Mind how you go

Sunday 01 December 2013 06:21

Not only are police officers younger these days, but they are ruder as well. Both phenomena are illusions, of course, fostered in the first case by the effect of the passage of time on the observer and in the second by the increasing propensity of British citizens to stand up for their rights. The Police Complaints Authority upheld 156 allegations of incivility last year.

Nevertheless, it would make sense if trainee officers were to attend classes in how to be magnificently dismissive without resorting to swearing, abuse or offensive behaviour. These would involve reading the collected works of Enid Blyton, with special reference to the Five Find-Outers (and Dog). After which, fully-fledged professionals could safely be sent out on the beat to deal with time-wasters and smart alecs with a loud "Gah!" And to send loiterers, spitters and traffic-cone throwers on their way with a well-timed "Clear Orf!"

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