

Hendon teaches you something vital.

I don’t mean the Theft Act. Nor the correct use of a speed gun. Nor even their variation of ‘You’re nicked mate’.

It’s something far more important.

You may see it as a welcome half day off from the cut and thrust of the classroom. You won’t get any exam questions on it. You won’t have to demonstrate your knowledge in an observed role play.

Therefore you might be tempted not to listen. I urge you to reconsider. Take notes. If you haven’t got a pen then just commit one sentence to memory.

“Police! Stop, or I’ll release the dog.”

If that’s too difficult for you. Then just the second and last words will do. You will then be shown a very complicated and secret technique. Practice this often.

The Mark 1 Police dog has a number of uses. It works in all weathers and conditions. It doesn’t whinge or moan. It’s not trying to climb the promotion ladder. It doesn’t even recognise the importance of the IPCC.

All it wants is a favourite rubber ball.

When you’re gambolling through council estates, open spaces or gardens at 2am trying to catch up with a naughty person who has expressed his unwillingness to stay put. You need to remember this:-

Rubber ball nirvana occurs when the Mark 1 catches a fleeing person. Any fleeing person.

With the vagaries of wind directions. If you’re more than 5 yards away from the handler, you may not hear the warning shout. You may however catch a phrase along the lines of ‘Go get him’. This is where the problem lies. The handler hasn’t briefed the dog properly. He probably hasn’t even shown it a photograph.

You may think that you’ll reach the naughty person before Mark 1. Unless you’re part cheetah, I’d suggest that you would be mistaken. You may think that Mark 1 will be grateful of your assistance in detaining said naughty person. Wrong again. Now is not the time to think. Now is the time to utilise that oft practiced technique. Hesitation is swiftly punished.

Try as they might, the dog trainers are yet to find a treat tasty enough for the Mark 1 to learn the difference between Police flesh and naughty person flesh. They’ve tried learning workshops, seminars with guest speakers and even rubber ball deprivation. None of it has worked.

The handler may have to be a bit more discreet when handing over the goodies. But, a fleeing figure in full uniform brings the same reward as a fleeing figure in designer trainers and a hoody.

If you’re the one who goes off to hospital for stitches and a tetanus booster. Don’t panic. No one else will ever know about it. No one will stick dog pictures to your locker. You won’t be the recipient of witty, canine metaphor filled e-mails. You won’t hear barking on the radio for the next 6 months every time your number is mentioned.

No. Your Accident & Emergency bed will be visited by a string of concerned colleagues. At times like these you will be thankful you’re surrounded by professionals. All smiling, trying to keep your spirits up. There’ll be great interest in your war wound too.

Even if it is on your left buttock.

Don’t worry.

None of the nurses laughed at me either.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Six Numbers Or Bust

No pin and blindfold for this one.

This was serious.

Loved ones’ birthdays, shoe sizes and my IQ.

Marked with my lucky bookies pen should do it.

Getting to the machine was going to prove tricky. They’d be sure to be watching. Maybe they already were. I had been posted with ‘New’ Bloke.

Bored with your previous career in IT? Yeah right.

Looking for excitement? Oh please.

Wanted to help people? Nark.

I can see you looking at me shiftily as I do my vehicle inspection. Yes, it is normal to use a hand-held metal detector. One too many questions. You might as well have ‘Secret Policeman’ written on your body-cam infested Kevlar vest.

Head lining and headrests both send the detector into a beeping frenzy. ‘New’ Bloke was just an amateurish diversion. An obvious ploy to lull me. I was playing with the big boys now.

With the game well and truly afoot. I would need all of my wits close to hand. I’d need to recall those John Le Carré novels. Those conspiracy-theory blockbusters. Those Michael Moore books.

Suspicions confirmed it was time to put my plan into its penultimate stage. While ‘New’ Bloke looked on nervously I started the anti-surveillance techniques I’d learned from many a Friday night at the Odeon. A random circuitous route, ignoring the speed limits and accelerating through amber lights. Staring hard in my mirrors.

With only a succession of unlicensed mini-cabs sticking to my bumper, I felt safe.

It was a bright, windless day. Another bonus. No chance the helicopter would be able to fly in these conditions. I could head for the nearest lottery terminal at normal pace. Already planning the modern chic décor for my mock Tudor mansion.

Something was wrong though. ‘New’ Bloke was looking smug, almost relieved as we arrive at our destination. I searched my memory and remembered Gene and Will from a couple of summers ago. I still had my phone in my pocket. If the big boys were my opponents, then NASA were sure to be on the case.

