With thanks to my friend and former colleague, Dorothy Williamson – ex SO13 – for this amusing tale based on the current project to re-enlist former detectives into the ranks of the Met.
Former DI Jack Regan and retired DS George Carter have answered the call for retired Detectives to return to the Met to help out and have just stepped out of a black cab looking up at the glass exterior of the New New but Old, Scotland Yard.
“Wonder what they did with the tank?” George asks as he glances around the glass walls of the entrance.
“ Hope they’ve got one here, achieved more in there than any meeting” Jack replied struggling to clip on his visitors badge.
“And this geezers name Rupert.. who calls their kids that?”
A few moments later a young man walks up and introduces himself “Good morning Jack , George.. I’m Detective Supt Rupert…”
Before he could finish his sentence, Jack – having already spotted the crisp warrant card hanging around the young man’s neck interrupted, “Morning Guv, things have changed a bit around here haven’t they” nodding in the direction of the foyer.
Rupert seemed to wince on hearing the word ‘Guv’. “Please call me Rupert, we all call each other by first names now. We find Sir and such like demeans people and make them feel less equal and unable to speak out if they are offended”.
A short while later they are standing in a small office surrounded on three sides by glass walls. “I’ll think you’ll find that whilst a lot has changed, a lot of policing hasn’t, it’ll still be locking up the bad people kind of policing that you’ll remember. The Commissioner strongly encourages that as long as its ethical and we can explain each arrest to a Civil Claims Court, and Community Forums. I’m on message with that mission and will fully support you in your work” Rupert said as he reached down to pull out a small box.
“Here, one iPad and one mobile phone each. You won’t have a desk, so you’ll work from these, your team will show you how it works, but in essence when it pings you have an action to fulfil. Oh and Jack you’ll be responsible for the 2 hourly spread sheet return on tasking results”.
Jack ignored the devices and was more interested in what looked like moth balls on a plate on his desk. “What are they Guv?” he asked.
Rupert winced “those are Falafels” He continued to look down at a drawer in his desk.
Jack glanced at George and mouthed slowly “Fl a feeeell?” George shrugged his shoulders.
“Oh here we are, your oyster cards”.
“What’s an oyster card?” George asked.
“It allows free travel on the buses and trains”.
“Why do we need that when we’ve got a motor?.. in fact talking of which, where’s our driver?”
“Ha ha, nice one Jack, yes I heard about that era. No, we don’t have sole organisational transport now. We share with our partners in the local authority and other major commercial contributors”.
Jack shook his head in disbelief. “Then how do we get about on the hurry up to take a firm out?”
“What’s a firm?” Rupert asked.
“A gang, you know, villains.. bad people as you call them” Jack replied.
“Well, firstly, before you take a ‘firm’ out you need to risk assess that and run that by me. If you complete the RA/1 Intention to Arrest Someone spread sheet out – you’ll find it on a folder on the desk top of the iPad, once completed you send it to me. Then I’ll submit a Share Point Transport Request on form SP/T1 to utilise a car. Once its costed and we get further authority from finances to pay for it, then we’ll facilitate that operation. Now I don’t wish to appear rude, gentlemen, but I have to be at a development of career meeting with the College of Academic Policing. Your team at Notting Hill will be expecting you. The contact details are in the introduction folder on the iPad, I’ll pop by later this afternoon to see how you’re getting on. Oh and remember if you need any advice I have an open door policy”
Half hour later having not worked out how to turn the iPads on, Jack and George are standing outside what was once Notting Hill nick. Now a large house, with wrought iron gates and two large Bentleys parked where the back yard used to be.
George stops an elderly black lady passing. “Err excuse me love, we’re looking for Notting Hill Police Station, it used to be here.”
She gave a smile and with a thick Jamaican accent “oh yes love, it did. Then them sold it init. They moved up to Notting Hill Gate. Go up there ma’dear, you can’t miss it. Shame though as I really liked seeing the policemen come and go from this place. Made you feel safe”
Five minutes later Jack and George are on ‘the gate’ . “You’ve got to be kidding me” Jack flicks his fag into the gutter and blows out a long puff of smoke “Jesus Christ”
Ahead of them outside Tesco’s two people dressed in large foam outfits of a police man and police woman are handing out blue balloons. Inside the foyer of Tesco’s a trestle table adorned with leaflets behind which a bearded PC wearing ear rings was sat looking down at his iPad.
George walked up to the table. After some moments, he tapped on it in an effort to get the PC’s attention. The PC still not looking up put a hand up “give me a second”.
Two minutes later the PC looked up and slipped his iPad into a large pocket on the side of his trousers. “Sorry about that, I’d be timed out and have to start again if I’d stopped submitting my report.. How can I help?”
“I’m DS Carter, that over there is DI Regan, we’re looking for the nick”
“Ah, yes, we’ve been expecting you, welcome”.
“What this is it?”
“Er, yes, what were you expecting George?”
George was taken aback “Its Sergeant or Skip to you”
The PC smiled “ Oh I’m sorry if I offended you but we don’t specify ranks now.” They were interrupted by loud ping “Ah, excuse me”. The PC reached into his pocket and pulled out his iPad. “Damn, Steve wants me to reclassify it“. “Who’s Steve?” George asked. “He’s the Ch Inspector of Ethical Crime Reporting”
“And where is he based?”
“At home in Wales is what I heard” The PC replied. “Hang about here come your team”
George looked down the milk aisle , a male and female in plain clothes approached. The female looking down at her iPad and talking.. “oh yes, they’re here now, thank you Rupert, yes see you later”
“Hi George, I’m Jenny, this is Mo” George eyed them both up and down. Jenny was about 20, Mo about 25.
“Alright love, where’s the rest of the team then?” George asked.
“Ahem, my name’s Jenny, and we are you team”
Jack walked over. “ Is this some sort of wind up?” Mo smiled “We hear things were a bit different in your day Jack, but it’s not as bad as it seems” Jack glanced over at George “Jack? I’m you DI son, let’s get that straight” Mo smiled, “yes of course, but I’m Mo and we.. ” .. “oh gawd yes, no ranks blah blah” George replied.
“Right, first things first” Jack said, “you two” pointing at Mo and Jenny, “you come with us” .
They walked around to Uxbridge Road. “Where are we going?” Jenny asked. “Last time I was here there was a decent boozer down here, is it still there?”
“I’m not sure but why are we going there?” Mo asked
“To have a drink, chat to the locals and get a feel of what’s going on.. now how many snouts have you got?”
“What are snouts?” Jenny replied.
An hour later and Jenny’s iPad pings. “oh its Rupert, he’s on his way to the station”
“Which one?” George asks downing his whisky.
“Tesco’s” Jenny replied.
“Tell me Jenny, how long has this Rupert geezer been in the job?”
“I think about 6 months- he’s on the direct entry. He did some days out with us, he investigated a shoplifter from arrest to conviction, then moved to Scotland Yard. He’s very nice.”
In next week’s episode:
Rupert shows Jack how to complete a spread sheet.
Jack shows Rupert how to jump out the back of an OP Transit van whilst holding a truncheon.