After recent attacks on police officers… Inside the Home Secretary’s office
After recent attacks on police officers, civil servant Jeremy briefs the Home Secretary (who still supports Millwall)
(A satirical playlet set in an almost parallel universe)
The most sought after job in policing.
Home Secretary: Morning Jeremy. Anything to report over the last few days. Been a bit tied up so to speak with supporting Brexit.
Jeremy: Supporting, Home Secretary?
Home Sec: Aren’t I, Jeremy?
Jeremy: No, Home Secretary. ‘Brexit’ means British Exit from the EU, so you aren’t supporting it, you’re opposing it (mutters) For now anyway.
Home Sec: Oh, whatever. Now an update from the last few days if you please…
Jeremy: There’s been some criticism that you haven’t made any comment about the five police officers injured in Sheffield, Home Secretary. A body builder went berserk with an axe. A female officer was very badly injured and had to be operated on in hospital. She’s lost a finger.
Home Sec: Really, Jeremy (yawns). Why should I make I make any comment? They’re just doing what they are paid to do; that’s what my friend Lee Jasper says and he’s right.
Jeremy: It seems her life was saved by a member of the public who dragged her clear. Should we see if we can arrange an award?
Home Sec: That was his choice, not to mind his own business, and bail out plod Jeremy, but this reminds me that we must keep that ‘NICE THINGS TO SAY ABOUT PLOD IF ONE DIES’ folder handy and increase the variety a bit so we don’t repeat ourselves if a few plod get knocked off in a short space of time. We can’t keep saying ‘Our thoughts are with’ and ‘Our hearts go out.’
Jeremy: There were some other incidents, Home Secretary.
Home Sec: Very well, Jeremy if you must. I suppose it’s handy to know such things in case I’m ambushed by the press.
Jeremy: A Met officer had his leg badly broken by a vehicle he and others were trying to stop. He’s in hospital now.
Home Sec: Get his details for me, Jeremy.
Jeremy: Yes. A get well soon message, perhaps a card?
Home Sec: No, Jeremy. His latest fitness test results. I want to make sure he’s not one of those ‘blobby bobbies’ who could have got out the way if he had been fitter. Now he’s going to go off sick for months at our expense.
Home Sec: Taxpayers, Jeremy, us hardworking taxpayers. Too many sick plod these days. All that garbage about stress and they have the cheek to blame our police reform.
Jeremy: (sighs) There were two arrested for attempted murder in Essex. It would seem a police officer was slightly hurt after a van was driven at him.
Home Sec: Allegedly, Jeremy, allegedly driven at him.
Jeremy: (looks at his briefing sheet) There was also quite a nasty incident in Coventry where police were attacked by a man wielding a Stanley knife and screwdriver. One officer suffered a cut hand, oh and an officer was beaten unconscious in Cardiff.
Home Sec: Dear me.
Jeremy: Yes exactly, Home Secretary, terrible violence against our officers.
Home Sec: No Jeremy, dear me – can’t these officers talk them down instead of resorting to force. I want full reports on each incident Jeremy and I especially want to know if a taser was used and if any person tasered was black. Dig out that Guardian article where I speak about tasers. Too trigger happy is plod. Boys with their toys; give a few a taser and they all want one. Any use of tasers I want investigated by the IPCC.
Jeremy: Yes of course, Home Secretary.
Home Sec: Can’t police just talk reasonably to these people instead of using tasers and force? Communication, Jeremy, honest, transparent communication, that’s what it’s all about.
Jeremy: That reminds me, Home Secretary, there are more requests from Jeremy Paxman and Jon Snow for in-depth interviews on your record as Home Secretary.
Home Sec: (Colour drains from face and sweat appears on forehead) Good grief Jeremy, I’m far too busy to talk to these people what with Brexit and ISIS and …er …stuff
Jeremy: (mutters) But it’s good to talk, Home Secretary.
Home Sec: (not hearing wipes sweat from brow) Any more incidents, Jeremy?