Throwing it out the window was an option. What if Camelot decided to ring though? I couldn’t really afford to miss that call. Besides, if they had the right software, NASA could probably track me using the GPS unit in the car’s boot. Damn. John Le Carré kept that one quiet.

Crestfallen, I make my choices and hand over a pound of my dinner money. Now I just need something to take my mind off my problems for the next few hours. Something familiar. Something routine. The radio asks a familiar question.

“Any unit free to deal with a disturbance in private premises?”

That’ll do nicely.

Several routine hours pass.

Having left ‘New’ Bloke re-introducing a regular to his ensuite accommodation, I’d managed to get through most of the booklet. Lost in thought about the hidden meaning of the empty cat basket I’d spotted. The ringing phone brings me back to reality. It’s truth or dare time.

“Can I speak to Brian please?”

Like he doesn’t know it’s me. I’ll keep it brief until my legal representative advises me to be more non-committal. Just in case Julian’s balls bring joy into someone else’s life on Saturday night.

“I’m from ess see dee seven five…”

This bracket omission must be a code so they can recognise each other. Maybe they have a handshake too. I should have got a Lucky Dip.

“… Central Robbery Unit”

What? The Sweeney? Why didn’t he just say so?

It’s lucky my conscience is clear.

I might have panicked otherwise.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

What's Slang For Paranoia?

Skippy is in early.

“You had a phone call”

Very helpful. Maybe I had won the lottery.

“Some bloke from ess see dee seven five. Said he’d call back at 2”

Silly me. How would Camelot know my work number? They’d ring the mobile. I checked, no missed calls. Benidorm again this summer then. Sigh.


This considered reply was in response to my, obviously unexpected, query into what ‘some bloke’ from SCD 7(5) wanted. Skippy isn’t very good at brackets. Taking messages was clearly a development need too.


I have no idea why I thought someone with a D minus in brackets and an F in message taking would know who SCD 7(5) were. Maybe I was distracted thinking about sombreros and UV rays. Still Skippy is good with small animals and children of all ages.

“What was the name of that new complaints unit?”

Delivered so matter of factly I thought it was a plea for help with a particularly difficult Pravda crossword clue. Only when I noticed that this morning’s required reading was a red top did it dawn on me that we were still discussing my mystery caller.

My turn to Dunno. Only I kept it to myself. The ‘C’ word had been used. Outwardly I had to remain calm. I couldn’t show any sign of weakness. Skippy would be quizzed. I felt sure the thumb-screws wouldn’t be resisted. Traitor.

“What have you done now?”

A-ha. Skippy had been seduced by the dark side. I was on my own. Any moment now and Bad Cop would burst in wearing a long leather coat and clutching a length of garden hose. I couldn’t run. As sure a sign of guilt as a ‘No Comment’ interview. With one eye on the door I surreptitiously scanned the room for surveillance equipment. Was that a new kettle?

Nonchalantly, I checked it out.

“Oh lovely. Two sugars please”

Good. My counter-surveillance tactic had gone un-noticed.

Tea was taken. I made sure I was sipping from least offensive of our mug collection. Skippy got the one with the rude picture on it. If Bad Cop chose this moment to appear then I wasn’t going down alone.

Thankfully, the interrogation seemed to be being played by British rules and I was left in peace to ponder.

Sun Tzu is a comfort at a time like this. I needed to know who I was dealing with.

This presented a problem. I couldn’t very well ask a colleague if they knew who SCD 7(5) were. Even if they could out-smart Skippy in a brackets quiz it would only make matters worse. Then THEY would know too. Soon everyone would know that one of the ‘C’units was after me. Conversations would stop when I entered rooms. Old friends would point me out to new joiners and whisper. I’d be shunned at the next relief karaoke.

I couldn’t look it up on the computer either. They’ll know I checked up on them. An ancient warlord’s advice can only get you so far when you remember that it was written pre-Microsoft.

It was Plan ‘B’ then. I needed a newsagent.

Not quite as sophisticated as Plan ‘A’.

It wasn’t even a rollover.

(…to be continued….I hope)

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Kerbing Your Enthusiasm

It’s a real hoot.

Bimbling around winding country lanes for a few weeks.

Breathing the fresh air. Informing everyone present about the hidden dangers of the surrounding scenery. Using the system in the correct order.

