Let’s do a show about sex-mad cops who let crooks get away

(There’s only one problem . . . that would be a doc­u­men­tary)

The Scottish Mail on Sunday - - Comment -

OH NO, it’s yet an­other sea­side po­lice drama fea­tur­ing yet an­other al­leged rape, cri­sis cen­tre, ev­i­dence bags, DNA swabs, a no­ble, weep­ing sup­posed vic­tim, a stern-faced male-fe­male de­tec­tive team, and the rest. And given that Liar, the TV series in ques­tion, takes place in yet an­other ag­gres­sively mul­ti­cul­tural Blair­town, no­tably un­like any real place in this coun­try, I can’t help guess­ing that it will end with the vin­di­ca­tion of the ac­cuser. I re­ally hope I’m wrong, but what do you think?

I won­der if it’s some­where in the rules of Of­com, the now allem­brac­ing reg­u­la­tor of broad­cast­ing, that we must have at least one such series on air at all times.

I sus­pect this will go on un­til the courts have been bludgeoned into ac­cept­ing that ev­ery­one ac­cused of rape is au­to­mat­i­cally guilty re­gard­less of the ev­i­dence or lack of it.

This is more or less what the com­mis­sars of our cul­tural revo­lu­tion want, and it is only the an­noy­ing old-fash­ioned rules of ev­i­dence and pre­sump­tion of in­no­cence which have so far pre­vented them from get­ting their way.

I make no ac­tual com­ment on this. I dare not. I sim­ply state it as a fact. I know from ex­pe­ri­ence that it is fu­tile to ex­press any opinion on such sub­jects at all, how­ever care­fully rea­soned.

The revo­lu­tion­ar­ies will sim­ply pocket any ex­pres­sion of gen­eros­ity or un­der­stand­ing to­wards their cause, and then start scream­ing abuse again un­til we all sub­mit and shut up. This is how they pro­ceed. In the end the whole coun­try will be a ‘safe space’ for them, if not for oth­ers.

What is worse, there is some truth in these dra­mas. The po­lice are in­deed ob­sessed with sex. Illinformed peo­ple who re­port ac­tual crimes to them are still shocked by their lack of in­ter­est. One such, Jack White­ley, gave clear, damn­ing CCTV footage of thieves tak­ing gar­den fur­ni­ture from his ware­house premises to Es­sex Po­lice. Af­ter days of in­ac­tion, he was in­formed the po­lice were ‘un­able to as­sist as they are at sat­u­ra­tion point with their work­load’.

What that work­load is we can only won­der, as so much of it seems to be done in se­cret by in­vis­i­ble of­fi­cers. Now, em­bar­rassed by me­dia cov­er­age, Es­sex Po­lice have de­clared the case to be a ‘pri­or­ity’, which sug­gests it’s bet­ter to call the news­pa­pers first and the po­lice sec­ond.

But con­trast this with the piles of pub­lic money ex­pended by Wilt­shire Con­stab­u­lary on prob­ing al­le­ga­tions of sex­ual abuse by the very dead ex-Premier Sir Ed­ward Heath.

I make no judg­ment on Sir Ed­ward’s guilt or in­no­cence. But here’s the point. If Wilt­shire Po­lice find there is a case to an­swer, what hap­pens next? They can­not charge him or put him on trial.

The po­lice, who are a statu­tory body, are obliged by their oaths to en­force the law. Pur­su­ing cases against long-dead peo­ple sim­ply is not part of their du­ties, and we do not pay our taxes so they can do this. How was this spend­ing au­tho­rised? Is it sub­ject to au­dit? Who will pay the money back to us if it is found to be un­jus­ti­fied?

Or must we just ac­cept that these in­creas­ingly re­mote and of­fi­cious bod­ies are be­yond our con­trol, and avoid them as much as pos­si­ble?

Here’s an idea for a truly orig­i­nal po­lice series. It opens at a week­end po­lice con­fer­ence pro­mot­ing ‘gen­der equal­ity’, in a com­fort­able modern ho­tel.

A drunken woman is yelling at a fel­low guest: ‘You will be judged pro­fes­sion­ally on the size of your t***.’ She then pulls down the front of her own dress, re­veal­ing her breasts, and de­claims: ‘Look at these, look at these, these are the breasts of some­one who has had three chil­dren. They are ugly but I don’t feel the need to pump my­self full of sil­i­cone to get self-es­teem.’

THE drunk woman turns out to be the As­sis­tant Chief Con­sta­ble of a vi­brant modern lib­er­ated po­lice force. She keeps her job. The other woman turns out to be a po­lice su­per­in­ten­dent in the same out­fit. I might add that this event ac­tu­ally hap­pened in real life. The force was Greater Manch­ester.

All the scriptwrit­ers then need to do is to write a series on just such a lib­er­ated, but this time fic­tional, force, as it ig­nores bur­glar­ies at houses with odd num­bers (Le­ices­ter­shire Po­lice), lets off drug abusers by the hun­dred (stan­dard po­lice pol­icy), closes po­lice sta­tions (ev­ery­where), ig­nores blaz­ingly clear ev­i­dence of ware­house theft (Es­sex, see above), and dis­misses the re­peated pleas of a woman whose dis­abled daugh­ter is be­ing vi­ciously per­se­cuted (see the case of Fiona Pilk­ing­ton, Le­ices­ter­shire again).

Then a man walks into one of their few re­main­ing sta­tions and says: ‘I’d like to make a com­plaint about Harold Macmil­lan, who sex­u­ally as­saulted me when he was Prime Min­is­ter in 1960.’

And im­me­di­ately the whole force pro­claims ‘Op­er­a­tion Birch Grove’, can­cels over­time and flings it­self into top gear to in­ves­ti­gate the life of a man who died in 1986. The only problem will be to de­cide whether this is a com­edy or a tragedy.

SAME OLD STORY: Joanne Frog­gatt and Ioan Gruf­fudd in the new TV series Liar

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