Brian's Brief Encounters

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

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The Breakfast Club

There are very few things that can’t be solved in the canteen.

Straight after a 999 artery blocker is usually the best time to tackle the weighty issues of the day. Much less chance of being interrupted and everyone is too knackered and stuffed to get up. So, once the boys have “Cor-ed” over Page three and the girls have finished deciding which Z-list starlet needs a new dietician; the designated reader seeks out the story to be the day’s subject.

Mr Todd got a mention recently. It seems he’s today’s popular media darling by taking a no-nonsense approach with an emphasis on nicking bad guys, not hounding the innocent. Those ‘innocent’ being motorists who have been victims of their own right foot and lack of forward vision. They have then been ‘hounded’ by Police officers who would be better off catching ‘real criminals’.

The article provoked much mirth and head-shaking. Coupled with some Blazing Saddl-esque punctuation for the more cringeworthy sentences. Not because we have anything against Mr Todd you understand. It’s just that our sleep deprived brains thought that the story may have led the unwary to believe that the rest of us spent our days behind a camera. With a calculator close to hand to work out our cut of the profits.

It’s not very often we bother to discuss, with each other, the misguided conceptions of the unwary. We’re normally too bored with the subject; having had the chance to put our views across at every non-Police social gathering we attend and to nearly every ‘innocent’ motorist we stop. I believe one or two present may even have got their crayons out to write stern letters to different newspapers in an effort to put our side across. The campaign isn’t going very well.

You see, we can’t really argue with the fact that we often stop cars. Round the table there was in excess of 150 years of policing experience. That’s a lot of cars. So many that none of us could even hazard a guess at how many drivers we’ve spoken to. However, we knew the exact total of tickets we’ve issued for speeding between us. None.

That’s right. Not a single one. Another quick show of hands revealed that no-one had had the Chancellor on the phone to tell them that they weren’t trying hard enough. Nor had anyone got a ticking off or a ‘could do better’ on their annual appraisal.

So why waste so much of our time stopping ‘innocent’ motorists then?

Well, believe it or not, there are a few not so innocent people who know how to drive. The occasional ‘real criminal’ has been known to get behind the wheel from time to time. They seem to find cars much more convenient than the number 73 bus. I can’t think why.

Sometimes they even drive too fast.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Copper Chopper?

I’m sure I remember something from the dim and distant past.

Something about the Police being independent of the government. I can’t be certain though, it could have been ‘dependent on the government’. I’m pretty sure the oath I swore mentioned the occupant of Buckingham Palace and not the occupants of Westminster Palace. Things seem a bit hazy now, it could even have been Beckingham Palace.

I was only wondering because I read with interest recently about the newest member of the Throbbing Metropolis Management Board. Our brand new Director of Modernisation: Mr Rimmer. No, not that Rimmer. I’ve seen his photo and he looks nothing like Chris Barrie.

This Mr Rimmer has a remarkable CV with stints in the Prison Service, Policing Policy Unit, Central Drugs Co-ordination Unit and Northern Ireland Office. Well, it impressed me anyway. I didn’t know that a Police officer could work in so many lofty positions. I thought Garage Sergeant was the best we could hope for.

Reading further I discovered that Mr Rimmer is in fact a civil servant and not a Police officer. He has spent the last four years working to the Home Secretary. That’s a shame; if he had gone through Hendon he would have a better understanding of policing the streets of the Metropolis. He’d have free train travel too.

To the best of my knowledge we’ve never had a Director of Modernisation before. Definitely not one who is a senior civil servant. So I can’t really know what will happen. He has many roles on the Management Board, two of which are performance and efficiency. Let’s hope things have moved on since the days of Sir Humphrey Appleby then.

I’m not sure that Mr Rimmer has quite grasped the concept of being a Police policy maker when he says that he ‘hopes to spend at least one day a week out of the office’. He says it’s so that he can observe operational policing; which will most likely entail sitting in another less salubrious office watching an officer swearing at a computer screen. Still, he’s new, he’ll learn.

I couldn’t help but notice another new venture for the modern Police service when catching up on my reading. I’m almost convinced that this one isn’t linked with Mr Rimmer’s remit for efficiency so I don’t want my colleagues at the Air Support Unit to worry. Although their current toys retail at about two million apiece and these ones are a snip at £30.99 (complete with pilot and sandwich box):-

I don’t think Mr Rimmer would be able to justify this particular downsizing exercise. After all they don’t even have a thermal imaging camera fitted; and without that it’d be virtually useless at night.

