BBC Radio 4 ‘It’s a Fair Cop’ is back on the beat!

The new series of the hit comedy show It’s a Fair Cop returns to BBC Radio 4 on Wednesday 31st May in its new time slot of 11.30am.  The first episode kicks off with Barry the Burglar  – which will surely resonant with all those who believe that an Englishman’s (and Woman’s!) home is their castle.

Once again former Detective Sergeant Alfie Moore swears the studio audience in as cops for the duration of the show and, as he reveals one of his true-life cases, invites them to say what they’d have done  – often with hilarious results.  Using his trademark blend of humour and experience of the law Alfie provides fascinating insights into the dilemmas that police officers face every day  – with plenty of laughs along the way.

In addition to airing at 11.30 am on Wednesday mornings throughout June It’s a Fair Cop will also be available on the BBC iPlayer to listen to at any time.

Pour yourself a cup of coffee, put your feet up (unless you’re driving of course – because that would be illegal!) and prepare to be thoroughly entertained.

 

Who you gonna call?

(Originally published in Policing Insight and reproduced here for wider enjoyment)police call box2

If there’s something strange in your neighbourhood, who you gonna call? ……Well despite only 25-30% of calls for service actually being crime related the answer in the UK would seem to be the police.

Last week an article in the Telegraph informed us of the latest ‘big cat’ sighting. Not one of those morbidly obese felines, being cradled by a small child, which goes viral on YouTube – but rather one of the non-indigenous variety that terrify the residents of a peaceful Bedfordshire village.

No wonder they were worried. Local Silsoe resident, and keen cocker spaniel-walker, Rob Terry clocked the beast and said “it would have a Labrador for lunch!’” Now as a cop I find that a curious account. It’s a bit like me obtaining a witness description of: “the offender was female and looked like she ate a lot of chips.”

Prized pets

In the 60’s and 70’s big cats were a popular fashion accessories and could even be purchased in Harrods. But in 1976 a change in the law meant that keeping big cats was illegal – which drove some exotic cat owners to dump their prized pets in the wild where they naturally bred. Now there are so many big cats out there that these days we hardly ever get a ‘big mouse’ sighting!

The only indigenous wild species of cat in the UK is the British Wildcat, which is a native of Scotland. The Wildcat is small in stature but a very feral, aggressive creature which hates to cross the border and is often affectionately nicknamed the Sturgeon.

Run Deborah run…

Further corroborative evidence that 8 out of 10 big cats prefer to live in Bedfordshire was provided by 62 year old Silsoe lass Deborah Hamill. Her terrifying account told how she believed that last year, she and her sister were chased by a panther, saying “we legged it, and only just made it back to the car”.

No offence Mrs Hamill but unless you and your sis are veteran triathletes and it was an aging, one-eyed, asthmatic panther on crutches then it would have probably caught you if it had wanted to.

A typical middle-class response to such sightings would normally be to storm the local Parish Council meeting insisting on giant cat litter bins in a bid to retain the Best Kept Village Award.  However Silsoe residents were genuinely concerned – because the location is a popular children’s play area, and to the discerning panther palette middle-England posh kids make an occasional culinary treat. (Rather like Northerner’s picking something from the Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference range)

Ian Kelly, from the Parish Council sprang into action and after a frantic phone call announced, “the man from the RSPCA said not to feed it!”

There is evidence to suggest that the animal is quite able to feed itself judging by the odd savaged sheep carcass discovery. If you do find a dead sheep on your doorstep it’s always worth remembering that from the big cat’s perspective it’s just bringing you a little present.

ASBO Conditions

Ian went on to say: “We have asked police what we should do and they haven’t come back to us”.

Now we see where this article is going. It’s another ‘police failed to act’ story isn’t it? Even the last line of the article reads: ‘Bedfordshire Police did not respond to requests for comment’.

Well please allow me to respond. Firstly by apologising (because that’s what we always do first) and secondly by saying that we can’t really top the advice that the RSPCA have already provided. We could only follow it up with “don’t tickle its tummy and don’t stroke its fur the wrong way”.

I don’t know what police response you were expecting Ian: “We’ll put it on ASBO conditions not to eat sheep?”

I feel it’s important to manage The Public’s expectations by respectfully suggesting that they don’t get too excited in anticipation of a police response – which will likely be the well-worn log clearance classic: ‘Words of Reassurance’.

‘Big Cat Contingency Policy’

Yes I know that we can all remember the days when the police were more proactive as an organisation. When the old village bobby would just spring out of the shadows and give the big cat a clip around its furry ear. And if the big cat went back to his lair, and told his big cat dad, he’d probably get another one…. but those days are over.

The village bobby has long gone, along with the other 20,000 cops that were ‘surplus to requirements’. We could maybe muster a Police Community Support Officer, wearing a Davy Crockett hat, who’s done the College of Policing distance learning ‘Big Cat Whispering Course’. But even if they did spend a couple of weeks tracking the animal (for time due not overtime), once they were face-to-face the PCSOs would only have the power to detain big cats for periods of up to 30 minutes.

Don’t take this as official protocol, by the way, I’m sure some Bedfordshire Temporary Inspector on the Chief’s corridor will have knocked up a formal ‘Big Cat Contingency Policy’ document in their keenness to evidence ‘innovative risk management thinking’ for the promotion board.

Intergalactic public disorder

The British Police Service are good. So good in fact that people ring us for everything. People will even ring us to ask us who they should ring – we’re like Google with flashing blue lights!

Anything from found hamsters to alien sightings, people always contact the police. Although when it comes to alien sightings surely we’re the last people to ring given that our record is not great at dealing with ethnic minority groups. Inappropriately tasering a Martian could easily lead to all sorts of intergalactic public disorder.

On a serious note, if you do see a big cat the answer to: ‘who you gonna call?’ should be the police, as we’re pretty good at managing risk. If it takes a while to answer the call it’s only because we’re working our way through the other 70-75% of non-crime related incidents.

