Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Bankers in Disguise

I see that all the city slickers in London today have been allowed to come to work dressed down and nondescript, scruffed up in off-duty gear or whatever floats their boat, so as not to be singled out by nasty anarchist types who might want to bash them up for being personally responsible for causing the credit crisis, ripping off depositors, leaving genuine borrowers struggling to borrow and throwing countless businesses and their employees onto the dole. I can understand their caution. For those who will be turning up for work in anything but nonedescript clothing and by that I mean the thousands of police, drawn from not only the capital's rest day reserves but from forces all over the country, I'd like to say a heartfelt, `have a nice day` and to ask a favour: Mrs Hogday's boss and her friend are in town to see the stage production of "Priscilla, Queen of the Desert", having had to come down to the smoke a second time because `Priscilla` broke down the other week causing the show to close after only 10 minutes. I wanted to ask if the police could keep an eye out for them. They will be dressed `in character` complete with red high heels, big hair, big lashes, big lips, lots of feathers and some very naughty ping-pong balls. Being as the regular city types have dressed down today, they may be difficult to spot amongst the scardycat bankers, so do try. My local police force, numbering a bare 1580 officers (it still only adds up to 1580, even if they are clothed) have sent a contingent of public order level 2 officers to London. Now this might be a shock for some of them. I once took out a newly transferred sergeant from the really rural shires up town on foot patrol and he kept on bumping into lamp posts and pedestrians from constantly gawping up at the high buildings (plus I don't think they had pedestrians or lamp posts where he'd come from). But they're good guys and gals these county coppers - I know, I joined them after I was forced out of London in order to try and buy my own home. Whenever the county forces used to get involved with us up in the Metroplitan, we would refer to them affectionately as " The Swedey", often accompanied by, `ooh- arrh` and other accents that would have done "The Archers" proud. They, in turn, would accuse us of all being on the take. To the day I retired from my county force, I was still referred to as `the bloke who transferred from The Met`, yet I spent the majority of my service in `the County`. I would often be jokingly singled out as a suspect if anything went missing from the station or if a prisoner arrived in the cells with a black eye. Unlike the prisoner, I always took the joke on the chin, whilst pointing out that a good Met copper never leaves marks or scars, only psychological ones, as a jolly retort to this canteen banter - oh how we laughed...no, really, we did laugh, genuinely laugh, because it didn't mean anything to me and was just part of the vagaries of police humour - I think someone banned it eventually, humour, that is. So, I prepare to do my civic duty in a very different manner to that of my former colleagues. I'll be off to work on my motorbike very soon, across the Moors and into Poshnortherntown where there will doubtless be even fewer police on duty than usual. I'll keep a sharp lookout for lawbreakers and anarchists but will be mindful of the fact that the response time for this and any other crimes reported in my lovely county will be further increased in the cause of someone else's freedom to protest and of the violent and dangerous among them, running amuck causing damage, injury and disruption to property, life and limb in our capital city. Well at least I'm going down at the weekend, so maybe I'll just see some of them being released on bail by then. So stay safe my local cops now in London. Come home soon because we need you up here - plus there's already a huge backlog of pointless forms for you to start filling in upon your safe return.

19 comments:

Vetnurse said...

If the bankers look like nastys can we hope that they get into trouble of some sort :-)

Tsk Hogday how dare you speak about humour this is not permitted it is demoralising to those who have serious lives.
You know politicians, h & s those who are in any form of power because it was felt best to move them out from under the feet of those who know what they were doing and let them get at the heads of said people instead.

Blue Eyes said...

Posh Northern Towns don't need many coppers as the only residents are nice blue rinse ladies who spend their whole time taking tea. In fact I'm surprised there is such a thing as Level 2 in the counties...

Hogday said...

You clearly know Poshnortherntowns! For a touch of reality, there's always Wakefield, although the New York bar is no more, so the place takes a little longer to warm up into the warzone it becomes after 11pm. But it still goes titsup round here when the bluerinsers retire to bed and a camomile tea ;) It's amazing what crawls from the woodwork after 9pm - and we've even had a murder!!

Blue Eyes said...

The only posh northern towns I know are Fallowfield and Rusholme but I suspect they are trans-pennine from the ones you refer to...

I can well imagine what Wakefield must be like on a Friday and Saturday night: I was once the victim of an attempted sexual assault by a larger than life denizen of that cultural hotspot. Luckily I had the advantage of mobility and prescience.

Hogday said...

Yup, that was the old New York bar. Assaults all round - men, women, on each other and all passing trade, every conceivable form of human life passed through there every half hour or so....

Blue Eyes said...

By the way do people really say things like "yarp" and "eee byyy gummm" outside the metropolis?

Noddy said...

North?

BTW - Keep safe all the boys and girls in the smoke this week.

powdergirl said...

As with many things, there's something here I don't understand.
I was reading another UK policeman's blog, and from it I understood that your riot police are, other than with training and protective equipment, basically unarmed.
Why is that?

My best wishs for the good-guys, may they win every battle.

Hogday said...

PG; The British have a long history of rioting, believe it or not, and one of the reasons for the formation of a police force in 1829 was because the Government of the era didn't want to keep deploying the military to keep order when the great unwashed got rowdy on account of people getting, er, killed - apart from anything else the only words of command for the miltary on crowd control tended to be load, aim, fire or draw swords!