The Police, Camera, Action! producers wouldn’t be happy either.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Common Sense Exercise

It seems that more people want to see my friendly face.

You’re fed up with me chugging past in my low powered diesel vehicle making lots of noise and often delaying your important car journey by ten seconds. That’s just not good enough for you anymore.

No, you want to see more ‘bobbies on the beat’; especially now that the bus conductors definitely aren’t coming back. I’m sure that when you’re setting policies this one may feature somewhere in the top ten. That’s fine with me, I quite like the idea. Except if it’s a bit chilly or drizzly that is.

I’m not too sure that the handful of officers covering half a county between them every night would be with me on this. But, in the Throbbing Metropolis it wouldn’t be too bad. There are more of us to go around and we have 24 hour buses should we need to get somewhere in a hurry.

Obviously there are one or two downsides. Not that they’re very important; nor are they likely to take the shine off of my stress-free days strolling around the streets of Small Corner chit-chatting with reassured policy makers.

Drawback number one would be the advantage Police cars have over Police officers when it comes to carrying equipment. There is enough in your average low powered diesel vehicle to make a team of sherpas summon reinforcements. Not that we need all of this for every call you understand, it’s there just in case. Foot patrol virtually guarantees that everything you attend will require an item or form that is normally in the boot of the car. Not an insurmountable problem. I can just walk back to the station and get it.

The second problem may be harder to overcome. You see, looking reassuring and waving at small children is all well and good if it wasn’t for one minor detail. That would be those times when our crystal ball has malfunctioned and we weren’t walking along the right street at the precise moment a crime is being committed. On those occasions you may feel the need to reach for the phone and correct these errors. In fact you’re really good at this and we get between ten and twelve thousand calls for these oversights. That’s across the Metropolis each and every day. I think we might need a new crystal ball.

A good number of these are graded as ‘emergency’ calls. This means that we have to get to them within twelve minutes to keep the statisticians and performance managers happy. Every now and then they turn out to be real emergencies. Police cars are pretty useful for getting us there within the time limit. If we were all on foot we might have to get that limit extended a bit. Is an hour okay with you?

All this hot-footing around to meet the time limits may delay us in getting to the non-urgent calls. Sorry about that. Maybe we could pop round during a normally quiet period to discuss the youths who were playing football in your street last week?

I’m sure you’ll be pleased to see my friendly, reassuring face.

Somewhere between four and six in the morning.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Recruitment Drive

Your country needs YOU!

Don’t panic. I’m not about to ask you to don the blue serge and join me in a Safety Partnership van behind a camera viewfinder. There just isn’t enough room to fit you all in. Besides, I don’t have enough tea bags or doughnuts to go around.

No, there’s a much more difficult job waiting for you if you want it. Sir Ian has spoken and the thrust of his speech was identifying the chronic shortage of policy makers. Currently the number of job opportunities in this sector stands at somewhere near the 58 million mark. Give or take.

Unfortunately it’s a voluntary position; a bit like being a Special Constable but without the uniform, training or free tube travel. On the upside though, there’s no reason for you to have the slightest idea about policing. We wouldn’t want to ruin a perfectly good tradition.

It seems that we aren’t good enough at setting our own policies. Nor are those men and women 61% of the electorate voted for this year. The Queen simply isn’t cutting the mustard either, despite rubber stamping hundreds of new laws in the past few years. She must be worn out.

Apparently we have reached this impasse not because there are too many interested parties wanting to become involved in what we do, not because there have been any knee-jerk reactions to situations in recent years, not because everything we do, or don’t do, is played out in the media ad infinitum and certainly not because there has been a lack of focus on what the Police are supposed to be doing. No, instead we are here because of the bus companies. After all they’re the ones who got rid of the bus conductors in favour of driver only vehicles. Forever banishing these ‘agents of social enforcement’ to the dole queues.

So Sir Ian has asked you to ‘articulate what kind of Police service you want’. I’m not clear on whether or not he wants all 58 million of you to agree with each other. I’m guessing we might have to wait a while for that to happen.