If you bimble to the desired standard you get a cardboard certificate. Signed by someone really important. You get the kudos. The pride. The ‘Wel dun’ text messages from jealous colleagues. Crucially, you get a signed and dated Police licence.

Not only can you now drive specified classes of company cars. You can admire yourself in shop windows. Wear your treasured aviator sunglasses. Collide with inanimate objects. On a regular basis.

Since the onset of Global Warming there has been a sharp decline in winding country lanes in the Throbbing Metropolis. During the same period inanimate objects have been quietly on the increase. Hidden in one of the appendices of the Kyoto agreement is the pledge by Throbbers to rid the world of these menaces.

Obviously we can’t be seen to do this deliberately. There would be condemnation. There would be pressure groups. There would be a music event.

No. We have to make it look like an accident. The kind of thing that happens when Driving plans A through to Y have gone awry.

Due to parliamentary decision making there has been a recent amendment to the Z plan, and there are now 3 simple golden rules to follow:-

Avoid living creatures.

Avoid anything containing living creatures.

Avoid foxes.

This mantra is taught in a soundproofed room at Hendon. It has been ratified in Japan. Even George W is on board with this one.

Everything else is pretty much fair game. The following is by no means an exhaustive list:-

Road signs

Traffic signals

Post boxes



Trees (expect a mild ticking-off for this one)

Shops (careful of rule 2 here)

Parked vehicles* (ditto)

Police vehicles (double ditto)

Other Police property (assorted)

*- Guinness recognises that the current best stands at 2 double-decker buses when in a forward gear and 4 various when in reverse.

Hopefully, you’ve emerged the victor. You’ve lived to continue the resistance. You can remember all the gory details, ready for the canteen boasts. You can press the button on your in-flight data recorder.

Environmentalists everywhere will be singing your praises.

There’s just one last hurdle. One that would give Colin Jackson cold sweats. Be afraid. The inanimate objects’ ally has been summoned. Be very afraid.

For he has fearsome power. He was once one of us. Now his flag is firmly secured to the opposing mast.

The interminable wait. The perspiration. The readying of excuses.

Then the cry goes up. “He’s here!”


Behold The Quisling.

Behold The Garage Sergeant.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Spreading The Word

Lord Haw-Haw would be chuffed.

For being the grandfather of spin. Not for the final score obviously.

If you pick up any newspaper in this country you may see mention of a fellow officer misbehaving in some manner. You may even read about a whole collective of officers being naughty. Sometimes it even makes the front pages. I bet you believe it too.

You’d be wrong.

For some strange reason the laws in this country don’t allow my boss (no not that boss) to control what fairy tales make it through your letterbox in the morning. He can’t stop these untruths getting onto rolling news channels either. I think he needs a better publicist.

If only you knew what we know.

You see, we don’t need a bunch of hacks on six figure salaries.

We don’t need newsreaders who know which tone is appropriate.

We don’t even need Rupert.

We have ‘The Job’.

Where bad news is not news.

Think Alistair. Think Hello. Think The Lady. Now mix them all together adding generous doses of blue serge and saccharine. You end up with a bi-weekly, spin-free, thumping good read. It could do with a horoscope though.

Astrological omissions aside. I can thoroughly recommend it.

No representative group of the Policing family is left out. We all have copious amounts of good news to share. And share we do. Copiously.

I know the publishing dates. I have them marked in my diary. If I’m on nights I e-mail a colleague to snaffle me one before they all go. Sometimes they forget and I have to retrieve a well-thumbed copy from a toilet cubicle. I take comfort that the shiny paper it’s printed on will prevent any unexplained smudges.

Although I can read it online, I prefer it in print. For the full effect. Web space restrictions and confidentiality concerns prevent some items from making it into this world. You will never know who has their cat for sale. The war stories from our crack team of tenpin bowlers will not be for your eyes. You won’t even get the advertisements.

This is an area it does particularly well in. Hats off to the Ad managers. In the last issue we had:-

2 for car insurers. Fans of our high driving standards.

3 for personal loans. In case we know someone less well off.

3 for Solicitors. In case we know someone in trouble.

1 for jewellery. Realising our senior officers read it too.

(The one advertising to ‘improve our looks’ has clearly got the wrong publication.)

The next issue is out later today. I’m so excited I can’t sleep.

If you’re the same you can get a sneak online preview.

Just log into Google.

Type in the word “Pravda”.

Click ‘Search’.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Mind That Youth


One quick Hail Mary later and the main force are upon us.