In the meantime I would ask the public to assist by taking personal responsibility for their own simple risk assessment i.e. if there are big cat sightings in an area – don’t walk your dogs or let your kids play there (or at least not your favourite one).

“I’ve never been to Scunthorpe…..”

Welcome to scunthorpe

Scunthorpe is pretty famous, but why?

Is it famous for having significant natural ironstone deposits which have been mined since the 10th century? No. Maybe it’s for Forest Pines – the internationally acclaimed championship golf course? Nope. What about for having the largest steel processing plant in the whole of the United Kingdom? Still no!

Scunthorpe is actually famous for two reasons:

Firstly, within the cyber world for an anomaly that IT boffins call ‘The Scunthorpe Problem’. Contrary to popular belief the Scunthorpe problem is not that people from Scunthorpe live there but rather the random grouping of letters in the middle of the town’s name spelling out a somewhat rude four-letter profanity – which in turn means it’s often automatically blocked by internet obscenity filters.

Who put the…..?

Long before it was an IT problem the town’s name was already a bit of a mystery and one of the Nation’s longest running rhetorical gags: “Who put the c*** in Scunthorpe?”

Let me tell you that I have been asked this question a lot – in fact an awful lot. Usually by helpful people who genuinely think I may have never been asked it before! In fact it was even the first question an audience member asked me when I walked off stage at the Perth Comedy Festival, Western Australia, and so I think we can now say that it’s officially an International Mystery.

Although not quite in the Seven Wonders of the World category, I still think it’s actually a legitimate question. In the Domesday Book (1086) the town was called Escumesthorpe.  Somebody, at some time, actively made the decision to change the name and actually put the c*** in Scunthorpe.  It’s there in black and white!

Wherefore art thou?

Earlier I described ‘The Scunthorpe Problem’ as arising from a random grouping of letters but perhaps that was an over-generous assumption on my part. It is possible that many years ago there was a town meeting, held in the tap room of Ye Olde Dog and Ducke, where an inebriated town elder suggested that the name be changed to encapsulate the most obscene, misogynistic and offensive word ever thought of by humankind (although it was probably a bloke). Maybe it was just a conscious rebrand to generate interest – after all Cockermouth has had enough attention!

The possibility that it was an accident is in many ways even more disturbing because you’d really have to be as thick as two medieval short planks not to spot it was there and fail to foresee the very obvious ramifications to follow. I mean the Beckhams might get away with dishing out daft names but they don’t have to pack their kids off to a Scunthorpe Secondary School. If they had I’d suggest that Romeo would be carrying a few duelling scars by now. I can just picture the teacher doing the morning register “O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art though Romeo?” “He’s scrapping behind the bike sheds again Miss”.

Ger int’ car Dave

The other reason why Scunthorpe is famous is because the rapper Tinie Tempah mentioned the place in a song. The number one hit, and 2011 Brit Awards best single, ‘Pass-out’ contained the line: “I’ve been to Southampton but I’ve never been to Scunthorpe”. That’s ‘cos we wouldn’t let you in Tinie, for Health and Safety reasons. We’ve got height restrictions, like Alton Towers, to stop little people getting bullied.

You see you’re of the hip hop, drum and bass genre whereas we’re more of the ‘what you effing looking at?….Ger int’ car Dave he’s not worth it’…genre.

The song in question was quite a protracted 4 minutes 28 seconds in length but would have been much longer if Tinie had chosen to systematically list all the other places to which he’d also not been. I don’t know about you but I often find myself wondering if this Plumstead lad has ever popped oop t’ North to have a sneaky peak at Chesterfield or Rotherham?

I notice on the first single from Tinie’s 2015 ‘Junk Food’ album (sorry mixtape not album – silly me) called ‘We Don’t Play no Games’ that he didn’t feel it necessary to list all the games he hadn’t played: “I’ve played Twister but I’ve never played Tiddly…winks!” (That line’s funnier if you rap it in a Tinie Tempah voice).

For those that like an edgier gangsta-style rap you may prefer Tinie’s 2013 single ‘Looking down the barrel of a gun’. In the song he explains that he’s looking down the barrel of a 12” Magnum  – but I’m sure you share my disappointment that he declines to inform us of all the barrels he’s not looked down…..So he’s sorta just left us hangin’ there bro.

Cruising to the Council tip

The funny bit for me about writing this is that I felt the need to do a little research in order to have a Tinie tease and so I listened to a clip of his album and thought….. “that’s alright actually” –  and now I often have his music on in the car.

Consequently I’ve become one of those annoying nodding Winston-dog types causing a drum ‘n’ base noise nuisance in my Peugeot 207 whilst stationary at the traffic lights. My wife says that for my birthday she’s getting me one of those over-large glittery decorated baseball caps so I can wear it back-to-front when I’m cruising on down to the Council tip with the gardening waste.

So I think what I’m really saying is: “Leave Scunny alone Tinie”….or rather Patrick – the name he was known by at Plumstead Primary.

I’m sure Plumstead was a perfectly nice place to grow up  – although I can’t actually be sure because I’ve never been to Plumstead… but I’ve been to Southampton.

Alfie Moore’s ‘take’ on Brexit week…

 This feature was originally printed in Policing Insight and is re-published here for wider enjoyment

Alfie Moore - Detective hat & braces_Idil SukanWake me up when it’s all over…..

It was Thursday 23rd June 2016 and I found myself standing in a voting booth, pencil poised. I allowed myself a last-minute ‘expert’ analysis on how the outcome would affect the world of policing. I concluded: a Leave result would mean further cuts in UK police budgets and fewer cops on the streets – whereas a Remain result would mean further cuts in UK police budgets and fewer cops on the streets. Hmm tough decision…..