Jeremy: Ah yes, a 13 year-old girl, who was a passenger in a car, was shot in Bethnal Green. She wasn’t badly hurt and her and the driver were able to run to the local police station.
Home Sec: Astonishing Jeremy, astonishing.
Jeremy: What was Home Secretary? The prompt police response? The professionalism of both the unarmed and armed police?
Home Sec: No Jeremy, the fact that they were able to find a police station that was actually open.
Jeremy: (sighs) Just one more incident again in Coventry, Home Secretary.
Home Sec: Go on.
Jeremy: Well it seems a man went beserk and was stabbing himself with a Samurai sword.
Home Sec: Shamefully tasered?
Jeremy: Well no. They managed to restrain and disarm him and then were able to render first aid and stop the bleeding.
Home Sec: Are we sure the bleeding wasn’t from a brutal police assault, Jeremy?
Jeremy: Absolutely, Home Secretary. Oh and a couple of Met officers delivered a baby…
Home Sec: (interrupts) Enough Jeremy. We have far too many plod playing at being paramedics and mental health workers these days. Delivering babies, trying to keep stabbing and shooting victims alive, talking people down from high buildings and bridges. Crime, Jeremy, driving down crime; that’s where their focus should be.
Police and public battle to save the life of a stabbing victim in Peckham
Jeremy: Talking of which, Home Secretary, there’s also been a statement from the Metropolitan Police saying crime has risen.
Home Sec: Right, Jeremy. Get on to Sir Bernie and make sure his spin doctors respond. The usual stuff; it’s because of better recording, more people reporting. I want it made clear to the public that although crime is up, it isn’t really.
Jeremy: Yes I’ll get on to it right away, Home secretary.
Home Sec: I must remember that phrase, Jeremy, for my PCC campaign. The more Tory PCC’s, the easier our programme for police reform. Damn ISIS and Paris. We’d be well on the way to our target of 80,000 plod if it wasn’t for…
Jeremy: (interrupts) Home Secretary, there’s been a bit of criticism of your support for Tory PCC’s.
The Home Secretary’s statement in relation to PCC’s
Home Sec: Stuff and nonsense, Jeremy, it’s all part of our great democratic debate (pauses) Mind you, wasn’t it a masterstroke taking away that free government funded mail drop. That’s really stuffed those independents, especially those know-it-all retired cops. Just because they’ve actually done the job they think they have something to contribute.
Jeremy: I’m sure the PCC elections will be a triumph, Home Secretary, now about our borders and the UK Border Force.
Home Sec: Ah yes, Jeremy. My own personal creation, my legacy to our great country. I can see it on my gravestone: ‘Founder of the United Kingdom Border Force.’
Jeremy: I’m afraid their last staff survey was a bit of a disaster, Home Secretary. Only 12% believe the changes made to your border force are usually for the better, while the satisfaction rate in respect of your senior managers, which I think includes you, is around 20%.
Home Sec: Just like plod, Jeremy, so ungrateful. If they don’t like it they can collect their P45s.
Jeremy: Well, quite a few are, Home Secretary. New recruits are leaving as fast as they can be recruited and we’d be in real trouble if we actually offered a decent redundancy package.
Home Sec: How many completed the survey, Jeremy?
Jeremy: About a third of the workforce, Home Secretary.
Home Sec: So we can say that around 70% have not been critical of senior managers.
Jeremy: (groans) Those who didn’t complete the survey did not trust the guarantee of anonymity, Home Secretary.
Home Sec: Dissenters, Jeremy, in my own border force can’t be tolerated. They are dragging down morale and endangering national security. Don’t forget we managed to get that UKBF officer suspended for months as he had the temerity to express some concerns to his MP.
Jeremy: But Home Secretary, surely that’s his democratic right.
Home Sec: Well, even we daren’t sack him for contacting his MP but it was a huge warning shot to other border force dissenters. You don’t see too many UKBF officers on Twitter or Facebook unlike those wretched plods like Gadget.
Jeremy: Well we may have got away with that report into the Border Force at Manchester, Home Secretary?