There’s less warning with this attack. Slightly quieter, a bit taller and with a few more teeth on display. Offering some relief to the Fairy. Still, it was backs to the wall time. Stiff upper lips all round. Hell had been unleashed and we were not going down easy.

They were getting sneakier though. It seemed that the presence of incisors gave them the ability to pronounce their effs. “Hello Police” was now interspersed with the occasional “Hello Officer”. Dirty tricks or not, we weathered the storm. Almost manfully.

In these situations, being able to rely on your partner is crucial. Without even looking at each other we’d settled into a steady rhythm. By replying alternately and changing waving arms on a regular basis we were conserving our energy. Initial battle honours may have been awarded to the invaders. We were prepared for the long haul. It was to be our Stalingrad.

They kept coming. I hoped Father Ted had enough wine in.

The volume to height ratio was still widening. Hand-holding was becoming a distant memory and I could almost hear the Fairy sighing with thanks. There was now an air of sullen-ness; increasing with each successive wave.

By the time we reached the veterans they had lost their appetite for the fight. Gleeful skipping had changed to surly trudging. Only the misty-eyed were clinging on to each other. Neat, uniform uniforms had been accessorised and there was blatant gum chewing at the back.

Even the adults looked weary and battle scarred. Pitying smiles were swapped. No words were necessary.

We were relaxed, complacent. Faced with overwhelming odds, we were to be triumphant! This was a story we would be telling our children’s children.

Suitably lulled, our guard had dropped. Little did we know the fourth from last combatant still had plenty of fight in him. It came out of nowhere.


With that single query, delivered with the correct inflection of attitude, we were crushed. Defeated. Enola Gay had arrived over Small Corner and deposited its payload. The effects would be felt by his nearest and dearest for nearly a decade. Musky smells would linger. No amount of skin creams would be sufficient.

The empathetic glances exchanged between the adults present suddenly took on a new meaning. We wouldn’t be escaping lightly either.

I wanted to rush ahead and warn Father Ted.

I couldn’t move. Frozen with fear I looked skywards and got on the hotline.

Unaware of the correct protocols, I was brief.

“Father. Beware the Teenager, for he is amongst us.”

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Mind That Child

We respond to a complaint.

Well actually, we got there a bit late having been unavoidably detained on the way.

‘School-run mum’ had finished her job. The road was deserted and it looked like the ‘No Entry’ sign was going to give us slim pickings.

A local resident’s association had complained. Regardless of our tardiness we were going to perform our task diligently. They were up in arms.

Half an hour later we had made 3 local residents 60 pounds lighter and 3 points richer.

(Reader Tip:- Make sure you’re up to date on what you’re local resident/Neighbourhood Watch group are complaining to us about. Knowledge is power. It prevents friction at any future street festivals too.)

Word had spread. We were bored. I-Spy had ended in a draw and we had moved on to a lacklustre game of Who Am I?

I think I was slightly ahead when it happened.

We could hear them first. It was steadily getting louder.

Every veteran says it’s memories of the noise that wakes them, screaming, in the middle of the night.

Running away was not an option. We had an important job to do. We had both noticed the twitching curtain across the road. It was obvious there was a stopwatch on us with a log was being carefully filled in. Any tactical withdrawal would have been duly noted and timed. There would have been howls of complaint at the next resident’s meeting.

Then they appeared. Three normal sized people, shepherding a crocodile.

The ‘crocodile’ was about 3 foot high and 20+ strong. They were headed straight for us. We were the prey.

There was nothing for it. We had to make the best of a bad situation. Fixing the least evil of my grin collection into place. I bravely stepped into the deserted road and made a point of stopping the imaginary traffic. They were model pedestrians. All holding hands, waiting for me to signal that it was safe to cross. At their age, they had no issues with the obvious gender imbalance and were happily clinging on to their partner.

What happened next still gives me shivers. For we were subjected to 20+ knee-high shouts of ‘Hello Police’ complete with waves (of their free-hands obviously). All of which we responded to in kind. Judging from their smiles, they were very pleased to see us and that the Small Corner tooth-fairy was probably on the phone to Loans-4-U.

Between responding, waving and grinning I managed to grill one of the tall people. Apparently, the WHOLE SCHOOL were on their way to the church, which we were standing outside, for their weekly input from Father Ted.

I’ve seen the league tables. I’ve reported the burglaries. I know it’s an extremely popular and very large school.

Rommel would have been proud of the tactics. We had been trapped in a classic pincer movement.