I dragged myself home with considerable effort as I felt the distinct and terrifying onset of man-flu beginning. Oh dear, man-flu is a formidable enemy that strikes fear into the hearts of even the bravest warriors amongst the male species.

There was no decent television options to distract me. No footie – just a painful pause as the nation tried to recover from England’s bore-draw with Slovakia. Everyone seemed to be slagging Roy Hodgson off due to his questionable team selection tactics. Not me, I’m open minded, perhaps he’s a genius. Perhaps, in our world of ever depleting resources, the NPCC could even consider adopting his innovative team selection tactics by just putting our ‘second-string’ bobbies out in the week and resting the best ones for when it’s busier at the weekend!

I flicked on the news to see astronaut Tim Peake had returned to earth. After six months in space he said he was quite happy to ‘turn straight around and go back’. Well I bet his wife was delighted with that one! Perhaps he’d watched the England game or realised in was mid-summer’s day and I’d just put the central heating on!

Or perhaps having conquered space, he too, was starting with the onset of man-flu and feared the great battle ahead. I decided to drag my aching bones to bed. I couldn’t get excited about the referendum live results shows. After all the result was never in doubt: The bookies had stopped taking bets in the afternoon just as the odds on Brexit drifted to 7/1. Done deal then.

Spexit

The man-flu had given me night fevers and a disrupted sleep. I switched on my laptop at 7.am. to slowly realise, that just like Tim Peake, I’d woken in a different world. A world outside of the European Union. Social media was screaming ‘Cameron will have to go!’ All our material goods would be worthless and we’ll all be living in cardboard boxes before the week was out.

‘Wow we actually went and did it then?’ Was my first reaction. My second reaction was ‘I need to write some childish Brexit jokes’. I left the political satire to the experts and settled for the tweet:

“I’m probably most excited about Spain leaving the EU because I think the hashtag Spexit will look funny” (yes I know it was infantile but I’d got man-flu).

Anyhow, I couldn’t ponder too much as I had to drag myself to Brighton to perform a ‘humorous’ after dinner speech at an awards ceremony. Now if you think policing is challenging you want to try making 400 builders laugh after they’d just had £40 billion ‘written off’ their market value in the last 12 hours. You’re not allowed a stab-proof vest under your dinner suit either!

I bid the builders goodbye and left them to their hard-won awards. I may have been at the very grand Grand Hotel in Brighton but it was a Lemsip and off to bed for me. The next morning I apprised myself of the post Brexit political fall-out.

Seven stages of grief

Any good bereavement councillor would point out that there are seven stages of grief to pass through before coming to terms with a great loss. The nation had teetered out of the first stage: Shock, taken on board a good dose of stage 2: Anger, before blindly stumbling head-first into stage 3: Denial! Apparently loads of people had accidentally put an ‘X’ in the wrong box (probably the same people who’d accidently re-elected the Tories last year) and now wanted a second referendum to make it all better. Perhaps we should collectively pen a restorative justice-style letter:

Dear EU, we all do silly things we later regret. How about we all say sorry, nip down to Asda for some Ferrero Rocher and we forget all about it? X

The rest of the world must have thought we were a bit barmy but I think that they should bear in mind that we’ve got consumer protection legislation which means we’re used to having a ‘14-day cooling-off period.’

Things were hotting up fast. Cameron had fallen on his posh sword, Nicola Sturgeon had a smirk the size of a Highlander’s sporran, Nigel had a bigger one, and it appeared that Boris, that astute political strategist in fools clothing, had played a blinder! Or had he?

Also stepping out of shadows into the Tory leadership fray was our very own Theresa May. She’d kept her head down for a couple of days as she was probably busy re-writing (or do I mean shredding?) the Human Rights Act and then decided to throw her hat into the ring.

Now I’m sure that every cop in the country was thinking the same as me on hearing this news “Oh no –  not Theresa!” (often referred to in policing circles as Mother Theresa due to her nurturing disposition). ‘We don’t want to lose our Home Secretary who’s goaded guided us through difficult times’.

642.971

It was now Monday. The man-flu was still bossing my immune system but I had to be a brave little soldier as I was booked for a corporate in Warwickshire. Now this one was a bit bizarre and I suddenly found myself being chauffeured from a country mansion into a room containing 40 of the most powerful and influential men (sadly they were all men) in the global motor industry. I initially had absolutely no idea with whom I was dining. When the nice chap on my right told me he worked for Tata I said ‘that’s a coincidence I live in Scunthorpe’. That’s where our similarities ended he lived in India and when he said he worked for Tata he was the chap that oversaw quality control and finance for all Tata vehicles…which totalled quite a lot. Perhaps I’d have more luck with the chap on my left, he seemed very pleasant and on discovering I was a cop wanted to discuss ‘speed cameras’ which he ‘wasn’t keen on’. I glanced at his name badge which read ‘Richard Noble’. The name sort of rang a bell but I couldn’t place it until it very slowly dawned on me: It was the Richard Noble who’d held the land speed record for 15 years. Probably explains why he wasn’t keen on speed cameras!

Richard was good company and it turns out I wasn’t the first cop to be fooled by his modesty. He told me that a couple of years previously he’d been on a Speed Awareness Course and when some cocky traffic officer started to ask the class what was the fastest they’d ever driven they all started to shout up numbers whilst he sat there quietly. Then the traffic cop pointed to him and said ‘come on don’t be shy what’s the fastest you’ve driven when you’ve got carried away?’ To which Noble calmly responded “642.971 miles per hour”. My tales of policing the streets of Scunthorpe can’t compete with stories like that and I only drive a Peugeot 207 1.6 diesel but I did manage to eat my dessert quicker than him which I think still proves I have a competitive streak.