Let’s start with a simple one for you to ponder:-

You have already voiced your opinion about Operation Kratos and you don’t think it’s a very good idea. I’m sure you don’t because all of the papers say so. That’s okay as I have some alternative suggestions you can pick from.

1. We put our fingers in our ears and hope nothing goes “Bang!”

2. We challenge the person in 43 different languages using an acceptable phrase like “Are you a suicide bomber?” before calling a 24 hour helpline at the IPCC to see if it’s okay with them if we pull the trigger following an affirmative response.

3. We jump on them and cut the red wire. It’s always the red wire. You only have to remember what happened when Riggs cut the blue wire by mistake.

Let me know when you’ve reached a consensus on this and the one or two other pressing issues we’re facing. Like hoodies, fashion faux-pas or hanging offence?

Until then I plan to muddle on; trying to arrest the bad guys and help the good guys.

If that’s alright with you.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

The Thin Blue Line

"Cowards die many times before their deaths,
The valiant never taste of death but once."

William Shakespeare

Thursday, November 17, 2005

With Honours

Right, now all the excitement is over.

4. It’s time for a cigarette and the ‘How was that for you?’ discussion. Unless you’re in Wales, then you’ll have to make do with a nicotine patch. You may well be used to an in-depth analysis with all participants having their say in a classroom using the ubiquitous ‘What went well and why?’ format. Unfortunately, Hendon have snaffled every beanbag in the southern half of the UK. Together with all of those officers best suited to using them.

You’re more likely to find yourself in the back yard with an experienced colleague asking ‘Alright?’ It doesn’t really matter what you say to this. Your colleague will know the real answer from how you respond and how long it takes them to get you laughing. This is where you learn that virtually everything has a funny side to it. Welcome to the world of stress counselling.

5. Once you’re ready to confront your demons again, and you’ve apologised at least three times for emptying your CS canister in my face, watch out for one particularly mischievous sprite. The Wardrobe Monster. It comes in various crafty disguises normally referred to as minor offences. I know that different governments have passed laws about the likes of seat belt usage, litter, street trading and dog fouling. Boisterous children regularly get a mention in community feedback too. All very worthy causes for your time. What would the PCSO’s do though?

The Wardrobe Monsters aren’t the only little tinkers you need to deal with. Please try to remember the other lessons you had in between the diversity lectures. To aid your memory, here is a paraphrase of a well known quote:-

“It’s the burglars breaking through the window that you want to be worried about.”

6. While we’re on the subject of memory; please try to improve yours. ‘Sir’ or ‘Madam’ will do for now, you can get on to remembering names for more than two seconds as you get more experienced. That way when you’ve decided to use your stop and search powers for weapons or drugs; you may consider searching the person some time before you’ve got your pen and notebook out, and started writing the next volume of War and Peace.

I know you find writing very calming. But, having your reasonable suspicions proved correct by the subject of your essay either swallowing the drugs or using the weapon on you aren’t the ideal scenarios. The pen isn’t always mightier than the sword.

7. If your search has proved fruitful, don’t get your pen out just yet. Yes, I know you’re itching to. But, there is something very important to consider first: Why are most old Policemen fat? Well, it’s the age-old problem of poor diet and lack of exercise I’m afraid. The canteen takes the blame for the former. Their lack of need to chase prisoners down the road is partially at fault for the latter.

Somewhere on your Gucci equipment belt you’ll find a very useful tool. Hopefully, from the dark recesses of your mind you’ll recall the circumstances in which you can use this handy device. You’ll only forget once. Trust me.

Finally we get to the conundrum of effective policing versus complaints. The only real way to avoid the risk of a complaint is to have no contact with the public. This is kinda tricky on the streets of the Throbbing Metropolis. Wherever I go I keep bumping into the pesky blighters. Until you manage to get promoted into an office job, your chances of hearing ‘I’m making a complaint’ are fair to middling.

What is it that most upsets our target audience? “Police Brutality”? Nope. Having an –ism or being an –ist? Wrong again, you’ve been watching to many documentaries. I’ll put you out of your misery; it’s actually being rude. Or, ‘Incivility’ as my wonderful friends at the IPCC like to refer to it. So, how do you avoid gripping the rail?


Be polite to the ****ers.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


Until the new recruitment process is in place.

There’s a good chance that you may be leaving Hendon to spend some time on the leafy avenues of the Throbbing Metropolis. Try not to panic too much; I’m sure you’ll be able to find a nice cosy office soon. In the meantime you’ll have to engage with the public from time to time. Sorry.

