Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO). Bizarre though this may seem, it immediately put me in mind of the traveller git and his ilk who, several times a year, parks his tranny van and deluxe caravan on a pristine roadside verge a couple of miles up the road from here, for about 10 days at a time.
The white Ford Transit van disappears before dawn and doesn't reappear until after dark. Sometimes its gone for a couple of days. A female-type thing remains on site, in the caravan, dining outside on a picnic table if weather permits. They seem to live quite well as it is a very nice caravan and the tranny van seems brand new. I presume the bloke nips back from time to time to feed her. As the days drift by, several piles of shite appear adjacent to his `campsite` that include broken up lumps of concrete, smaller pieces of rubble, piles of topsoil, old washing machines and other domestic human detritus. Then these people suddenly vanish, leaving the verge looking like a scene of post apocalyptic earth, the sort of scene you'd see in films like `Terminator`. Then, after a few days, the Borough Council come along and remove it, making a very good effort at returning the verge to its natural, green and pleasant state.
For anyone unfamiliar with this sort of entrepreneurial activity I'll explain. The git in the van has been knocking on doors in the area offering all sorts of `services` that would have included removing unwanted rubbish and laying a new, hastily mixed and seriously sub-standard tarmac driveway. The victims are usually, but not always, the elderly or vulnerable. For those who have been taken in by his blarney, there would have been a fee for this service that is always way in excess of the shabby job done. He doesn't take the rubble and crap he's dug out to the local amenity dump like a registered trader would, because he'd be charged for the use thereof, so he dumps it on the side of the road to let the council foot the bill. Its brilliantly simple. He effectively gets paid twice for doing a crap job, has no responsibility to the locality or the poor customer he has duped and, when he moves on, the locals pick up the bill for cleaning up the crap he has left in his wake and the poor punter who paid for the `service` in the first place is well and truly shafted.
During my latter years in the police, I would occasionally ponder on my mortality. It happens as one gets older and nothing tends to focus one's mind more sharply that when one attends the funeral service of a colleague. As in every such event, the younger the late departed was, the harder the slap in the face it gives you. It came to a point where I just didn't want to go to any more, but I did, taking the view that funerals are really for the living and I wanted to be there to show the loved ones of the person I served with that I respected them. Strange as this might seem, but I once said to Mrs Hogday that in the event of my death, in service, it was my strong desire to have no one from the ACPO (SMT) group of my force present - and I meant absolutely none. My reasons were simple; they meant nothing to me, they did nothing for me and the only time I really could have done with their support, it wasn't there - in bucketloads.
So there you have it. I still find it a little odd that Analyst's article on ACPO should flash up the image of the traveller up the road and my thoughts on my own service funeral, but it did.