Monday, 11 July 2011

Hi Hooooooo, Hi Hooooooo...

Now, stop me if I lose you on this, but as peaceful chants go, shouting “Allah is a paedo” through a loudhailer with the same charming phrase taken up by around 100 of your mates… well, it’s not one which would readily come to mind.

But that’s just me, eh? A soft liberal communist wet who’s blinded by Islamic brainwashing techniques, clearly.

“I’m England Til I Die” is confusing. English, well yes, unless you emigrate and take up another nationality. But “England”? I don’t think that works as patriotic chants go. It doesn’t really translate that well. I mean, could you imagine someone shouting “I’m United Arab Emirates Til I Die” or “I’m Democratic Republic of Congo Til I Die”?

As for “Who the F*** Is Allah?” I would hazard a guess the question in rhetorical. Otherwise such an inquiry while on a march to highlight your concerns of Islamic extremists would suggest you should first read a book. Possibly all the way through and ideally one without pictures.
My personal feeling is the quality of the chants and banners belonging to the EDL were rather tepid to be honest.

Whereas the three delightful young girls who repeatedly and loudly shouted “Love Peace and Cupcakes” which was echoed on the colourful and arty banner hung out their first floor window in Southside Street? That was bloody marvelous and easily the best, most decent, thoughtful and educational retort of the day. Certainly better than any counter-rally, to be honest.

I later found that the brave youngsters had also used orange chalk to write “All You Need Is Love” on the kerbstones outside their home, which was tramped on by the EDL came to town.

Oh all right, I say came to town, only because saying “arrived in town, drank all morning at a pub and walked around some of the best parts of the city dragging their knuckles along the ground behind them while they shouted, swore and grunted” could be constituted as unfair and unwittingly hurt their feelings.

I must say I did feel a little inadequate about my own Englishness when I returned to the office on Saturday, but I think that was the EDL’s main aim.

While I listened intently to a Scouser bellow -nay screech - into a loudhailer that “We’re not fascists. We’re English and we’re proud to be English” I did find myself thinking “Well, I’m English, and I’m proud to be English and I’ve travelled a lot of the world meeting other nationalities in their countries, and I’ve tried to behave in a manner which would leave them to think ‘oooh, those English people are polite and helpful aren’t they, they’re a credit to their parents and their country’ but clearly I’m not proud of my Englishness enough because I haven’t got any tattoos of bulldogs, Union Jacks, Thai and Maori symbols or my ex-girlfriend’s name on my body, don’t want to march through the Barbican eliciting tuts and looks of worry from tourists and locals and have never suggested that the “UAF [Unite Against Fascism] can f***in’ ‘ave it” while waving a flag of St George with the words “EDL Geert Wilders” on it.

But that’s just me, eh? A soft liberal communist wet who’s blinded by Islamic brainwashing techniques, clearly.

As the EDL marchers headed off back to the pub, they were tunefully sent on their way by singers banging out a Christian hip-hop-pop tune as part of the multicultural diversty celebrations organized by the All Nation Ministries which was being held on the Hoe.

The pumping beats could be heard all the way down Exeter Street, over the sounds of clip-clopping police horses, more chants and the words of a kindly elderly lady I met along the way.

“It’s despicable,” she said of the marchers and their hollering. “It doesn’t look good for Plymouth and I bet half of them aren’t even from here. And all those officers having to escort them, it’s such a waste isn’t it? But I suppose if anything went wrong they’d not hear the end of it. I can’t imagine they [the officers]want to be doing this either.”

From the looks on a lot of the 400 plods faces, I can’t imagine they’d disagree.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Saturday, June 11, 2011
And I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For...

Yeah Gods, but the changes at Devon and Cornwall Police are getting on my wick!
As many of the plods have (mis)quoted back to me, the bods at Middlemoor in Exeter were very much hoping the public didn't notice the changes from B'day (Blueprint Day - not exactly Judgment Day a la Arnie Terminator, but not far off for some boys and girls in blue). And to be honest, you haven't.


I mean, you may never really notice, unless you have regular dealings with plod.

For instance, there is no traffic unit anymore. That's not to say there isn't anyone policing the avenues and alleyways, or highways and byways. It's just that traffic is effectively made up of response and patrol units, and the armed response units and a couple of other units who, while dealing with the day to day 999 incidents, are also doing the work which was once the sole preserve of traffic units.

So, let's just say that if the list of critical incidents, mispers, violent domestics, allegations of rape, assaults and the like all got a bit busy for a day, then perhaps it'd be a bit of a stretch to also patrol the A38 for those naughty drivers who like to do a bit over the limit, or do it drunk, or just drive like Stevie Wonder.

Needless to say, there are ugly rumours around of Devon and Cornwall's thin blue line appearing as underweight as a Size Zero supermodel.

The only way to see if there's any noticable difference is by comparing this month's figures for crimes, detections, fixed penalty notices, etc, with this month last year. I'll let you know.

For my part, it's a pain in the chocolate starfish as there are no geographical CID offices anymore. In the past, if I heard of a mugging in Devonport, I'd call Devonport & West CID. If there was a indecent exposure in the city centre I'd call South and Central CID. If there was a donkey sexually abused in Plympton I'd call North and East CID (but only after calling my mates back in Essex and saying "I told you it was true about the donkey-touchers down here!")
But now there's just two CID offices. One at Charles Cross, one at Crownhill. They house the teams who are set in five sections. Each section - A to E - have five sub-sections. They deal with offences covering Plymouth, Saltash, Ivybridge, Tavistock, bits of South Hams, bits of South East Cornwall and everything in between.

So, who I phone to ask for more information is a bit of a lottery. It took me an hour last week to find an officer dealing with the vandalism of a Plympton school which saw thugs kill two chickens - rumoured to be called Tikka and Masala. An hour of call after call, just to find out more information and do an appeal.

But that's not the best bit. Well, there isn't a best bit to be honest, but this I really loved because for me it encapsulates the wonders of how big organisations often forget how the little things matter.

Plod loves its acronyms. I mean it really loves them. You could go half an hour talking to some officers and not hear a whole word with four syllables.

MCIT, SOCIT, ARV, BCU, Pc, SOLO, FLO... gorgeous, aren't they?

The most well-known has got to be CID, which is, as everyone who watches TV copshows well knows, is the Crime Investigation Department.

Which, in their undoubted wisdom, the bods at Middlemoor have renamed... wait for it... LITs.

Local Investigation Teams.

Only - as one female detective pointed out to me - in Plymouth, we have two LITs... one in Crownhill and one in Charles Cross.

Crownhill Local Investigation Team.

Charles Cross Local Investigation Team.



No, seriously, I'm not kidding.

Honestly, would I lie to you?

*cough, cough*

And yes, I have asked the question.

Apparently a few of the male detectives haven't turned up for work yet because they can't find their new offices.

Thank you, thank you, you've been a lovely audience, I'm here all week, try the crab buffet.