Friday, September 22, 2006

We're The Sweeney Son, And We Ain't 'Ad Our Dinner

Back in the late 60s, one of Tyler's brothers-in-law was the youngest DI in the Sweeney. At that time it was macho, male, and white. And besides screeching round London's street markets in big old Zodies, they routinely did all kinds of frightful things, like going out boozing with bad guys, smacking some of them round the head, and fitting them up for blags they never done.

It was all too much for the fastidious souls down Westminster way, and Ted Heath (yes, him again) put in a new Met Commissioner to "clean things up". Tyler's brother-in-law left shortly afterwards along with many of his colleagues (NB: well before this).

Unacceptable. Yes. Of course. We're so much better off with the modern compassionate inclusive police, ticking all the boxes, meeting government targets for gender, ethnic, and disability balance, and producing the glossy reports to prove it. Plus their new BMW 5 series are so much more refined than those Zodies.

Of course, all that caring activity does take an awful lot of time. And there are bound to be a few sacrifices. We recently blogged the problems of Primrose Hill residents, but how about this:

"When police received a tip-off that armed robbers were about to strike at a jewellers in their area, they immediately swung into action. They left an empty police car in a street adjacent to Henry Johnstone's shop.

Hours later, gunmen in business suits walked straight past the car and stormed in threatening staff with guns. The gang - thought to be responsible for a series of terrifying raids in the area - took watches and jewellery worth more than £500,000 before escaping in a car parked at the back of the shop in Alderley Edge, Cheshire.

David Baines, Cheshire Assistant Chief Constable, said: 'I regret on this occasion it was not enough and an offence did occur causing considerable distress to those involved. 'We are reviewing what we did, if it was appropriate in light of the information, and could we have done more, and to learn from that.'

He said police were hunting four men seen leaving the scene in a silver Subaru Impreza."

Now, what would Tyler's brother-in-law have done? For a start, in those days he'd have used some of the time now required for box ticking, to stake out the jewellers- as they once did with a similar set of armed robbers targeting sub-Post Offices (ending in the unforgettable line "Drop the effin gun S***y, or you're effin dead").

And if they had somehow got away, those bad guys would have been vigorously pursued with all the classic tools of detection- big drinks for the snouts, threats of extreme physical violence, and calling in "favours". Which is why detection rates were twice as high in the 60s than they are today.

When oh when oh when can we have the real police back?

We need those elected sheriffs now. And what's more, I've just realised who would make an excellent choice for the Tyler hood.

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