I got the feeling that this could be a tough crowd to impress but I strode up to the lectern in a confident manner and went for a topical opening remark. I said “I know I’m contracted to be paid in UK sterling for tonight but can I change my mind and ask for US dollars after recent events?” There was a few seconds silence. Nothing from the bloke who designed driverless cars in California’s Silicon Valley, just a smile from the head of Ferrari (perhaps the EU vote had upset him), but then the CEO of Aston Martin started to laugh and broke the ice. Unsurprising really seeing as the pound had lost 11% of its value and he quite liked to export super cars to the States with an 11% discount – I’d have been laughing too.

None of us were laughing for long when word landed that England had lost 2-1 to Iceland after a humiliatingly bad performance. I tried to look for the positive. Bearing in mind that the Yanks have gone off us lately, the Aussies can’t stand us after the cricket and rugby and now Europe hates us too it was probably a good idea to lose to Iceland as we need all the friends we can get.

Surely the only way this week could get any worse is if the ghost of Margaret Thatcher stood for the Tory leadership?

I said my goodbyes to the worlds motoring elite and disappeared back to the country mansion for another Lemsip and early night (and they say comedy is the new rock ‘n’ roll).

“Tis but a flesh wound”

I was wrong about the week getting worse as the following morning there was talk of an autumn election. Some of the Labour crew didn’t fancy the fight with Corbyn at the helm and speculation of an attempted coup was buzzing in the news. More than buzzing actually as front benchers were resigning in droves. By the end of the day I was beginning to understand why they called it a ‘shadow cabinet’ as there were only shadows left. MPs were changing so fast that anyone applying could only be offered a zero hours contract!

As I write this an official vote of no confidence has now been passed against the party leader but still he refuses to budge. I’m a massive fan of Jez Corbyn, he’s a proper oldskool warrior. He’s like ‘The Black Night’ in Python’s ‘Holy Grail’, in the woods with no arms and legs shouting “come back you coward tis but a flesh wound”. I don’t blame him, as a copper I know all about resilience and I think he’s right to tough it out. After all he’s only lost 51 MPs so far, if it was the Police we’d claim its improved efficiency and say “the frontline’s not affected”.

I suspect that it will take the nation a good while to work through the stages of grief and arrive at stage 7: Acceptance but I do hope that I’m wrong and we bounce back quickly. Anyway I can’t worry about it and I’m off to bed with a Lemsip. Hopefully I’ll wake up in the morning only to discover that this barmy week has just been a really bad dream.

Bermuda Triangle makes PCCs disappear…

This feature originally appeared in Policing Insight and is now published here for wider enjoyment……….

AlfieMoore_photoby_IdilSukan_shoutyIt was 2012 when Theresa May first began to impose the Police Commissioner American dream on the unwitting British Public. I can see why she did it: Who doesn’t look at the US policing model of donut munching and race riots and think “wow we need a bit of that action over here”? Unfortunately it was a bit of a cobbled together rush-job that just confused people with 90% of the public voting with their apathy. Although to be fair with the lack of easily digestible information available at the time we weren’t actually sure if PCC stood for Police and Crime Commissioner or Portaloo Contract Cleaner.

Now in 2016 numbers approaching a heady 25% made the effort to vote this time around, albeit with the help of a local election ‘piggyback’. That’s a bit like when I can’t be bothered to go to the supermarket because I’ve run out of chewing gum but when I happen to be there for meaningful provisions I’ll always grab a packet of Wrigley’s at the till.

I still don’t think that the public are very clear on the role, and indeed the potential value, of Police and Crime Commissioners.

Pointy stick

As a cynical cop, for me there’s an even bigger mystery than “do we want PCCs?” and that is “why would anybody actually want to be one?” My local Chief Constable earns circa £142,000 whereas her PCC is looking at £74,000. In what other walks of life does someone on half your salary take full responsibility for your performance and also have the power to sack you – unless your name is Ronaldo?

This unloved underpaid role is not exactly a secure job either. Especially when you consider that this mysterious area of Policedom has swallowed up more unfortunate souls than the Bermuda Triangle – with less than half being re-elected after their four year stint.

And let me take the Bermuda Triangle analogy a step further: As I see it a PCC has three main groups to keep sweet – the public, the police and the Home Secretary. If they focus on one point of the PCC triangle then they automatically turn their back on the other two, who will be prodding them in the back with a pointy stick demanding their attention.

One thing that is absolutely certain is that the pointy stick prodding will intensify. The first batch of fledgling PCCs were given time to find their little baby feet. Let’s face it they’ve not exactly been under the spotlight unless they chose to be à la Ann Barnes (I still cringe, do you?).

Yes they’ve popped up with the odd innovative (that’s PCC speak for recycled) idea and put the odd Chief on ‘gardening leave’, but they’ve generally been allowed to kiss a few babies, keep their heads down and live a pretty charmed life. That’s mainly because recorded crime has continued to drop in spite of the thick end of 25% budget cuts. I’m sure that Theresa, the Tories, the Chiefs, the HMIC, the PCCs and the local witch doctor have all taken credit for crime numbers dropping but when they start to rise, and we all know it’s coming, do you honestly think for one minute that any of the aforementioned will rush to take one for the team? Ha ha! Don’t make me laugh……..

When the numbers go bad rest assured that same witch doctor will be commissioned to carve a wax effigy of their local PCC who, in the absence of a stab vest, will end up with so many pointy stick holes in their backs they’ll look like a ‘Pin Cushion Character’ (Maybe that’s what PCC stands for?)

Humber grumbler

Some are already toughening up and sharpening their own sticks: Humberside PCC candidate Keith Hunter didn’t go for the softly softly nice guy approach adopted by many of the first batch of PCC candidates. Quite the opposite. He was quoted in the Hull Daily Mail as referring to Humberside Chief Constable, Justine Curran, as “almost invisible”.  To be fair, Mr Hunter was raised on the streets of Newcastle and anyone who’s watched Geordie Shore will know that those folks like to call a spade a weapon and are fans of being quite direct.

