14 December 2007

The Bobby on the Beat 1829 - 2007

Following the news that the Police Federation has passed a vote of no confidence in Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, after her failure to backdate a 2.5% pay award, we at As A Dodo must sadly announce the death of The Bobby on the Beat, who has clipped his last ear, left his last bicycle unlocked outside the local pub whilst nipping in for a natter and a pint of mild and shot his last innocent victim in the face at point-blank range.

The Bobby on the Beat was born in 1829, the son of Sir Robert Peel. So proud was the then Home Secretary of his new offspring that he named it after himself. Sadly for Sir Robert, the name "Junior" did not prove popular with the public, who preferred to refer to the infant constabulary as "Peelers", "Bobbies", "Coppers" or, indeed, "fascist pigs". Given the understandable reluctance of the Victorian public to have a bunch of uniformed men wandering around the country armed to the teeth and frightening the living daylights out of people - especially as members of the army were already doing exactly that job so well - the decision was taken to arm bobbies with nothing more than a truncheon and a clip (the latter being used - if we've done our googling correctly - to attach to youngsters' ears).

Soon the Bobby on the Beat was travelling across the whole country as every borough and parish clamoured to appoint a jovial, overweight copper to prevent the theft of 'kerchiefs by urchins and to serve as the butt of jokes (normally involving the dismantling of his bicycle when he nipped into the local for a natter and a pint of mild). During the rest of the 19th century and the early 20th century the Bobby on the Beat became an integral part of local community life - calling everyone by their name and being called all sorts of, generally uncomplimentary, names by everyone in return.

For decades, the Bobby on the Beat was held up as a paragon of virtue, defender of the innocent and cheap alternative to the speaking clock. PC 49 smiled out from the pages of The Eagle, PC George Dixon patrolled the streets of Dock Green and The Laughing Policeman, fat though he be, was a hero of popular song. Yet all, in truth, was not well. As the 20th Century wore on, the Bobby began to withdraw from his beat, forced to replace his truncheon with a side-handled baton, his trusty whistle with a malfunctioning radio and his humble bicycle with a flashy police car. Driven (usually in that very same police car, at speed, with his siren on and in the direction of dreadful crime and/or his lunch) from the streets that he loved, the Bobby on the Beat had to find new pastimes for himself. Thankfully, his sharp mind and eager attitude had not been dulled by all the pints of mild and slow bicycle journeys he had taken in his youth. So it was that the Bobby on the Beat spent the Sixties and Seventies inventing exciting games to while away his dull days, such as "Chase the Irishman", "Beggar the Pornography Baron (Unless He Agrees To Give You a Cut of His Profits)" and "Snap ... Goes Your Leg, Sonny Jim, Unless You Sign This Confession". Unfortunately, these games did not prove popular with the public, and the Bobby on the Beat found his former popularity waning with everyone save only Dr Who, who continued to use the Bobby's police box as a handy refuge from the Daleks, despite the fact the Bobby himself usually preferred to be down at the station, carefully "examining the evidence" from that hardcore pornography raid.

Despite this - and the ever increasing amounts of paperwork successive governments loaded him down with in order to stop all that game-playing - The Bobby limped (or more accurately, drove) on as best he could, gamely venturing out to fulfil his quota of arrests ... usually by nicking people for driving 2 miles per hour over the speed limit or wearing a hoodie in a built up area.

It was not enough. The Home Secretary's decision to deny the Bobby on the Beat £200 a year extra in his kevlar-lined wallet was to prove a fatal blow. With his dying breath, the Bobby called for her resignation, announced his intention to have a think about reintroducing industrial action and threw himself down the stairs to the cells.

The Bobby on the Beat will be buried at St Jack Warner's Church, 999, Letsby Avenue. The service will be conducted by the Reverend Sir Ian Blair, who will later deny all knowledge of the event. The congregation will fail to turn up at all, having popped down the pub for a bit of a natter and a pint of mild.

The Bobby on the Beat is survived by Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith ... though not necessarily for all that long.

1 Comment:

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Love the whole thing but especially "St Jack Warner's Church" and your last bit about Smith! Buon Natale, Dodo!