Undesirable associations

"Wuuurgh!  Coodern mayk idd app!" Littlejohn shouts, grinning, rocking back and forward in his seat and punching the air.  He's got another column to write but he's desperate to make today's trip to iHOP - until now he hadn't been able to think of anything to write.

Just as he thought it was time to raid the archive again he's come across news of a specialist police association getting a big grant from government for obvious supernatural cobblers.  The perfect thing to go with the others - and this time he's got actual evidence of taxpayer's money actually being spent rather than a vague worry that it might at some point in the future.  "Don't panic!"

He leans forward, squinting and cracking his knuckles.  He's just got to retell the story, bung in a couple of Dad's Army references and he's done.  "Don't tell him your name, Pike!" 

Ha haah - Rooty Tooty Fresh 'N Fruity here we come!  Just ten short minutes and...

Disaster strikes!  Goddammit!  Now he'll have to do a hee-lair-ree-uss skit of Gordon Brown on the phone.  Again.  It'll be at least half an hour before he tastes the sweet, sweet syrup, fluffy whipped cream and delicious golden pancake that makes his day.  He can't even be arsed with the sitcom references now.  Life is a bastard.

Here's why, and a bit of background.

In the last year, a couple of police associations have made Smellyface's column - and wider news - by simply existing and doing what they should for members.  First, the Pagan Police Association managed to get their members to be allowed to take Pagan holidays off.

This caused a little bit of a storm in the papers, but my favourite coverage was in the Express, which opened:
POLICE who worship heathen gods will get eight days off a year to celebrate pagan festivals.
Heh.  Heathen gods.
The police force should welcome people of every gender, sexuality, creed and race.

However, they should be united in the fight against crime, not divided into competing politically correct campaign groups.
Said the Taxpayer's Alliance, obviously unhappy about taxpayer's money being spent on something.  Um, if it was.  Which isn't clear.

Next, it was the turn of the newly formed National Trans Police Association.  The Mail, away from Smellyface's column, didn't like it.

Last month, the Association hit the headlines again, with 'SEX SWAP POLICE WANT YOU TO FUND THEIR GROUP' in the Express, which opened:
CROSS-dessing and sex-change police officers are seeking taxpayers cash to fund their own group within the force.
Imagine a TV newsreader screaming the first word of every report like that.  Go on, it's funny.  Anyway, taxpayers' cash?  Why, the Taxpayer's Alliance must've been pretty angry.  They were, of course, saying:
The police force should welcome people of every gender, sexuality, creed and race.

However, they should be united in the fight against crime, not divided into ­competing politically correct campaign groups.
Hang on - that would appear to be the same identical quote.  Even if this is lazy quote cutting and pasting vby the Express, the TPA love it and obviously stand by the quote since they trumpet both articles on their own website.

So, Police Associations.  Ripe for outrage from tabloids and the Taxpayer's Alliance.  They're devisive and a waste of money.


The day after the Express 'Sex swap police' story, news broke that the Christian Police Association had been awarded a £10,000 grant to fight crime by encouraging Christians to work with police and, er, pray.  The Telegraph reported:
The cash helped the group launch the CoAct project - which encourages Christians and police to help fight crime together and even provides a set of guidelines advising people what to pray for.
There's a list (pdf).  'Reduction of crime and the fear of crime' is only one of the things on it.  Quite why 'Stop crime altogether and make everyone be nice to each other' isn't on it is anyone's guess.

That would be ten grand to work with one subset of the community, and include supernatural crime fighting techniques.  Time to wheel out that Taxpayers' Alliance quote and ram up the outrage, huh?

No.  Tumbleweeds in the Express, and a straight article from the Mail, which provides no counterpoint to the idea of the CPA being given money to try to fight crime with their magic powers.  Littlejohn remains resolutely silent.

Yesterday, an Inspector who started a scheme of prayer for crime reduction three years ago popped up to claim that prayer had indeed reduced crime.  Time to break out the Taxpayers' Alliance quotes and for Littlejohn to take the piss with references to Dixon of Dock Green and Dick Emery's comedy vicar now.  Got to be.

Except it isn't.  The Mail loves it, with 'Police chief hails power of prayer in driving down town's crime rates' the web page title is 'Policeman who asked churchgoers to ask God to help fight crime has his prayers answered' and I think that was the headline when I first saw the story.  It says:
When Inspector Roger Bartlett realised his patch had one of the poorest crime detection rates in the area, he decided he needed help.

So he asked churchgoers to pool their efforts in calling for back-up - from God.

Three years after encouraging Christians from local churches to say prayers to help policemen, detection rates have soared, road accidents have fallen and Mr Bartlett is convinced it is evidence of divine intervention.
In case you're tempted to read to the bottom of this one to find the quote from someone telling what really happened, don't bother.  It's not there.  Must've been the prayer.  The police obviously did nothing else to improve their performance.

'POLICE CHIEF: MY PRAYERS ARE FOILING CRIMINALS' is the Express's take.  It opens by inexplicably shouting 'A SENIOR', and ends up pointing out:
Insp Bartlett’s comments that praying can help police work were backed by the Christian Police Association.
The divsive buggers.

The website asks 'DEBATE: DO YOU BELIEVE THAT PRAYER CAN BEAT CRIME?' in its 'Have Your Say' section, which doesn't spend its time asking readers if they hate immigrants again and again and again anymore.   Not that stops them:
DEPORT every immigrant who did not meet all legal guidelines - which means every single asylum seeker who came via France should go back there today.
Yet_Another_Dwarf manages to slip in to his rant against the idea that prayer can reduce crime.  He's gone for shouting the first word of the sentence, too.  Bless.

When columnists, newspapers and the Taxpayers' Alliance claim to be outraged by 'dividing the police into competing politically correct groups', they only mean certain kinds of groups.  The Black Police Association, the Muslim Police Association, the Pagan, the Trans - all ripe to be shouted at for being divisive or even racist, and for the mere possibility of taxpayers' cash going near them.  Because they're associations of undesirables.  When an inspector from an in group claims he's reduced crime with magic - that's fine.  Move along.  Nothing to see here.

The Taxpayers' Alliance remain silent.  Littlejohn writes about other things instead after the disaster of spotting what Association we're talking about, before stuffing his face with pancakes and whipped cream.  Because he doesn't really care about the police being divided as long as it's divided by the right people.

"Curzhunt mayk izz aph!" he shouts, gobbing a bit of strawberry on the table in front of you and a bit of whipped cream you hope didn't land in your hair.  Lovely.

1 comment:

Matthew Smith said...

Can I suggest that you flag this story up, regarding the Daily Wail and disabled parking spaces:

Parking spaces -- Daily Mail Fail