He also hinted that she was on 6 months’ probation to turn around performance – which is a bit harsh seeing as I’ve nicked dwelling burglars in Humberside who didn’t get that much.

Yes, I have to declare an interest in this one: Humberside is my force and former Chief Superintendent Keith Hunter is my old boss. I also have to consider that if I decide to return to policing as a senior office via the Direct Entry Scheme I want my application viewed favourably by Team Hunter-Curran. I am joking of course – I’ve got far too much practical policing experience to ever be considered for the Direct Entry Scheme.

Now I’m no expert on diplomacy but surely that quote will create a bit of tension now that Mr Hunter has been successfully elected as Humberside PCC? Picture their first meeting: Chief Curran sat at her desk wearing her hi-vis vest and asking, “can you see me now Keith?” PCC Hunter responding with an attempted repair job, “listen I know I said you were ‘almost invisible’ but I said it in a very smiley voice pet.”

G-Man  

Others seemed to get quite upset with Mr Hunter including no less than Tory big-hitter Chris Grayling, who even went as far as to suggest that Mr Hunter “may be unfit for public office”. That was nearly a lovely bit of gossip before people realised that the sentence didn’t actually mean anything. It’s that ‘may be’ tag at the front that completely nullifies all that follows. It’s like me saying Eric Pickles may be a part-time amateur erotic pole dancer or Jeremy Clarkson may be a vegan – might be, might not.

Mr Grayling was accused of ‘mudslinging’ and to be fair the ‘G-Man’ does like to voice his opinion – rightly or wrongly. You may remember him backing up those Christian folk for discriminating against that gay couple by turning them away from their bed and breakfast? In fact David Cameron was so impressed with Grayling’s total inability to grasp basic discrimination law that he made him Justice Secretary.

Sister Theresa

But say what you like about Christopher Grayling he does know his policing as he was Shadow Home Secretary….right up until the Tories actually got elected – oops! That must have felt like religiously polishing your Dad’s car every Sunday until the day finally arrives that you pass your test and arrive home to be greeted open-armed by your proud father who, with a tear in his eye, produces the car keys and throws them to your sister….and she can’t even drive!  The metaphorical sister in this case being Theresa May, of course.

Dog dancing

Looking down the list of results I have to say that I’m particularly disappointed by the lack of independent PCCs voted in. Only 3 out of 40. This is one aspect of the role that I really don’t get. When policing is trying desperately to depoliticise itself why do we have any PCCs affiliated to a political party – surely they should all be independent shouldn’t they?

Sadly one Independent – Ann Barnes – didn’t stand for Kent re-election and was succeeded by the Conservative candidate Mathew Scott. Mathew had a very busy start as his first job was to get the carpet cleaners in for the dog hair and then the FAB1 van needed a respray ready for the next Channel 4 documentary.

After her ‘Meet the Police and Crime Commissioner’ documentary faux pas Ann Barnes is an easy target. But poking fun at her always feels a bit like picking on that kid at school with the snotty nose and plastic sandals and so I don’t do it. In fact as a fellow performer I recognise her talent and I’m actually a big fan of hers. I happen to know that she didn’t stand for re-election as she was busy rehearsing a dog dancing routine for Britain’s Got Talent. Still with her luck she’ll have a brilliant audition but just be edited to look very bad.

In 2012 the voting public were asked to embrace PCCs and they said “no thanks” but they didn’t go away. In 2016 they were asked again and the public said “still not convinced”. Well neither am I but they’re still not going away and so perhaps it’s time to consider them a resource to be utilised. So I for one am going to say to our new Police and Crime Commissioners “congratulations and welcome”….oh and “watch your back!”

Open letter responding to Peter Hitchens’ accusation in The Mail about ‘Scaredy Cops’

Image by ClearLens

Image by ClearLens Photography

I was recently incensed when I read Peter Hitchens’ article in the Mail and wrote a letter to them expressing my strong counter viewpoint.  They printed an extract in The Mail on Sunday but below are my full thoughts.

Dear Peter Hitchens

As a comedian a lot of my time is spent taking the proverbial out of the police and as a veteran cop, I reckon I’m well qualified to investigate the laughter leads and am the first to acknowledge genuine ‘cock-ups’. There’s been an abundance of material to go at lately as cops try to balance on the wobbly thin blue tightrope between ever increasing public demand and the devastating effects of 25% budget cuts. Oh yes! The belly laughs have been coming thick and fast.

However when a headline like yours reads: ‘What’s the point of the police if they’re scared of the dark?’ that’s when I stop laughing.

The point of the police, Mr Hitchens, is to allow idiots like you to rest safely tucked up in your bed at night whilst dreaming up tomorrow’s daft Daily Mail headline.

You think it’s a good idea for cops to go marching through woodland into a disused quarry in the middle of the night to tackle 400 drunken ravers because they’re making a noise? Really?! You mentioned the ‘National Police Air Service’ budget – I’m surprised you didn’t suggest helicopters be fitted with ‘anti-rave water cannon’ as a proportionate response.

The reason the police held back is that they carried out what’s known in the trade as a risk assessment. All professions have them – even journalists. Although theirs historically have been: Should I loosen up my fingers? Is my swivel chair set at the correct height? Have I remembered to switch on my phone tap?

Let’s break that risk assessment down a little:
• What do we know? 200-400 young adults having a rave, some using alcohol.
• What risk do they pose? Low risk to themselves and others but they’re noisy.
• Do the police have a legal power to intervene? Yes.
• What are the intervention options? Basically go in quickly or wait.
• What are the likely consequences of going in quickly?

