Friday, 7 May 2004

Hobnobbing with the Law

Crawling across the floor on my hands and knees this morning (the way you do), I came face to face with a piece of The Observer I'd not previously read. I used to be well up on the news. In the days when I cared about such things as promotion boards, I was a regular reader of The Observer and The Telegraph. I chose these diametrically opposed papers on the basis that they would give me a balanced view when answering the boards' questions. Didn't work, of course. They found ways of not promoting me ("We thought you were an outstanding candidate, but had to take account of the views of your superior officer [against whose views you had appealed in the first place]"), but I did become rather good at doing The Telegraph cryptic crossword.

Since freeing myself from office bondage, I've been more relaxed in my news-gathering. I still buy The Observer, but it takes me most of the week to get through it, and sometimes, as today, I come across bits that escaped my first trawl through. Anyway, according to what was probably the Comment column on this bit of newspaper, Bournemouth police have begun handing out bags of chocolate biscuits to boozers as they tumble out onto the streets at closing time. "People get frustrated and then aggressive waiting for either food or a taxi home" said an officer. "The chocolate will fulfill one of their needs and give them something to do with their hands." Hasn't life in Britain become bizarre? When I were a lad, if I got "frustrated and aggressive" after closing time, the best I could hope for from a policeman was a clip round the ear, never mind a bag of Hobnobs. Maybe they should take this further. Stop all this irritating arresting of people and change the police force to a catering and taxi service. It'd keep them off the streets.

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