This skit encompasses the recently reported ‘screening out’ of crimes by the Met, its treatment of serving officers post Leveson, the manipulation of crime figures, the Met’s treatment of whistleblowers or others who fail to toe the line (Howard Shaw, Brian Casson), the arrogance of ACPO ranks, bullying and finally the skeletons that are still rattling around the Met’s 2011 riots cupboard.
Scene; An office deep within Scotland Yard where a half a dozen senior ACPO ranked officers have congregated. The mood is jovial and amidst much mutual back slapping, champagne is being quaffed.
Suddenly the door opens and a young staff officer, PIERS-SMYTHE enters the room addressing the most senior ACPO officer present.
PIERS-SMYTHE: Sir, sir. Terrible news. There’s just been a BBC news item which shows we haven’t been investigating 45% of recorded crime.
ACPO 1: I know Piers-Smythe, that’s why we’re celebrating.
PIERS-SMYTHE: Sir, you don’t understand. This man had his expensive car radio stolen, his car tool kit and presents for his disabled child. He only left the car for five minutes and by the next morning, he had already received our standard ‘Sorry you have been the victim of crime, case closed’ letter.
ACPO 1: Sounds like we’re being efficient eh what. (nods of agreement from fellow officers).
PIERS-SMYTHE; Sir, CCTV footage seen on the BBC clearly shows the two men taking the goods from our victims car and putting them into their own. The number plate is clearly visible.
ACPO 1: Piers-Smythe that’s exactly why we’re having this party ooops I mean meeting.
PIERS-SMYHTE: But sir, why?
ACPO 1: It’s obvious dear boy. The public will watch that report and read about it in the papers and will conclude that when they become a crime victim there’s no point in contacting us so they’ll join the millions of others who also believe there is no point in reporting crime.
ACPO: And our crime figures will come down still further which will ensure we’ll all get our QPM’s from the Queen and possibly even knighthoods. (turns to fellow ACPO officer).
ACPO 1: By the way Tom have you nominated me for my QPM yet?
ACPO 2: All sorted. (turns to ACPO 3) Have you done mine yet?
ACPO 3: Nearly. I’ll email it to you to check over.
ACPO 4: Who’s doing mine?
PIERS-SMYHE leaves only to return two minutes later.
PIERS-SMYTHE: Sir, sir. We’ve another problem sir.
ACPO 1: Is there no peace?
PIERS-SMYTHE: That victim of crime sir who was on the TV. He’s a police officer. He’s one of us.
Room goes silent.
ACPO 1; (roars) WHAT. A BLOODY WHISTLEBLOWER. WHAT DO WE DO WITH POLICE WHISTLEBLOWERS?
All other ACPO officers in chorus: THEIR LEGS. WE DO THEIR LEGS.
ACPO 1: Go and get me a progress report.
PIERS-SMYTHE leaves and returns ten minutes later.
PIERS-SMYTHE: Sir it was his wife who contacted the BBC but…..
ACPO 1: So.
PIERS-SMYTHE: Well anyway our people have smashed down his door, arrested him for misconduct in public office, terrified his children, seized his laptop, his daughter’s playstation, her plastic playphone and the family hamster.
ACPO 1: And if the Crown Prosecution Service won’t prosecute?
ACPO officers in chorus: WE’LL DO HIM FOR BREACH OF DISCIPLINE.
PIERS-SMYTHE: Sir. Just a word of advice if I may. We have come badly unstuck at a couple of employment tribunals lately.
ACPO 1: No matter Piers-Smythe, if we lose we’ll just pay up. It’s only taxpayers money and we’ll make sure those officers will be forever tainted as troublemakers. If any senior officer gets criticised by the judges we’ll just ignore them and promote the officer. Anything else?
PIERS-SMYTHE: Sir, Chief Superintendent Righteous from East London is here.
ACPO 1: Ah him. (turns to others).
ACPO 1: This is the officer who refuses to bring down his crime figures?
ACPO 2: Disgraceful.
ACPO 4: Unbelievable.
ACPO 1: He actually insists his officers report pickpocket offences as theft rather than property lost in the street and he refuses to classify attempted burglary’s, where there are marks around rhe doors or windows, as criminal damage.
ACPO’s 2,3,4 and 5 gasp in horror.
ACPO 1: He refuses to appoint a Detective Inspector to trawl through reported crimes so they can be no-crimed and won’t allow officers to contact victims of crime in an attempt to get them to unreport them.
Two shocked ACPO officers have to sit down.
ACPO 1: He even insists that theft where violence is used is actually reported as a robbery rather than theft and assault and, you won’t believe this; he won’t send his drugs squad officers out to issue street warnings to those with tiny amounts of cannabis in order to boost his detection figures.
PIERS-SMYTHE: Sir, we can hardly sack him for that.
ACPO 1: Sadly the Commissioner hasn’t won his battle yet to make officers arbitrarily redundant.
ACPO 3: So what are we going to do with him.
ACPO 1: Well. I’ll get him in here and shout at him for an hour and see if I can reduce him to tears like I have with other stroppy Chief Superintendents. Where does the bounder live Piers-Smythe?
PIERS-SMITH; Out in Essex sir, somewhere near Harlow.
ACPO 1: Ah good, we’ll post him to Feltham over near Heathrow.
PIERS-SMITH; That’ll be a terrible journey for him sir. (Pauses) Sir you’re not thinking of ……
ACPO 1: I am Piers-Smythe. Not just Feltham, but as senior police liaison officer based at the Feltham Young Offender’s Institution.
PIERS-SMYTHE: Sir, that’s inhuman. The gangs, the violence; that’s worse than a posting to Kabul.
ACPO 1: Enough Piers-Smythe. We’ll see him in ten minutes.
ACPO 1: Is there anything else coming up that could bite us on the backside?
ACPO 3: Well there is the second anniversary of the riots.
ACPO 1: Hmmmm. I can’t deny we’ve still got more than a few career ruining skeletons rattling around in our cupboard. Tom can you all instruct our legal people to get some form of gagging order if there is a sniff of any skeletons emerging or if we think someone is going to blab lets get a warrant and kick the door in.
ACPO 2 nods.
ACPO 1: Right, if you all move your chairs to behind my desk you can all have a go at shouting and intimidating Chief Superintendent Righteous. We’ ll have a little wager as to how long it takes to reduce him to tears.
ACPO 1: Send him in but first frisk him in case his mobile is set to record.
ACPO 1:( to other ACPO officers) You just can’t trust police colleagues these days.
All nod in agreement.