Well let’s say Avon and Somerset manage to round-up 20 officers from around the county (and that’s optimistic) and decided to go in. Setting aside the obvious risk of a difficult terrain at night there are likely three responses from the ravers:

The Mail on Sunday Letters - 29th May 2016

The Mail on Sunday Letters – 29th May 2016

1. They resist: 20 coppers versus 400 angry ravers – oh dear that’s not good!
2. The ravers starburst and run through dark woodland and into the town of Frome – oh dear that’s not good either is it?
3. They comply. Now you’ve got 400 young adults in the early hours of the morning for whom you have a duty of care. What do you reckon Mr Hitchens: Individually give them a lift home? Put    them up in a local B+B? Drop them at Frome bus stop at 1 a.m. and tell them to wait quietly for the next bus?

Any decent cop worth their salt knows that the consequences of marching into that rave were far more difficult to manage and far more dangerous than allowing the rave to continue where the risk was relatively contained.

Those cops at that Frome quarry found themselves quite literally between a rock and a hard place, because if they had’ve rushed in dozens of ‘frothing at the mouth’ journalists, would have been reaching for their laptops poised to write tomorrow’s ‘Bungling Bobbies….’ headline (once they’d loosened up their fingers and adjusted their swivel chairs of course).

A summary of my Hillsborough thoughts…

AlfieMoore_photoby_IdilSukan_shoutyBy the very nature of the business mistakes in policing are absolutely guaranteed. However the first rule that every wise old cop knows is: Never try to cover up your mistake and never ever EVER try to cover your mistake using a lie.

What is becoming clear is that is exactly what has happened with Hillsborough and it will continue to be a damaging scandal for many years to come.

My initial reaction is that it would be disrespectful for me to defend the Organisation considering that the families of the 96 finally had a positive result in the Coroner’s Court after 27 years trying. This should be their moment of victory – a brief respite to take comfort that there has at last been an official acknowledgement of unlawful activity before continuing their battle for justice.

I’m not going to defend the Organisation but I am going to defend the ordinary, honest, every day, working class cops and paramedics who went to work 27 years ago to help people and ended up in the middle of a tragedy that will haunt them for ever.

People starting accusations with, “all coppers are….” or “all coppers connected with Hillsborough are…” is the same type of shameful bigotry we see directed at minority groups all the time and it’s disrespectful, damaging and offensive to the thousands of good honest people that put themselves in the line of danger to keep us safe in our beds at night.

Let me be clear I’m not defending the Organisation’s lack of integrity in respect of Hillsborough. I am, in fact, absolutely blaming the Organisation – although I’m certainly not singling out South Yorkshire Police. I am blaming the UK Police Organisation of 1989 for promoting an internal culture of fear, bullying and intimidation that punished mistakes rather than one that promoted a culture which supported and rewarded openness and honesty.

‘Bad culture’ is like a festering sore that becomes infected and spreads through an organisation like a contagious disease. However, the source of the infection doesn’t spread from the bottom upwards – rather it spreads and contaminates from the top downwards.

Sadly it’s becoming apparent that ‘bad culture’ still lingers on in some parts of policing and so people like me can’t just blame the ‘bad old days’. I really hope that we look beyond the all-purpose “lessons have been learnt” and other blah blah generic rhetoric. This thing really needs forensically unpicking with an openness and honesty that has been sadly lacking for 27 years.

One thing I’m convinced of is that cultural problems within the Police are absolutely the responsibility of the people at the top of the Organisation and the politicians above them.

I still passionately believe that we have the finest Criminal Justice System in the world and now, more than ever, we need to demonstrate that and restore Public confidence in the Police Service. Great leadership, demonstrating absolute integrity will be a good start.

Moto Musings….

CostaHeading back up North after a gig in the lovely historic city of Bath, Mrs M and I called in at Tamworth Services for a caffeine and comfort break.

I did what I always do and nipped into the gents, walked to the furthest urinal, commenced a peepee as quickly as I could before somebody stood too close, which would mean I could only get started by taking my mind off actually starting….”two times 86½’s are 173….3 times 86½’s are…..” (do all blokes do that or is it just me?). Of course when I do get going I look up and realise there’s an mini advertising board in my eye-line….they put these over every individual urinal these days and I can only assume the marketing is never directed at middle-aged blokes who need reading glasses? I’m guessing, it may be, but I wouldn’t know as I’ve never managed to read one…

I zipped up, and marched to the sink. My heart sank: There was a sign above the hot tap that read: ‘CAUTION HOT WATER. Is this what the human race has come to? Is this where we now are in the cosmic pecking order? That we need to be reminded that hot water flows from the hot tap?

I’ll be honest, sometimes I could just pour myself a glass of full bodied red and weep.

Anyway, the next big decision – join the queue at Costa or walk straight up to the Eat and Drink Company (EDC) counter and get served with the same stuff straight away?….No brainer – stand in the Costa queue! I’ve had 20 years of being a cop I know how to form suspicion, there’s got to be a reason for their ‘no queue with cheaper prices’ scenario. I’m not falling for that old chestnut, do you think I’m daft? Do you think I was born yesterday Mr EDC?

So my wife kindly appreciated that I’d tired myself out a little providing a very polished, but somewhat continuous, police pursuit-style commentary on how everybody else’s driving fell well below the required standard (especially the baldy bloke doing 49 miles per hour in the offside lane of the restricted 50mph section of the M5 and not pulling over when I was behind him), and she insisted on waiting in the Costa queue whilst I recuperated.

I found a nice seat and now, time to relax…but then I saw him. The Costa employee. The one in the chocolate brown shirt with large letters across the back announcing ‘Barista’, and directly under this in symmetrical equispaced letters the word ‘Maestro’. This was no ordinary barista….this was the ‘Barista Maestro’!

I decided to Google the definition of the word ‘maestro’ on my phone. There was a slight delay as there was no signal for the good customers of Tamworth Services. Not without first joining the ‘Moto’ free internet service club. Once, that is, you’d provided various personal information they’d got no right to ask. Do you think they deliberately block perfectly serviceable common network Wi-Fi signals in order to force you into signing up and divulging your email address? (Take that for a conspiracy theory…I know how to form suspicion!)

