The Curmudgeon


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Operational Discretion

The commissioner of the Metropolitan Firearms Club, Sir Paul Stephenson, has expressed his understanding of the concern caused by somebody or other's decision to allow some of the lads to patrol estates and streets armed with semi-automatic weapons. A member of the Metropolitan Police Authority, Jenny Jones, raised the matter last week only to be smeared as "hysterical" by one of that select few among the London Haystack's henchpersons who have not yet been sacked for corruption, incompetence, racism or other amusing quirks of character.

Unlike his illustrious predecessor, Sir Paul Stephenson appears capable of recognising situations where a fib is a lost cause. Nevertheless, his statement falls well within the bounds of recent Metropolitan tradition, of a piece with such well-loved past hits as The jacket looked bulky to me, Someone shouted "Armed police", The CCTV wasn't working that day, He was only an alcoholic news vendor and anyway he had no contact with the police, and the recent favourite, I was afraid those little metal numbers might do somebody a mischief. Although the commissioner regretted the all-important public-relations aspect of the problem, and made the obligatory mention of "long and proud tradition" which is the accepted signal for a plan to undermine the tradition in question, it emerged that Stephenson did not know about the decision to use armed patrols; that Stephenson's deputy did not know about the decision to use armed patrols; and that the Metropolitan Police Authority did not know about it either. (The London Haystack also did not know, but in all fairness that fact hardly counts as an indication he wasn't told.) Doubtless the usual nobody will be reprimanded.


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