I know I’m not actually academically qualified (yet) to offer you any advice on working out on the mean streets; so if you choose not to read on then I’ll understand.

Brian’s Big Bad World Guide For Beginners©

1. Everyone will know you’re new. People you deal with will mention it from time to time. Street policing is an art to which not everyone is suited. So, if they’re still regularly saying it at the end of your probation then I’d suggest you get your name down on the waiting list for an office job. That way you’ll be able to look down your nose at me and perhaps set a policy or two for us to laugh at.

2. Up until this point you’ve dealt with trainers in role plays who didn’t really mean it when they got a bit uppity with you. The first thing a good tutor constable will do is to get you to deal with potentially confrontational situations. They’re not being mean, they just want to make sure that you won’t cry or run away. As I’ve mentioned in the past; please try not to do either of these things as it makes us all look bad. Punching someone who doesn’t thank you when you give them a ticket is frowned on too.

3. You know the bit on the application form that asked you to describe a confrontation you dealt with? You probably jotted something down about how some friends of yours got into a heated debate over a refereeing decision and you acted like an ACAS representative on valium to resolve the difference of opinion before someone had their hair gel messed up.

Well, I can’t promise you any verbal sporting disputes. But, I can guarantee that you’ll have to deal with a fight or two. They’re unlikely to be adhering to The Marquis of Queensbury’s rules either. So sounding a bell won’t stop it. Nor will Hendon trained way of starting every interaction off with “Hello, my name is Constable Smith. Who called the Police?” Pick the biggest participant and try to recall everything your officer safety trainer taught you about fighting dirty. Remember to duck at the right moments too.

If the whole team/pub/household/street has joined in then the chances are you may want to call for some help. Please don’t scream into your radio. It doesn’t sound very professional and we can’t understand you. All we need to know is where you are. If you haven’t remembered to look at the street name then we may be a while.

That should give you plenty of time to figure out how your CS canister works.

Consider pointing it at the naughty people and try not to spray your partner.

I’m getting a bit fed up with it now.

(…there’s a bit more…)

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Pole Vaulting

The Principal
Small Corner Polytechnic

Thicko With Aspirations
Small Corner
The Throbbing Metropolis

Dear Professor,

I appreciate that we have never met. Although this isn’t through my lack of trying; as I have visited your campus on numerous occasions. I’m guessing that you are normally home in bed while I’m answering the many calls to burglaries at your sites. I know we haven’t yet managed to bring any of these annoying incidents ‘to justice’. But, we’re working on it and according to the latest force statistics we’re getting there. Just like British Rail.

You may have read in the media recently that some very clever people have worked out why you are the repeat victim of many burglaries. It has nothing to do with our belief that the courts aren’t sentencing burglars more punitively. No, apparently it’s because not enough of us have spent time in establishments like yours; buying fast food with cheques, drinking cheap alcohol and borrowing traffic cones.

Unfortunately, I spent those formative years learning a little bit about life in general and trying to get to grips with the paid work-ethic. Only now do I realise what a silly mistake this was. Obviously, I could atone for my error by taking a few years out to study for a degree at your fine establishment. However, I fear that this may be an option a number of my colleagues will choose to take; given that we are all academically challenged and therefore of little use to the general public as we are. If we were all to be found in your subsidised student bar every night I’m not sure who would be left to deal with drunks and the domestics. Not to mention the security of our near extinct traffic cones.

This is where you come in as I need a small favour. I’ll be honest here, not only will the granting of this favour ensure I can solve your burglary problem it may well lead to my promotion. I know that the clever people don’t currently consider me ideal promotion material as I have some grasp of basic policing and am therefore probably incapable of setting effective modern policies. That’s why I need your help.

Would it be possible for you to award me an honorary doctorate?

I know you probably have a file of more deserving people upon which to bestow this accolade. Although as all of The Bee Gees, Hans Blix and Robert Mugabe already have one you can take them off your list.

Before you send me the polite regret letter I’d like to try and reassure you that I’m not just trying to guarantee my quick promotion to a key service delivery role somewhere within the massed ranks of ACPO. I judge myself to be a very worthy candidate and wish to point out that:-

I have never been the recipient of an EU sanction.

