Brian's Brief Encounters

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

Monday, August 28, 2006

Suite Music

Pretty paint colours are all well and good.

But is it enough for the twenty first century arrestee? I think not.

Some may say that we already pander to their every whim with Ooman Rights, uppers, downers and nicotine gum being as freely dispensed as a clip round the ear was in days gone by. Yet, I can’t help feeling that we’re not doing all that we can for the little treasures. It’s not like they’re actually guilty of anything is it? Only the wisdom of a court of law can decide that.

Meanwhile I think there are three things we could be doing to make their stay with us more comfortable without too much trouble:-

1. Aromatherapy. Admittedly these would have to be particularly strong scents to overcome the lack of foot hygiene common with the average arrestee. A whiff of Frankincense could do wonders for the insecurities and loneliness of the first timer. A puff or two of Jasmine could calm the angry with a strong lemon and peppermint cocktail just prior to interview to aid memories of those who may otherwise have gone “No Comment”.

2. Mood Lighting. Instead of the half-hearted stripes we could change the atmosphere at the touch of a knob. Soothing yellow for the aggressive, dim with twinkly stars for the sleepy and royal blue for those prone to telling tall tales.

3. Music. Nothing does more for the ambience than some slammin’ tunes. There is a small problem to solve with this one though. If you’ve ever been into a custody suite and the radio is on there is a 99% chance that it’ll be tuned into the local easy listening station. It generally keeps the custody sergeant from climbing the walls, but they’re tough and can take multiple hours of Lionel Richie, Foreigner and Chris de Burgh.

Besides, it would be nice to have that personal touch. With Top of the Pops being replaced by some sort of celebrity/island/dancing/cooking docusoap we should act fast and snap up some of the up and coming talent before MTV offer them videojock slots. Imagine the line up we could have:

Mike Read could play Relax for Smudger and Billy who have had to share a cell due to a busy night.

Simon Bates could update his show to include “Our Text”. Where Tracy could tell Dazza in cell four: ‘Fanks 4 protectin me onor lst nt. Wen th pigs dragged u in2 the van ur best m8 degsy took me home an e got me drunk and took me onor 3 times an once mor dis morning. It don’t mean nuffin I woz upset. Im only telling u coz e sez e as crabs an I don’t wan u finking Im a slag or sumfing. Mum sez I don’t av 2 go 2 skool 2day so Il c u at court. I ope u don’t get sent down coz the baby wil need is dad.’

Steve Wright could see if he can impersonate Mr Angry in cell twelve.

Kid Jensen could make sure Disqual Dave in cell seven was kept up to speed with the traffic situation for when he gets bail.

Obviously there would be occasions when we would override these semi-pros. Like when solicitors go in for a chat with their clients. We wouldn’t want them upset by an inadvertent burst of Lady in Red would we? We’d have to have a special setting for them that automatically played some soothing gangsta rap.

With the mood lighting turned to blood red/strobe effect and the aromatherapy system pumping out vodka red bull they could have a whale of a time. It should stop the two hour long consultations for a No Comment interview strategy. Think of the Legal Aid money we would save.

I’ll let all of you non-subscribers know if The Sharp End editors decide to put my ideas into a future edition.

I can’t see how they can refuse.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Don't Mock The Inflicted

It’s not big and it’s not clever.

You know who you are.

I cannot believe the waves of negativity I feel in the canteen every month when the new edition of the award winning magazine The Sharp End hits the specially constructed and taxpayer funded holders. There are more scoffs and howls of derision than you get at an average Prime Minister’s question time. One day I fear someone is going to choke on their 999 breakfast.

Thankfully the Home Office appear to have thought of this potential problem. It’s the only reason I can think of for their insightful disclaimer in the small print:-

‘…the Home Office accept no responsibility for damage or illness that results from advice given in this magazine’

Even the Met Federation don’t seem to be that enamoured with being sent enough copies to pass around to their entire extended families. I think that they should have led by example and used the handy text number to subscribe. Then, like me, they would be the first to read it every month. I believe it definitely gives me the jump on the average villain as my regulars have recently been commenting on.

Only the other day I was discussing the merits of colour psychology (issue 16 if you missed it) with a tipsy domestic assault suspect when I was part of a team carrying out a cell re-location on him. He was (almost) speechless when I told him that he would have been in a much better mood if we had been lucky enough to have been pinning him down in a state of the art cell somewhere in Gwent. In fact he stopped trying to kick my teeth down my throat long enough to enquire:

“Are you a ******* sheep ******* then you ****?”

