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Ello, Ello, Ello

November 18, 2009

The beleaguered British Police force, sorry, service, are having a few more edges filed off their institution. I remember there was a minimum height when joining the police. I’m sure it was 6 feet, or at least 5’ 10, but I‘ve noticed our policemen are shrinking. They’re probably on first name terms with their pies and chips now, as they’re also getting fatter. Someone higher up in the chain has also noticed this and now a third of the Metropolitan Police’s 55,000 strong workforce will be given an opportunity to go on a 12 month fitness and weight loss programme. The canteen will also change to accommodate healthier options. If it means less sickness and greater efficiency I’m all for it, as long as they can still have the occasional doughnut if they fancy it. As some unknown wag once said, “Eating more healthily and exercising doesn’t make you live longer – it just feels like it.”

Weeble toy policeman

The other initiative is for 200 officers in Manchester to undergo ‘anti rudeness’ training. This also applies to student officers and newly promoted sergeants and inspectors. The aim is to stop the sarcastic comments, swearing and the overbearing attitudes when talking to the public. Personally I think they’re missing a trick here. We often show the usual tourist attraction suspects of the British Isles, but police sarcasm is one of the many underground delights, bringing richness to the British experience. Bosses believe manners are improving. Between April and June, complaints about officers fell by 29 per cent, compared with the same period the previous year. Not everyone is happy about this. One Manchester beat officer said this:

“We’re being told that we have to be courteous to some scumbag who we’ve nicked a hundred times and that we have stand a certain way when we turn up at their door and not swear at them.”

Another unnamed officer said,

“I can see how call centre staff should be polite but, when it comes down to it, we’ve got a job to do. We’re not Mary Poppins, for God’s sake.”

How they must wish they could be Gene Hunt again.

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