My karaoke rendition of Staying Alive needs to be heard to be believed, and

I have actually found some weapons in my career.

Submitted for your consideration,

(Stupid) Brian

P.S. I also promise not to use the elevated position that an honorary doctorate would secure to lobby my MP for their support with any future Badger Act white papers.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Pole Climbing

I realise that the Guild of Polymer Engineers may be disappointed.

But, I’m afraid I won’t be joining them in the near future. I have no idea if the Spatial Arts graduates have a group; but I won’t be joining them either. Much as I’d love to. Unfortunately, as a taxpayer, I would have to pay lots of money to learn their crafts. Sorry guys.

Of course there are alternatives to try and resolve the issues surrounding my academic abilities. Seeking promotion the traditional way seems to be the most obvious. I’m not quite sure how this process sits with those clever people at Politeia; it may just move me from the downright stupid category into the ‘poor leadership’ one.

To reach the dizzy heights of Sergeant I would need to:-

Read a handful of books. Having had a flick through some of these I’ve noticed that there are lots of big words and not very many pictures. As most of the books I read usually require a set of coloured pencils, which these don’t, I can see myself losing interest after the first few pages. There are lots of very important looking chapters about laws and things, including a section on the infamous Badger Act.

Sit an exam. Fortunately, this doesn’t require any actual writing as it’s multiple guess. Unfortunately, the questions don’t bear any relation to the job I do now. Instead they’re deviously designed to test whether or not I’ve read the handful of books. Damn, I might have stood a chance if they were about drunks, drugs and domestics. To the best of my knowledge I’ve never even met a badger.

In the unlikely event that I exceeded the daunting fifty five percent pass mark, I could move on to stage two; the Pseudo-Sergeant.

This is a recent innovation involving the need to find someone who knows some impressive sounding phrases and all of the current buzzwords to fill in an application form for me. As long as this made me appear suitable enough I could pretend to be a Sergeant for a year or so. As this is a very new scheme I’m not quite sure how it works. I’m guessing that the most important criteria would be to not upset any senior officers, or to let any badgers rights be exploited.

Now, I can see that this system does have some merits. But it does seem like an awful lot of hard work to start climbing the ladder towards a ‘key service delivery role’. I can’t see Politeia being totally convinced about it either, and they’re the people who should know.

Luckily it’s not the only alternative.

I have a cunning plan.

(…to be continued…)

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Bottom Of The Class

The think-tanks have been hard at it again.

You may have read a story or two about the report those very clever people at Politeia have just published. In case you missed them, let me enlighten you.

It’s official; I’m stupid.

Those of us who took a rather relaxed attitude to formal schooling were made to sit an entrance exam. Fortunately it wasn’t exactly ‘mind-stretching’, as I may not have scraped through if it were. If I had been a girly swot and spent a few years of my life at a polytechnic I wouldn’t have had to sit it. I may have been a really important policy maker by now too. Damn.

I’m sure I would have been much better equipped to do my job if I’d managed to stick it out in the education system. Only now can I see that a degree in Food Science would be invaluable when trying to sort out the melee outside a kebab shop at 2am on a weekend. Or, maybe, a qualification in Interior Architecture and Design would assist me when dealing with a ‘disturbance in private premises’?

The next time I’m called to a pub fight I hope I have a Cosmetic Science graduate in the car with me rather than an ex-marine without a GSCE to his name. Having two officers with ‘questions about our ability’ turning up wouldn’t give us a hope of being able to deal with it. We’d probably have to wait for a clever person to join us first; as the ex-marine and I would clearly need someone to ‘inspire confidence’ and to provide the ‘leadership’ before we could get stuck in.

Politeia don’t think our insistence that all officers join us on the bottom rung of the ladder is very fair to those ‘abler’ people. They’d like to see a return to streaming, where graduates could skip working with us thickos and get straight into ‘key service delivery roles’.

Those extremely bright graduates with a First could start on a senior management team.

The ones who just missed out with a 2:1 could join at Inspector level.

If three years of hard study resulted in a ‘Desmond’ then a Sergeants position awaits. We like Sergeants who know how to party.

Being uneducated and with ‘issues about my academic ability’ hasn’t, until now, left me believing that I’m ‘ill-equipped to combat crime’. In fact I thank Politeia for pointing this out. Having spent years thinking that I only have to be slightly smarter than the criminals I deal with just won’t cut it anymore. It’s time I did something about it so I can appear less ‘incompetent’.

