01 March 2023

A Policeman's Lot is Now an Appy One

Last year I wrote here about my discovery of BBC Sounds, a free app that allows you to listen to shows and podcasts from across the pond.  I recently discovered a program on it which is right up our alley and well worth a listen.  

It's A Fair Cop stars Alfie Moore, a comedian who spent decades as a constable in a city in the north of England.  ("Scunthorpe is like Jupiter.  Everyone knows where it is, but very few have plans to go there.")  In each program he tells a live audience about a real event from his experiences as a cop  and asks them how they would have handled the situation.  

For example, a man found an intruder in his garage and hit him with a blunt object.  Was this a legitimate use of force?  In the course of this episode Moore points out that if you cover your garden wall with, say, bits of  glass, and a potential burglar gets hurt, you are liable, but if you plant abrasive foliage and he falls in them, that's an act of God, "and further proof that God also hates  burglars."  He notes that the Met (the London police) even put out a list of the 30 best anti-burglar plants.

And that's an unusually kind remark from Moore about the Met.  He is from the North, remember, and he manages to insult the capital's coppers in almost every show. "The Met is so overworked now that they are asking you to tamper with your own evidence."

We learn a lot about the rules of British police work, some of which seem pretty odd to me.  For example, if a beat constable thinks a parked car looks suspicious he can observe it while approaching it very, very, slowly, but he can't stop.  That would be surveillance, which requires authorization.

As I said, Moore is a comedian so the show is funny.  A few examples:

"Anyone who says the police are corrupt can kiss my Rolex."

"The last time [that security guard] chased an old woman around the store, she lapped him."

And in the inevitable grim humor of the police: "He said: 'God told me to kill my wife.' I said: 'Too bad he didn't tell you to dig a deeper hole.'"

Oh, you will also learn why Moore says "punching an innocent young man in the face" is the best thing he ever did as a cop.  Highly recommended.

Slightly off-topic: In my earlier piece about BBC Sounds I mentioned the serial Party's Over, about (fictional) Henry Tobin, the worst Prime Minister in British history, kicked out after eight months in office.  I wonder if they will consider him redundant now that Liz Truss has beaten him by six months?


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