As for the `riot police` they are ordinary `bobbies` (we have no `Second Force`) who have advanced public order training and are only armed with standard kit, flame retardent coveralls and some additional protective gear and occasionally a longer baton. Any use of baton rounds has to be authorised by the chief officer and is usually deployed by the firearms support teams. The first chief to authorise the use of baton rounds has yet to emerge from behind the desk, but when he/she does, they will be on the lecture circuit for a year - In Northern Ireland, of course, they are well used to this next level and as a result, statistically far fewer of their officers get injured in riots than their mainland UK brothers and sisters in blue. I think a good analogy would be to say that the powers that be seem to want our police to win, by appearing to lose.

Evil Twin's Wife said...

I always learn something new over here! :-)

powdergirl said...

I think your powers that be live in a dream world. What is it that police can possibly win, while appearing to lose?
Respect?
Order?
Peace?
None of that seems possible with out a clear-cut, hands-down, visible win for the LAW.
Of course people have that the right to protest, thats as it should be, but when they resort to savage behavior "load, aim and fire" sounds reasonable to me.
When the police appear to lose, so does the law-abiding public.
IMHO

Daisy said...

I always learn something new over here! :-)

Ditto, ETW! That's why it's one of my favorite blogs! :)

Blue Eyes said...

Powdergirl: I disagree. The rioters yesterday have ended up looking bad and the police seem to have come off rather well. The policing was proportionate to the aggression of the crowd at the Bank of England, and just around the corner where the protest was peaceful nothing much happened. If the police had started charging or firing CS gas into the crowd they would have looked oppressive and not achieved very much.

Hogday said...

PG, What I wanted to convey (and what Blue Eyes has done) was that if the police always had an unequivocal outright crushing victory everytime some group or other chose to demonstrate, it would make our `free society` be considerably less so, for all to see.

Where I have felt we have, on occasions, lost out badly were those times when the `protesting` went way beyond lawful and into causing serious harm to people, property and respect for the law. I have, on a number of such occasions, been ready to act, with a team of superb officers champing at the bit to deal, only to be overruled by a distant commander who would not allow me to make what I considered to be a necessary tactical decision.

An example of where I felt we lost badly in both practical and esoterical terms was at Broadwater Farm, where a brave officer was overrun by a mob, beaten to death and practically de-capitated in the process and where the police lines came under gunfire amongst all the other horrendous missiles, for a sustained period. If ever the deployment of Baton guns was needed, that was it. It was all very well for the commanders afterwards to say, `well if it was me in charge....` or `next time baton guns will be deployed...` the fact was they weren't, an officer was murdered and society lost out big time. I was, frankly, disgusted. On a similar riot in Northern Ireland, the RUC/PSNI would have played very different tactics to achieve the same overall strategy, resulting in minimal numbers injured - baton guns maintaining a safety zone at the worst places of rioting. I think this needs a separate blog post!

powdergirl said...

Blue Eyes,
I think I was too brief when I stated that I believe in the publics right to protests. There are a hell of a lot of valid reasons to go out, peacefully, into the street and let your government know that you're in disagreement with their actions. God knows there's call for that!
In saying "load, aim, fire" seemed reasonable to me, I was more referring to events such as HD describes in his comment. Where an officer is murdered by an angry mob who are better armed than the force at hand. And where orders to employ necessary force come too late or not at all, and where the actual front-line responders are given little or no discretion in deciding when more stringent force is needed.
Situations like that do result in a massive loss of freedom in that the people who turned up at that protest with valid issues can't possibly have been heard, as their real issues were eclipsed by the savagery of a small percentage of their numbers. Also in that people can't go about their day to day business for fear of being injured, or worse, simply by being in the wrong place at the wrong time, their rights are trampled into the ground as fear dictates that they plan their days activities around that which may well take place on the streets where they should be free to walk unmolested.
I do see the results, so far, of your most recent and on-going public protest activity as a clear win by the police, and thus the law-abiding public.

Gawwd, I'm reading back over this post, and I'm still not sure I've expressed my opinion very clearly. I hope so. And if we're still in disagreement, well then I guess thats our right, straight up until someone gets hurt. ; )

Either way, thanks to both of you for the interesting and informative responses.

I'll watch the coverage today, and hope all continues to go well, both for the police and the public.

Blue Eyes said...

PG thanks for expanding. You are right and when you think about it, it is an impossible situation really. As a society we have to decide where the line is - do we prevent the protesters' freedom to "escape" in order to prevent the whole thing turning into a stampede, for example? Do we CS gas the whole crowd just because some people came with sticks?

I have to say that I think the Met did a bloody brilliant job on Wednesday. Compare and contrast with the French riot cops in Strasbourg who just piled in because they think it is their job to tell the citizens that it is not OK to turn up in numbers.

All in all I prefer the British way and I think the officers involved should award themselves a gold star - especially those on the front line who took the beating and didn't react.

Blue Eyes said...

Ps Mr H I hope you don't mind me filling your pages with guff.

Area Trace No Search said...

If you need a bit of back up when back in the smoke, just ask.

I'll be happy to help.

Area

Hogday said...

BE: No probs. Guff away!
Area: Walked the length of Kings Road yesterday and then paddled in the Victoria and Albert Museum, followed by a fab meal in The Star of India, Old Brompton Road - what a great capital we have - in places ;)