I have only one question for the geniuses at Politeia:-

Which degree do you think will be the most useful in my role as a 21st century Police officer;

Polymer Engineering or Spatial Arts?

Sunday, November 06, 2005

One For The Not So Clever

In the past this would have been the end of the questioning.

Now that my mates in the Risk Assessment Empire have had their tuppence worth of input, we need to ask you some more personal questions. We’ve tried to make them as simple as possible for obvious reasons.

Can you read? A good proportion of you can’t. That’s okay, if we think you need it we’ll spend some more government money getting someone in to help you out. It does make me wonder how you managed to fill out all of those complicated forms to apply for your state benefits.

Do you have any learning difficulties? We’re not interested if you’re just ‘no good at maffs’ we promise not to give you any complicated algebra equations to mull over while you’re with us. Nor are we interested if you had trouble working out how Newton applied his three laws of motion to Kepler’s laws of orbital motion and came up with the universal law of gravitation. What we really mean, but can’t ask, is ‘are you thick?’

Did you go to a special school? In the unlikely event that you’re an Eton or Harrow alumnus we don’t really need to know. Hopefully you’ve answered ‘yes’ to the first question and can help us out with the Newton/Kepler laws if called upon. This question is just our polite way of asking ‘are you sure you’re not thick?’

Have you ever tried to harm yourself? On the scale of important questions that we have to ask you; this one ranks pretty high. You would not believe the amount of paperwork generated if someone tries to harm them self in a cell. As we try to avoid additional paperwork wherever possible we’ll be a bit miffed if you do.

A word of caution to the jokers out there who think it’s funny to answer ‘yes’ to this question for a bit of a laugh; especially if you’ve been otherwise annoying up to this point. You will find yourself stripped of your clothing and wearing one of our fashionable ‘rape’ suits. You’ll have to take your chances that the air conditioning is working too as you’ll be in a cell without any bedding. Don’t take it too personally, we really do hate paperwork.

Do you have any medical conditions? This is your opportunity to tell us about your asthma while demanding a cigarette in the same, wheezy, breath. There’s no need to tell us that you had your tonsils out twenty years ago. Neither are we interested if you’re impotent. Luckily for you it’s strictly one person per cell nowadays, so there’s not much chance of disappointing Bubba.

Are you taking any medication, prescribed or otherwise? Viagra or herbal teas aren’t too much of an issue here. Anti-psychotic and anti-depressants are a bit higher up the scale. If you swallowed a quantity of Class A drugs when you saw the nasty Police officers coming, please tell us. Just to save us from the extra writing.

Do you need help for any other reason? Or, in other words:-

“Are you absolutely certain you’re not thick/going to cause us extra paperwork?”

Thursday, November 03, 2005

One For The Righteous

Once we’ve established who you are.

(Even if it is a 77 year old, colour blind cartoon character from La-La Land.)

You’re now entitled to your rights. Please remember this isn’t America, nor is it a movie. You have three; we know what they are because we’ve done this before. If you believe you know better then please make sure you shout at the Custody Sergeant. They like that.

Your first right is to free and independent legal advice either in person or by telephone. Now we know this is a tough one to think about. Not so difficult for those of you who are carrying your favourite solicitor’s card or have them on speed-dial on your mobile. You know that at least they’ll get you out of your cell for a bit of a chat to break up the monotony.

For you first-timers; unfortunately we are unable to make the decision for you. I know you’ve seen the TV programmes where the clever lawyer turns up and frustrates the stupid Police officers before walking out with their client. As we’re not in America this won’t be happening to you. Sorry.

In our little backwater things are a bit different if you choose to avail yourself of this right. We’ll phone a central number and they’ll contact whichever shyster firm is currently on call for our area. At this point the solicitor will know what you’ve been arrested for. As they get most of their money from the bottomless Legal Aid pit, if you’ve been unlucky enough to be arrested for an offence that doesn’t qualify you’ll only be having a telephone conversation and a vague promise of someone being at court for you should you need it. Unless, that is, you’re one of the minority of our customers who isn’t currently passively seeking employment whilst studying for a degree in Daytime TV. The smell of cash will lure them down to the station soon enough.