Anyhow, the wait was not an issue as the service was so slow my Mrs had only moved up two places in the Costa queue before I’d become a member of the Moto Wi-Fi club. It’s difficult to describe how that feels: You know like the Marines are always marines, they’re family, brothers-in-arms who would die for each other and never leave another marine behind? Well it was nothing like that I just wanted a fucking signal to Google ‘maestro’!

Finally Google appeared and my dubiety was confirmed as unfounded. A ‘maestro’ is defined as a master, a teacher, eminent leader, doyen, authority, and yes…..virtuoso!

Fair enough then if you can’t trust the integrity of Google, who can you trust?

My trained eyes surveyed the Barista Maestro. Not to critique. I wasn’t looking for faults. Good cops have open minds. He was aged about 20 years, tall, slim, with hair to spare. He looked too young to be a Barista Maestro.

We’ve started a very controversial direct entry scheme into the police where civilians can now join as an Inspector, and in some cases, even Superintendent rank, but no one is drafted straight in at ‘Maestro’ level.

In the police we’re trained to scan people top down, which finished on a disappointing note as I have to apprise that the Maestro had unpolished shoes. Not just unpolished but dirty. Not just unpolished and dirty but significantly scuffed. But who am I to judge? This was the Barista Maestro. Perhaps he was making a statement, maybe an ironic, surreal, socio-political statement about austerity and poverty. Perhaps a strong ‘what you see is what you get’ message of ‘earthy honesty’, not like them ‘loners’ at Eat and Drink Company – they may have squeaky clean shoes but if there is no one around to hear them then did they ever squeak at all? (Probably works better with trees that one).

It required no more philosophical ponderings. Any further contemplation was futile, this was the Maestro and the Maestro had his reasons, which was reason enough.

My wife joined me with a welcome medium soya latte, a medium hot chocolate and a slice of lemon drizzle cake.

“£9.20p”, she tutted!

I tried to guesstimate the cost of each item but quickly gave up as it wasn’t divisible by 86½. Anyway if I’m totally honest I’ve always been childish and I was distracted by the thought that ‘lemon drizzle’ sounds like an embarrassing symptom a middle-aged person displays from experiencing a risqué sex life whilst desperately grasping onto the last throes of Funtown before the love boat has sailed forever.

My wife quickly scanned the room from our dirty Costa cup-covered-table vantage point and made me aware of the rather obese, ginger-haired bloke, sat on the other side of the aisle. He looked very much like the American stand-up genius, Louis CK. Unfortunately this Louis CK version had found cholesterol before comedy, although it looked like he was still going for his chosen passion with 100% enthusiasm to be the best (or in this case the biggest) that he could be.

My wife informed me that the fat CK had just eaten his own generous portion of sandwiches and sausage roll, then finished off his wife’s, and now was checking the children’s left-overs for any discarded calories. I looked over. I did not judge him, after all I myself was born with the ‘greedy’ gene and know how to trough. Although I will say this, and believe me when I say it in a non-judgemental way, that this is the saddest thing I’ve ever written. I glanced over at his two small children, and the look in their eyes as they stared at their father, was not one of adoration and awe but rather of a despondent, “you’ll never see me grow up”. Kids are smarter than you think aren’t they?

It was then that my wife spotted him….the Maestro.

“See him over there?”

“Who?” I enquired.

Then she did that swivelly-eyed, noddy-head thing she does when she thinks she’s being subtle.

“Him with the scuffed shoes”, she explained, “Look how slowly he’s moving”.

I looked and saw the Barista Maestro had a two tiered trolley tray on wheels, onto which he gathered up dirty cups and plates. I have lived a full life but I’ve never seen anyone clear up dirty pots so slowly. He was stopping the trolley 5 feet short of the target table. Slowly walking over and picking up one plate, cup or napkin before walking 5 feet back to the trolley, loading up the solitary item, and then repeating the process.

I was shocked, the Maestro was moving in ultra-slow motion, almost defying the laws of gravity. Slower than an extra on a zombie B movie that was sacked for over-acting. Slower than the Chief Officer put in charge of tracking down the missing Westminster paedophile dossier, handed to Leon Britton in 1984 for safe keeping. Slower than the dead-behind-the-eyes-gum-chewing barista (non-Maestro) assistant working the till completely unflapped by the Costa Conga queue now snaking around Moto town and nearly into the car park.

I was starting to doubt the Barista Maestro. Surely virtuosos don’t move like they haven’t got a rush in them? I began a bout of synchronised tutting with my wife. Perhaps we’re getting old and grumpy, perhaps we’ve reached that age. Perhaps we’re Institutionalised Persistent Complainers….or perhaps some of the baristas of Tamworth Moto Services, up to and including Maestro level, are switched-off, sloth-like, uniform carriers who are the very reason for the ‘CAUTION HOT WATER’ warning above the hot taps.

Anyway, what I think I’ve been trying to say is if you go to Tamworth Services and there’s a queue at Costa then you might want to give the Eat and Drink Company a try.

Don’t be a thief Keith

Comic and police officer Alfie Moore has a word…

(Article originally appeared in the Correspondents section of Chortle: The UK Comedy Guide)

I’ve been having a great time bringing my show to the Perth FRINGEWORLD Festival where the lovely friendly Australian audiences are nearly as warm as the weather (which was 40 °C the week I arrived!)

On Saturday friends took me to see Aussie rock legend James Reyne in Freemantle. He played all his own songs – no covers. Then halfway through he stopped singing for brief bit of audience banter: a joke about a funeral wreath in the shape of a lifebuoy which I instantly recognised as a gag written Gary Delaney, a top quality professional UK comedian who writes deliciously clever one-liners. It was a bit odd travelling 9,127 miles across the globe to hear a rock legend telling one of my friend’s gags.