We had just dealt with the first wave. The recon unit

It was time to pray.

(to be continued…)

Monday, June 06, 2005


My bitch is in season.

She’s grounded, gardens only.

I didn’t expect it to cause a knock at the door. Not when I was enjoying a hard-earned day off gazing vacantly at daytime TV, idly wondering about the contents of my loft.

Tuesday mornings are considered to be safe to answer door knocks. Magazine subscription sellers are at their day jobs. My double glazing is in pretty good condition and I have a shiny new driveway.

With only the tiny regret that I’m sure to miss the final sale price for an interesting knick-knack, I unleash my dressing gown and stubble on to the outside world.

Well, onto a very attractive young lady holding a shaggy dog to be more precise. Years of training have honed my observational skills to near perfection. One of us was clearly excited at the opening of the door. Sadly, it wasn’t the one who spoke.

“You’re a Policeman, right?”

Damn, my cunning disguise hadn’t fooled her.

These four and a half words were the first she’d said to me in over a decade of being neighbours. Actually, she wasn’t a neighbour in the purest sense of the word. She lived opposite-ish. I could only see her house in the winter months when the leaves in our particular bit of suburbia took a sabbatical. Then I would have to crane my neck to a precise angle and make use of a strong pair of binoculars.

My puzzled look was taken as an affirmative and a cue to continue.

“I found this dog outside your gate. It hasn’t got a collar on.”

‘It’ was also sporting an impressive erection. We telepathically agreed to gloss over this fact. I was still at a loss as to see how being a Policeman had involved me in the sordid situation. I don’t even own a video camera.

She quickly explained to clear up any further confusion.

“I thought you would know what to do with it”

Assuming she meant the dog as a whole, I searched my memory to think if this situation had ever been covered in the myriad of TV policing shows. I came up blank. Maybe she had seen something on one of the more obscure satellite channels. Whoever the producer of that programme was, I think you could get your viewer ratings up if you included a short public information piece entitled:- “How to deal with lost, horny dogs without the need to bother your local off-duty Policeman” or something equally catchy. A retired sheriff with big teeth and hair adding gravity to the highlights would be nice too.

Leaving him expectantly sniffing my herringbone block-paving, I rang the locals to get a van sent round.

With the Throbbing Metropolis rumour-mill being quick to condemn and slow to forgive.

I changed out of my dressing gown before they arrived.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Expanding One's Vocabulary

He was an angry young man.

He may have been a bit tipsy too.

He was making it clear that my actions had added to his anger and had prevented him from increasing his level of tipsiness. This was being done in true Small Corner tradition.

We’d had Act 1. Where the call for help had been answered, the crime established, witnesses quizzed, notes taken, the victim’s wishes confirmed and the perpetrator identified.

Act 2 had swiftly followed. A question, a denial, a demonstration of facts in evidence, a law lesson, an explanation of rights, a scuffle, a Home Office approved handcuff application. Everyone was happy with the outcome. Except one young man.

Act 3 had been delayed. Our van was busy, at a ‘Disturbance in private premises’ call. Thus rendering it unavailable for general use for the rest of the day. A stand-in had been summoned and was battling traffic to come to our aid. Meanwhile a nearby pair of kindly colleagues had arrived to help us pass the time. With their assistance I was able to retreat outside spitting distance, find a working pen, appropriate stationery and continue my note-taking during this intermission.

My explanation of rights had been delivered in the correct fashion. I pride myself at not requiring an autocue for these sentences. The “You do not have to say anything” and “Anything you do say may be used in evidence” had been word perfect. It’s not my fault if people don’t listen/care.

Angry Young Man chose to ignore these warnings, repeatedly.

I’m not the fastest of writers. I only managed to record 71 Angry words and phrases. A Small Corner record, so I’m told.

I have to confess to not understanding some of them. It might have been my hearing; it might have been his diction. To try and clarify them would have been an interview. His legal representative would have frowned and tutted. I think he did well, getting most of the 4 letter words. References to my mother also scored quite high.

Just to clear up a couple of queries Angry raised in his monologue:

I’ve seen the marriage certificate. It’s dated before my birth.

That’s a physical impossibility.

I don’t have a sister.

We obviously look at animals from different perspectives.

Skipping several acts, and several months, I find myself at the Small Corner courthouse. Victim and witnesses at the ready, I huddle up with the assigned Oxbridge raised and educated prosecutor for our pre-trial team talk.