Your second right is to have someone informed that you’ve been arrested. Please note that this doesn’t say you will be informing them. So if you’ve been shouting through the booking in procedure that you want to make a phone call because you ‘know your rights’ then see above. The bit that says we know what they are. I’d guess that the chances are we’ll be making the call for you, just to save you the trouble.

Especially if you’re still insisting that you really are Mickey Mouse. Juveniles should also note that your parents will be being told despite your wishes. So when we promised you that we wouldn’t in exchange for your real details. We lied.

Your last right is to consult the Codes of Practice which is a book about Police powers and procedures. I know it sounds like a really riveting read. Personally, I’ve never been bored enough to bother reading it. I’ve had a flick through and it’s sadly lacking in naked flesh, jokes and Su-Doku puzzles. Still, as you won’t be getting any Horlicks you could give it a whirl.

Just don’t rip it up or stuff it down the toilet when you’ve absorbed all the useful information in it. That’ll be another offence we’ll add on. You won’t be the first. Don’t worry if you’ve ignored my advice, we have lots of copies as it far outranks Harry Potter in the ‘ripped up and stuffed down a Police cell toilet’ list.

Now you’ve had your rights and made your choices we get to the complicated bit. You’ll be asked to sign to say that you’ve been told them.

Remember it’s:- em em oh you ess ee

( be continued..)

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

A Word To The Wise

It is generally considered to be the worst office job going.

So I’m told, I’ve never done it myself.

Sat behind a computer in a windowless, smelly, noisy place somewhere in the bowels of most large Police stations there lurks a guardian of naughty peoples’ rights.

If you ever get arrested then you’ll be meeting one very soon too. No, not a social worker or legal representative; they come along a little bit later. I’m talking about the caring, sharing Custody Sergeant. Unfortunately the publishers of Debrett’s have failed to include a section for this meeting. I’m sure this is just an oversight and I have sent them the following for inclusion in their next edition.

Brian’s Handy Etiquette Guide For Arrestees©

The Custody Sergeant has three main roles:

1. To make sure you leave the station in the same physical state as you entered it. Albeit more sober in most cases.

2. To ensure we don’t do anything illegal.

3. To gather statistics for the Home Office.

You may be feeling a little bit hard done by and slightly aggrieved. Please don’t vent these emotions on them. It’s not that they don’t care (I’m sure there may be one, somewhere, who does). It’s just not their job. Screaming and swearing at them isn’t going to get you very far. Neither is crying, ladies.

Once the nasty officer who arrested you has satisfied the Custody Sergeant that you deserve to be there you’ll be asked a series of questions. How you choose to answer them will determine how long your stay with us will be. We’ve tried to make them as simple as possible so you shouldn’t need to phone a friend.


Now I appreciate that we’ve started with the trickiest of them all. Giving us your real name isn’t really playing the game. You’ll have to see if you can remember the one you told the nasty officer. If you can’t then try ‘Mickey Mouse’, we haven’t heard it before. If you’ve fibbed, please don’t later sign the custody record using the name on your birth certificate. Using a false one that you can actually spell helps too.


Believe it or not we’ll check. Until we have your real one you’ll be staying with us. If you’re found to have given us the wrong one and aren’t going anywhere then don’t be surprised if you still aren’t leaving after we’ve found out where you really live. We’re a bit funny like that.

Date of birth:-

If you’ve got a three day stubble growth, it’s unlikely that we’ll be fooled when you tell us you’re only fourteen. Please bear in mind that the follow up question will be ‘How old are you?’. That’s not because we can’t count, it’s so that we can catch out those fibbers who have difficulty with mathematics. Which is most of them.

How would you describe your ethnic background:-

I know I said they were simple questions. This one isn’t one of ours. Our simple way of describing your appearance that’s been in use for years is far too basic for the Home Office. They’ve come up with a far better way. You get to choose one of seventeen descriptions. Pick whatever you like, you don’t have to be accurate as they’re for government statistics and we have no wish to buck the trend.

Yes, I realise that you may consider yourself to be British but not ‘white’. Like I said, this isn’t one of our questions and you’re only allowed to describe yourself as British if you also describe yourself as ‘white’ because the Home Office says so. Even if your ancestors have been in Britain for multiple generations or you’ve passed the citizenship test.

Cockney and Geordie aren’t on there either.

(…to be continued…)

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