Insp Hogday: "Force Control Room, can I help you"?
News Agency Man: "Hi Hog, its Dave from Leer and Smear News Agency. A little bird tells me of a sudden death in Sticksville. A detached house in Ruby Road, couple of middle aged male occupants. I believe one of them was found dead in....what shall I say... unusual circumstances. Anything you can throw me on this one"?
HD: "Hello Dave, who have you been talking to this time"? (hears chuckle, followed by smokers cough).
NAM: "Well, you know, we have our sources. So what's the deal on this one"?
HD: "There's no deal Dave, you know very well that sudden deaths are investigations on behalf of HM Coroner. As well as serving that most ancient of Royal Appointments we are also mindful of the sensitivities of the bereaved so I won't be divulging anything to you on this matter. Anything else I can help you with today"?
NAM: "Well can I put it this way, we've been told that the circumstances are quite unusual, so a little steer would be really useful".
HD: "Listen very carefully, for I shall say this only once. If you are thinking `bizarre homosexual or erotic intrigue`, forget it. Now, can you tell me why you are thinking its unusual, or perhaps you can tell me what happened in the Gulf War overnight"?
NAM: "Can't you give me something Off the record"?
HD: "Ok Dave, off the record, this telephone line is recorded for our mutual assistance and protection. On the record I'm never off the record, now piss off, please". (More laughter and coughing).
End of call.
I refer to the final, short, paragraph of my previous post.
Addendum: Having just listened to some of the Gov't committee proceedings, it occurred to me that not only would I still not use that paper for the purpose I said, but neither would I want to employ anyone associated with it, but then I was never in the business of recruiting people into a police media relations department and neither, would it seem, was the former commissioner or assistant commissioner. For the bulk of my service there were no ex journalists working within the job, in fact we never had a media relations department at all in my county force until the 80's. Such naïveté . (I wonder how much these media departments cost and could the police manage without them?)
(and in case you were wondering, the poor deceased died with his head down the lav'. The news leak could have only come from the police or the ambulance service or the undertaker or a relative of any of the aforementioned who may have been told. I'm sure the news agency wasn't hacking into the police radio net, I mean, even when they got to incidents before we did, I'm sure it was just down to a journo's instinct)