She had read my notes; I hoped she wasn’t going to ask me for any definitions as I knew I would blush.

With fingers crossed, I waited for the questions to start. She got straight to the point.

“Why don’t people say ‘Crikey’ anymore?”

I checked and she was right.

He’d missed out on that one.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

A Plea to The Anarchista

I have to confess, I’m not a ‘model’ Anarchist.

If I were, it’s possible I’d be struggling with my conscience.

In my line of work I tend to meet quite a few people with anarchistic tendencies. In fact, everyone who’s had the dubious pleasure of hearing me caution them has demonstrated their support for the movement. A spelling test can usually separate the true believers from the unwitting masses. (The ‘ch’ always catches the hangers-on out.)

True anarchists put me in a diversity quandary. According to the Met, I have to ‘treat everyone according to their needs’. It’s pretty unequivocal. There are no caveats for anarchy.

According to Chambers Dictionary an anarchist believes in ‘the complete absence of law’. It goes on to describe an anarchist as someone who ‘seeks to advance such a condition by terrorism’. They also use the phrases: - Chaos, complete disorder and utter lawlessness. I’m guessing here, but, I don’t believe W & R Chambers were dedicated followers of the cause.

By arresting you, or even enforcing minor parking transgressions, I’m going completely against the Met’s diversity policy. I’m not respecting your beliefs and could be disciplined.

I don’t think that pointing it out to the Diversity Directorate would result in a re-think. They’ve printed thousands of booklets telling us how to be nice to people from various different backgrounds. You’re not included. They’ll just sweep this oversight under the carpet.

I have a plan though.

Unfortunately, my pin and blindfold system on the 5th didn’t result in a vote for your party. I looked a bit closer and noticed that you didn’t even field a candidate in my constituency! How could you have made such a mistake? I live in middle-class suburbia, we’re as ripe as we’re ever gonna be for anarchy.

If you start now, you’ve got at least 4 years to get your act together. Sort your hustings meetings out and get your candidates out kissing babies.

I can’t promise I’ll peek.

But, if my voting method results in a vote for you and you win the election.

Can I be Commissioner?

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Party Animal

I do have some friends.

Other than Police officers that is.

Occasionally they realise their social gathering guest list is safe enough for me to be invited, and I get to break out the civvies ready for a wild night out.

You know the sort of thing. Little Isabella is having her 1st birthday party. After the requisite amount of hours cooing over photos, videos, DVDs, MPEGs and real life small people, the adults get to binge drink until it’s time to get home for the babysitter.

We can reminisce about the days gone by when we didn’t need a reason to party. Days when Little Isabella and her ilk were just very scary thoughts, put to the backs of our minds. That was until body clocks started chiming all over suburbia.

If we’re really lucky, there’ll be a bouncy castle.

It’s at this time I know I can rely on my close friends. They won’t be in the queue.

You see I’ve noticed you looking at me this evening. Word has clearly spread to the uninitiated.

There’s a Police officer here!

He looks approachable enough. He’s been drinking beer too. Wow.

You’ve reached the minimum 4 alcohol unit threshold and it’s time to make your opening gambit.

Sigh. Luckily, I’ve done my networking early. I’ve found a builder who will be happy to talk to me on Monday morning to arrange an appointment. I’ll find out then if any jobs he’s done have appeared on DIY-SOS. He looks too busy enjoying himself to tackle that now.

I’m now in full public relations mode.

Yes, I enjoy my job.

No, I’m not on duty now.

Yes, I have seen some gruesome sights.

Let me think. Perhaps you’d like to hear about the two week old hanging, complete with maggots, as you tuck into that prawn vol-a-vent? Maybe that sushi will taste nicer if I relate the tale of the car crash decapitation from the other week?

No, I have nothing to do with speed cameras.

No, I don’t have a Lodge friend who is in charge of speed cameras.

No, I don’t know why your 5 year old burglary hasn’t been solved yet.

No, nor where your last but one car is.

No, I don’t watch it.

No, I don’t know Tony Stamp, or Reg Hollis.

Yes, I do have my own handcuffs.

No, I leave them at work.

No, I don’t plan to drive myself home.

No, after 7 glasses of Chilean Rioja, I think you should consider a taxi.

Yes, even though we’ve had a big meal.

No, to the best of my knowledge, none of them moonlight as strip-o-grams.

No, I don’t think they’ll change their minds for your mate’s 40th.

Bouncy castle anyone?

All ramblings Copyright(c) 2005/2006 by Brian. Ask First.