Thursday, 7 April 2011

Crime and Punishment (conclusion)

The following is merely intended to be a fictitious, humorous story.

Most stories in this blog carry something of a ‘social message’.

No story is intended to be judgemental.

Some readers may find content offensive, but there is little that one wouldn’t find in a post-watershed sitcom.

To continue

The meeting started.

The ‘Chair’ recognised me (isn’t that the daftest thing? These days, you can’t say chairman, you have to say ‘chair’).

“Would you like to open the proceedings?” I was asked.


“Oh, why not?”

“Because I don’t really know why I’m here.”

“You’re here to answer some urgent questions that I and my fellow councillors have regarding the current law enforcement procedures in our town.”

“Okay, ask away.”

The Chair looked at his colleagues and said, “Which councillor would like to commence with the questioning?”

Nobody answered.

I looked around the table. For some reason they appeared hesitant. I honestly had no idea why that should be, because I hadn’t threatened or blackmailed any of them.

I waited.

Still, nobody spoke.

I stood up. “Right, we seem to be done here. I’ll take it that the ‘urgent questions’ are no longer that urgent.”

“Hang on a minute!” cried a lady councillor.

“I’ll hang on a minute,” I agreed.

“We are all of the opinion that you and your Police Community Support Officers (PCSO) are simply thugs.”

“Well,” I replied, “you’re entitled to your opinion. However, I am at a complete loss as to why you should think that.”

Another councillor jumped in, “what do you mean you are ‘at a complete loss’?”

I looked at him. “I mean, I don’t know why anyone should consider the brave men that patrol our streets at night should be thought of as thugs…and that’s your minute up. I’m off.”

“What minute?” asked the Chair.

“The minute for which I agreed to hang on.”

“You’re not taking this seriously!”

“Yes I am!”

“Oh no, your not!” the councillors shouted in unison.

Christ, I thought, these pantomime recruits are actually claiming expenses for this.

“Oh, for God’s sake,” I uttered, “just ask me a bloody question or give me an example of how my heroic men and I have erred in some way. Then, perhaps, I can offer some explanation.”

One of the councillors stood up. "Right, I will!"

He looked at some papers in front of him and then turned to me. “In the last month, there have been over a thousand complaints about the Bogston Constabulary made to the Police Complaints Commission!”

“Is that good or bad?” I asked.

“Good or bad?” he shouted back at me. “That’s more than the rest of the country put together!”

“I would confess that from the outset I, as the current head of the town’s law enforcement, have adopted a policy of zero tolerance. Naturally, this will lead to many complaints being made by civilians who, up ‘til now, have escaped being punished for certain offences by previous law enforcement bodies.”

“There were over two hundred complaints of police brutality in just one night!” he responded.

“I think you’ll find that’s just people feeling miffed about being nicked by my conscientious men for previously ignored misdemeanours.”

“Men? Men? All the complaints that night were made against just one PCSO!”

“Ah,” I said, “I do believe you are referring to an unfortunate recruitment error that was made a few weeks ago. You must be referring to PCSO Maguire’s somewhat over-zealous approach to law enforcement.”

“You’re bloody right I am!”

“Well, I can assure the councillors that PCSO Maguire has been suspended from duties.”

Maguire is one of the few men that can give Barty a run for his money in a fight.

Barty and Maguire once wrecked an entire street during a thirty minute brawl over the ownership of some marbles.

The fight only stopped because Barty had twisted Maguire’s feet round so that they pointed in the wrong direction. Maguire couldn’t get the hang of walking backwards to go forwards and had been forced to concede defeat.

He comes from Ireland and has an intense dislike for anything that isn’t Irish. However, over the years one or two of us have managed to break through to his ‘friendlier’ side.

I’d thought that his ‘abilities’ would come in handy on a Friday night patrol.

I looked at the faces of the councillors and could feel that things weren’t going very well.

“At this stage, though,’ I announced in triumphant fashion, “I would like to point out that, according to the latest statistics available, crime in Bogton has fallen to less than one percent and just last week not a single crime was recorded.”

I glanced around the room at my audience and continued. “This is down to the hard work and dedication of my men who, with minimal resources, have restored law and order to our town.”

“Nonsense!” cried a councillor. “The reason there was no criminal activity in the town last week is because anyone who would even consider committing an offence is currently residing in hospital! We’ve had to hire in two Army field hospitals to cope with the number of patients!”

“I confess that we may have had some luck on that point; there’s always a lot of bugs and germs around at this time of year.”

“They’re not ill! They’re all victims of violent assault!”

“What? Violent assault? Why wasn’t I informed of this?” I demanded to know. “Those responsible for these crimes will be long gone by now!”

I looked at them sternly. “I would remind you all, that you have a common law duty to report crimes.”

“Of, for God’s sake, they’re not ‘long gone’, they’re currently walking about our streets wearing police uniforms!”

“They’re impersonating police officers, as well?” I asked.

Things were looking bad. The end of the Bogton PCSO regime was imminent.

At this point I pushed the ‘send’ button on my mobile phone.

Barty and Bluto, who I’d also recruited to be a PCSO, charged into the room wearing full body armour.

“Sir,” said Bluto, “Intelligence services have reported that there may be an explosive device in this building.”

Barty spoke, “Women and children first!”

(I’d really tried to get Barty to grasp the fact that children do not attend town council meetings, but once he’s got something in his head it’s pretty much lodged there.)

Barty leapt across the floor, grabbed two lady councillors and ran outside with them under his arms.

Bluto started throwing men out the door, shouting, “Keep it orderly! No need to panic!”

The Chair announced: “This meeting is adjourned until…” Bluto picked him up and threw him outside.

I made sure I was the last to leave and stepped from the room.

A petrol bomb crashed through a window and the meeting room was engulfed in flames. Larry the Launcher’s (the town’s cricket team’s fastest bowler) aim was as good as ever.

Meeting over.

As I said at the very beginning,

I like my mobile phone.

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