Home Sec: Yes, Jeremy. Most of the media took our bait and concentrated on those UKBF sniffer dogs who’d been trained to find food actually finding food.
Jeremy: Yes, Home Secretary, but it was cuts to training that meant their drugs dogs were not well trained enough to find drugs.
Home Sec: Credit to the training manager who tried to find savings, Jeremy. Let’s see who it was, promote him and find a place for him in our cuts oops restructuring department.
Jeremy: A couple of papers did pick up on passengers being admitted who shouldn’t have been but they missed the sections about the poor management at Manchester Airport, and the fact that former experienced customs officers are angry at having to spend all their time on passport controls.
Home Sec: Always complaining, Jeremy. We’ve given them uniforms so they look like plod and now they are moaning like plod.
Jeremy: It’s an issue at Heathrow as well, Home Secretary. Some customs officers have seen their pay cut by £250 a month. Drug seizures have gone through the floor.
Home Sec: No matter, Jeremy. We’ll just say that fewer seizures means that we are winning the war against drugs.
Jeremy: David Bolt may not be happy with that.
Home Sec: Who’s he, Jeremy?
Jeremy: The new independent inspector of borders and immigration you appointed, Home Secretary, and who wrote the Manchester Airport report.
Home Sec: How did we land ourselves with another truly independent inspector, Jeremy? The last one was bad enough and I only got rid of him by redacting his critical reports and withholding others from publication.
Jeremy: Well, this one is ex-MI5, Home Secretary. You signed off on him.
Home Sec: Ex-MI5, Jeremy. He should have been nice and discreet in his reports. If he keeps on like this we’ll have to find an excuse to terminate with extreme prejudice.
Jeremy: (aghast) Pardon, Home Secretary?
Home Sec: I heard it when watching a James Bond movie last night, Jeremy. I’m not sure what it means but I thought we could place it on the front of his file.
Jeremy: Probably not the greatest idea, Home Secretary.
Home Sec: Well what about across the front of the files of those troublesome ex-cops; Hurley, Chamberlain, Wright, Kirkham, Hobbs and Pannet?
Jeremy: Perhaps not quite yet, Home Secretary.
Home Sec: Why oh why can’t we get such nice, compliant people like Tom Winsor? Such a delightful man and what a great idea; surveying those who have been arrested to rate their treatment at the hands of the police.
Jeremy: Like the axeman who (pauses) allegedly (pauses) nearly killed the female officer in Sheffield – and it was the IPCC, Home Secretary, not HMIC.
Home Sec: IPCC, HMIC, NPCC; it’s all so terribly confusing, Jeremy.
Jeremy: Yes, so much to deal with, Home Secretary.
Home Sec: (Changes subject) I see my team lost on Saturday, but we’ve still a chance of the play-offs.
Jeremy: Your team? Oh yes Home Secretary, Millwall.
Home Sec: Kindred spirits, Jeremy. ‘No-one likes us, we don’t care.’ I can relate to that.
Jeremy: I believe they had a full legal package accompanying them up to Coventry on Saturday. Legal advice, emergency phone numbers.
Home Sec: Yes, Jeremy, and if my team gets to the play-off final at Wembley, I don’t want a seat in the Royal Box but amongst my fellow fans.
Jeremy: Errm, didn’t they start fighting amongst themselves last time they were at Wembley? Not sure your protection team will be thrilled to bits.
Home Sec: They’ll just have to blend in by wearing Stone Island gear and using the F word every few seconds, Jeremy. Now I’m off to do some more Brexit campaigning (pauses) just remind me whose side I’m on.
Jeremy: You’re against Brexit, Home Secretary.
Home Sec: Thank you, Jeremy. You may go.
Jeremy turns for the door as the Home Secretary puts on her coat and wraps a blue and white Millwall scarf around her neck and bursts into song.
Home Sec: (sings to the tune of Sloop John B)
‘It’s never our fault,
It’s never our fault
We’re provoked by the Old Bill
It’s never our fault.’
Exits stage left-sadly not permanently.
(Metropolitan Police 1978 to 2011)
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