Knowing that our cells aren’t equipped with bright yellow door frames I continued my end of the conversation from the safety of the other side of the heavy steel door. As I pointed out to him, yellow is a calming colour and he would have been feeling less fraught if the door frame had been painted thus. I could hear him clearing his throat, but before he could butt in I thought I’d let him know about the benefits of having a broad blue border painted around the walls of the cell.

I have to say that I was hoping for some constructive input from him as I had doubts about this one. I can understand that the line could help the visually impaired define the boundaries of the cell. I mean every visually impaired person has this scheme in their own homes don’t they? It was the more the belief of psychologists that certain shades of blue encourage truthfulness that I wanted his views on. You see, the police have traditionally worn blue for many years and I can’t say that it has had the desired effect on most of the people I speak to. Maybe we should try a lighter shade?

Unfortunately the conversation ended there as I had to close the wicket to avoid the mouthful of saliva and mucus aimed at me. His muffled reply, although following the blue theme, didn’t sound like a suggestion I could put forward to the Uniform Department.

I went off, armed with my scientific proof, to see if I could convince the Custody Sergeant to spring for some yellow paint.

Sadly though, he was a scoffer.

(…to be continued…)

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Dear Diary (2)

Nodded off yet?


I’ll continue then:

After the initial excitement of using my investigative powers to add to the statistics had worn off, we settled down into an unfamiliar routine. In normal circumstances we’d be going from one call to the next making copious notes and avoiding contact with bodily fluids.

Instead we got to trawl around looking for naughty people doing naughty things. Invariably this means we have to make use of some of our special powers. Sadly these don’t include leaping from tall buildings (banned under HASAW), x-ray vision (banned under RIPA) nor running at the speed of sound (banned under the Too Many Pies Act).

That just leaves section 1 of PACE, section 163 of the RTA and section 23 of MOD. For those of you not past the preface of ‘Law for Dummies’; these are the most common powers we use to stop cars and to stop and search suspected naughty people. Our use of them is not an exact science and unlike integrative biology the decision to stop someone isn’t easy to explain.

Stop them we did though. It is amazing how many people you can find “just waiting for a friend” in the early hours of the morning. Stops are like buying a house, you know if they’re ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ in the first eleven seconds. Although several will be having a day out at court in the next six months we didn’t arrest anyone.

The best answer of the night came from an unemployed eighteen year old driving his nearly new German car. All forty grand’s worth.

“I got traders insurance innit”

Yeah right, just like the only person he could name with a non-‘international’ driving licence was someone related to his second cousin’s girlfriend.

Before retiring to the station to write down everything we had done in triplicate, there was a final call. We refer to it as a “suspects on” and it is one of the few remaining good calls. By this time of night those units not tied up with a drink drive or domestic prisoner will all go. So that was two cars then.

Local knowledge of the area was enough to know that we’d need some specialist help and the furry exocet was requested. Fortunately one was close by and arrived shortly after us. Now, without revealing any trade secrets; I can only say that the Mark I can do in a few seconds what could have taken us twenty or so minutes to do. The handler then makes their buddy do it all over again in a more thorough manner just to make it look good. Then they say “They went that way”, coupled with vague pointing.

However, this particular Mark I had obviously had a big dinner. After his first scoot around he settled down out of sight of his handler to lighten the load. When he didn’t respond to commands I informed the handler, from my vantage point, that his partner was temporarily indisposed.

I’m no Gillian McKeith, but I don’t think that he was getting enough fibre in his diet as the movement went on for what seemed like an eternity. I started wondering what overtime code I could use for this situation.

“Has he finished yet?” came the cry, followed by some very juvenile giggling from the darkness.

“Nope, has anyone got a newspaper for him?” The only one not laughing by now was the handler who made use of a very rude phrase.

That seemed to do the trick and the Mark I was off with a new found spring in his step. After a meticulous search to the accompaniment of a barrage of toilet humour the, now hangdog, handler said “They went that way”. I had a feeling someone wouldn’t be throwing any rubber balls for a while.

So, Insomniac of Tonbridge Wells, there you go. Some real police work to get you off on. I trust it worked and I can get back to normal?

After all, it’s not all thrills and spills.

Defecating dogs aside that is.

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