Thursday, November 27, 2008

Good Cops

I have always regarded the British police with disdain, both here and in conversation. Almost every contact I have ever had with them provided clear evidence of a decayed and demoralised institution. All that has changed. My wife had her bag stolen yesterday in All Bar One in Notting Hill Gate. About five hours later I was out at dinner when a policeman called to say they had caught the thieves. They then went to enormous trouble to contact my wife at another restaurant, her mobile had been in the bag. There has been a rash of such thefts - apparently in the same place - and the police had been watching the gang of three responsible. I think my wife's case sealed their fate as they followed them until the tried it again (this seems to have been a very dumb gang). The police involved were intelligent and sensitive and, above all, they caught the bastards. From now on, in my book, the cops are okay. Mind how you go.


  1. Uplifting tale from W11 and, sharing your lifelong distain of the filth (recently endorsed yet again), the service you and your wife enjoyed is almost unbelievable; was it a pearl in the cow-pat or is there a sea change afoot?
    Although it is great that they caught the 'bastards', it doesn't strike me as the most interesting point. The fact that they did the small things well, as the Koban coppers are charged to do, telephoning not just you but your wife is, for me, head-shakingly unusual.
    No loose talk about swallows and summer, as I know to my cost that a W postcode rarely translates well in SE - but I will be minding as I go.

  2. but did they get Mr. Big?! - that's what I'd want to know.

  3. I note with interest that the naming of restaurants in the big city hasn't improved over the years.
    Plod, civilized, efficient, hmmm.
    It's a miracle that they didn't arrest your wife.

    Wot I want to know is, does Omar get his in the end?
    Don't you dare, it would be like the death of Bambi's mother.

  4. The traditional British distrust of the police is in some ways a healthy thing...but largely unfair on the coppers themselves.

    Also, nearly everyone slates the pigs until they need them.

    (And blimey, Malty, you must be remote. We even have an All Bar One or two in Bristol. It's a national chain, you know - like Woolworths)

  5. Unlike the NHS, that doesn't deserve half the opprobrium heaped upon it, the filth seem pathologically unwilling to serve us adequately, particularly when we need them Brit.
    A few weeks ago my car was rammed outside my house, parked at the kerb. Normally in SE this would happen in the middle of the night (and I would simply turn over), or when I was tramping the streets of our pulsating metropolis, trying to earn a living.
    But this happened before my eyes (and those of 'er indoors) at 10.00am when I was gazing at the car, daydreaming about whether to tidy my sock drawer again.
    The 'lads' are Asian, and I can see their house from my front window. The red escort estate reversed up our road at about 30mph, engaged a road hump, at which point the driver lost control, ramming my car.
    Out jumped two 'lads' and ran down to their house laughing. The third sheepishly drove the car back down the road and parked.
    I 'phoned plod, and after about an hour managed to speak to a voice that was attached to a pair of lungs. The panda arrived with lights and siren (why?) about an hour later.
    The interest level was low. Notes were taken. I had all they needed, or so I thought. I saw the lead-up to the 'incident', also my wife. I saw the impact. I saw the 'escape'. I saw the 'lads' and yes, they live over there. And here is the reg of the car which, I notice officer, they have driven away in.
    They just had one (asinine) question 'did I get a photograph of the impact?'. Er, no officer, it was all over in 10 seconds, and I was daydreaming. Sharp intake of breath, followed by exhale, rubbing of chin, flipping of notebook, and all the other tics from George Dixon onward.
    To cut to the chase - lots of time past, the Escort returned 'cleaned up', but because they did not have enough evidence, nor an independent witness, they could not bring a case forward.
    The damage to my car cost 1500 of my pounds to sort.

  6. The Woolies comparison became unfortunate yesterday ...

  7. Despite looking like a Hizbollah suicide bomber, i generally get on with cops. i think they sense my vaguely fascistic sympathies for brutality, uniforms, and gay 70s moustaches. i expect nothing at all from them but they are often very helpful and go out of their way to avoid arresting me for, e.g. carrying an expandable baton, inflicting beatings on ne'er-do-wells, or looking like my name is Omar and my bag is full of plastique.

  8. Who is the one who is barred from All Bar One?

  9. I was taught to drive by a family friend,a police patrol car driver (1950s) in my mums morris minor, the tuition consisted of a quick blast down the A1 to the Cock of the North, two or three pints of Newcastle Exhibition then a quick blast home. The examiner new who had taught me and...guess.
    Unlike everyone else then, I didn't think all coppers were bastards.

  10. is it possible that, like all groups, police can't be treated or categorised as a single entity, but in fact are individuals among whom there exists huge differences in attitude and values?

  11. Back in those days Malty, fellow Cancerian and Ogdon fan, the coppers were the size they should have stayed (6 foot +), not the midgets we now see, and I remember they commanded respect more by their attitude and bearing, and their willingness to listen, not preach. I didn't feel they were bastards either. In the 50 years that have passed since those times, how the collective face of copperdom has changed. Perhaps, as Michael suggests below you, it is not possible to populate such a massive organisation as the police with anything other than a collection of disparate individuals?