Andy McSmith's Diary: The police need a better class of sponsors

 

Martyn Underhill, a former detective chief inspector who is now Dorset’s elected Police Commissioner, has announced on his blog that he is trying to organise commercial sponsorship to help all five police forces in the South-west cope with cuts in their budgets. “The police family in Dorset is living in austere times with a shrinking budget and workforce,” he complains. “We are the lowest funded force and have seen the worst cuts. This is wrong, and I will continue to fight this…. I see huge potential benefits to forming appropriate sponsorship relationships with reputable organisations.”

The idea has found an instant opponent in Sergeant Nigel Rabbitts, chairman of the Devon and Cornwall Police Federation. “Why would any commercial enterprise want to sponsor the police?” he demanded, when asked by the Western Morning News.

The answer is obvious, surely. Any number of drug barons, fraudsters, embezzlers and other commercial operators who would willingly “sponsor” their local constabulary, if they only could. Indeed, is it not alleged that people working in the newspaper industry have in the past been quietly “sponsoring” selected officers from the Metropolitan Police Force?

Whip-round for a good cause

Out of the mess known as Plebgate, which has led to three arrests plus the resignation of the Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell, some good has come. The bicycle that Mr Mitchell was riding during his altercation with a police officer at the exit from Downing Street fetched more than £10,000 on eBay. The proceeds will go to the Nyumbani project in Kenya, which cares for children orphaned by the HIV epidemic.

Move along – nothing to see here

Today’s most overblown story concerned a minor accident in which Margaret Hodge, the tough chair of the Commons Accounts Committee, was involved while out canvassing the previous evening in Barking. She opened a car door without looking properly, and a cyclist ran into it. “She acknowledges that the accident was completely her fault,” an aide in her office said. “She apologised profusely to the cyclist, who was unharmed. They shook hands before he went on his way.” Even Plebgate – also much overblown – was more exciting than this, yet incredibly, for part of today, the Hodge misadventure was the “most read” story on the BBC news website.

Fancy dress not required

It is not often that a report in a local newspaper about a WI meeting takes off on the internet, but the account of the April WI meeting in the little village of Parkham, Devon, that appeared in today’s North Devon Journal is in a class of its own. Guest speaker was Captain Colin Darch, who came to talk about pirates. Entering into what they thought was the spirit of the occasion, the women came dressed up as pirates – only to learn, to their embarrassment, that Captain Darch, above with his hosts, had come to tell the harrowing story of how he was held prisoner by Somali pirates, in daily fear for his life.

Fortunately, Captain Darch was understanding. “They were lovely ladies,” he said. “They made me judge who was the best dressed which was a difficult choice. In the end, I decided to choose the one who had a fluffy parrot on her shoulder. Of course, there weren’t any parrots near the real pirates.”

Sleepless in Manchester – or maybe not

Linda McDougall, appearing on Radio 4’s World at One, drew attention to an interesting item in a published diary kept by the broadcaster and former Tory MP Gyles Brandreth. On 1 June 1971, he was in Manchester, where the previous evening he had watched his wife, Michele, reading the news on BBC North West. He recorded: “It’s not much fun for her. When she’s on late shift, she sleeps on a camp bed in the ladies’ loo, unless the star presenter needs it for one of his assignations. (He has different girls, daily.) The atmosphere is pretty sleazy.”

Who might that sleazy star presenter have been?

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Voices
Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and David Cameron appeal to the audience during the Question Time special
voices
Sport
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
News
Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn are breaking up after nearly three years together
peopleFormer couple announce separation in posts on their websites
Sport
football
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
Arts and Entertainment
Haunted looks: Matthew Macfadyen and Timothy Spall star in ‘The Enfield Haunting’
tvThe Enfield Haunting, TV review
News
The Mattehorn stands reflected in Leisee lake near Sunnegga station on June 30, 2013 near Zermatt, Switzerland
news
News
Michelle Dockery plays Lady Mary in Downton Abbey
peopleBut who comes top of the wish list?
News
Miriam Gonzalez Durantez, right, with Lib Dem candidate Jane Dodds in Newtown, Powys, as part of her tour in support of the party’s female candidates
general electionNick Clegg's wife has impressed during the campaign
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living