Now that’s OK isn’t it? James reciting someone else’s work? Well I guess so and I’m sure that every Saturday night bars across Oz have amateur bands belting out cover versions of James Reynes’ songs that he used many creative juices penning – without coughing up a single Australian dollar in royalties.

However, what happens when it’s professional comedians stealing jokes written by other professional comedians? Surely then there’s a case to answer?

By coincidence that very issue has been raised this week by the actions of comedy veteran Keith Chegwin – again. Cheggers has been causing a social media buzz, not because he’s about to launch a new TV show or stand-up tour – but over his continued stealing of comics’ jokes

Now, comedians these days write their own jokes – which are technically classed as ‘intellectual property’ (though to date I can’t think of a lawsuit whereby someone has collected back royalties from a stolen joke). It would be very messy trying to prove the originator and indeed proving just how creatively original that ‘original’ joke is.

Obviously there are no joke police (although I’m ideally qualified to take on that role) but joke thievery by fellow comedians is frowned upon. After all, a comedians’ jokes are their currency with which they pay their bills. Once they are stolen, it can affect their ability to earn an income.

That might sound far-fetched but if Peter Kay stole one of my jokes, and put it on his Christmas DVD, every time I subsequently tried to tell that joke on stage half the audience would finish the joke for me and the other half would shout ‘that’s Peter Kay’s joke!’ That means I could never tell my own joke again, preventing me earning an honest crust – effectively stealing the garlic bread from my mouth.

Anyhow, back to Keith ‘The Thief’ Chegwin. He seems to have taken joke stealing to a new level, and has surely overstepped the mark, by producing an app via which he will sell you his jokes. ‘His’ in this case meaning old gags that belong on Antiques Roadshow and some newer ones stolen from professional comedians’ current Twitter feeds. [Although the 99p app went free after an outcry].

When comedians started to complain he simply blocked them and carried on regardless – causing such a stir he picked up hundreds of new followers and got #JokeThief trending. So it’s looking like 1-0 to Tealeaf Chegwin but it might yet get interesting…

I mean if Cheggers is allowed to get away with it, and there’s no copyright protection for original creative comedy writing, then what’s stopping me cutting and pasting Iain Duncan Smith’s Welfare Reform Act and selling it to Kim Jong-Un?

Steve Bennett Keith ChegwinAnyway back to my own exciting career news and I’m very pleased to report the launch of my brand new character act who will be called ‘Kieth Chegwin’.

This pic is what I look like when I’m made up as ‘Kieth’.

‘Kieth’ will be available for cabaret nights but I’m particularly interested in securing him well paid corporate gigs. All enquiries please to

Anyway back to my own exciting career news and I’m very pleased to report the launch of my brand new character act who will be called ‘Kieth Chegwin’.

This pic is what I look like when I’m made up as ‘Kieth’.

‘Kieth’ will be available for cabaret nights but I’m particularly interested in securing him well paid corporate gigs. All enquiries please to imtherealkieth@chegwin.com

James Reyne was great by the way, although I have to admit that I was secretly pleased that when he told the brilliant Delaney gag it died on its arse for him.

Not as easy as it looks this comedy lark is it?

PS. In case you were wondering – the picture is actually of Keith Chegwin by Paul Williams – and he puts his shot online under a Creative Commons Licences, meaning he’s given permission for it to be shared with attribution.

That’s how you credit the ‘originator’, Cheggers.

James Reyne was great by the way, although I have to admit that I was secretly pleased that when he told the brilliant Delaney gag it died on its arse for him.

Not as easy as it looks this comedy lark is it?

PS. In case you were wondering – the picture is actually of Keith Chegwin by Paul Williams – and he puts his shots online under a Creative Commons Licences, meaning he’s given permission for it to be shared with attribution.

That’s how you credit the ‘originator’, Cheggers.

 

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

Christmas headshot(With apologies to Clement Clarke Moore – no relation)

 

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house.

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

The world was a-sleeping in our Christmas story

When the silence was shattered by loud Snorey Moorey ……….
All Mrs Moore wants for Christmas is a hefty dose of Silent Night.

As I’ve got older I’ve become a snorer. I took some convincing as I’ve never actually heard myself….well up until the point my wife recorded me on her iPhone as irrefutable evidence that I sounded like a log sawing machine on full tilt.

I took advantage of our wonderful National Health Service and went to see my doctor who passed me onto the ENT Department at the local hospital. In spite of their impending bankruptcy they were concerned enough to lend me a monitor to see if I had sleep apnoea.

Before my wife had time to top up my life insurance the machine informed that my blood oxygen remained constant and I didn’t actually stop breathing during the night.

However after some nasal prodding the consultant announced my nasal septum was deviated. “Have you ever had my nose dislocated?” he asked. I confirmed I had, several years previously, by a gang of little cherubs, none too keen on the cops, who decided to beat my nose sideways. In fact it was less of a dislocation and more of a relocation, leaving me with a proboscis that could smell around corners.

They also broke my jaw in two places – they always break in two places a bit like a Polo mint apparently. They wanted to wire the jaw and reset my nose under general anaesthetic but as I was getting married 10 days later I talked the specialist back then into resetting my nose in his office (which I thought in today’s claim culture was very sporting of him). He thought I was the bravest chap in the world for sitting there quietly whilst he snapped my nose back to a very approximate vertical. It was actually the most excruciating pain I’d ever felt in my life but what the consultant didn’t know was that his free hand was firmly holding my broken jaw and so any movement was somewhat out of the question. My fault I should have thought to mention the broken jaw.

Anyway enough nostalgia (or is it nostralgia?) – I’ll tell you the full story of that ambush (which I affectionately named ‘The Battle of Chav Creek’), another day.

Back to Snorey Moorey and my ENT consultant decided that the blockage might be causing the snoring and wanted to book me in for some sort of septum re-bore. He explained the main risk was that it’s possible to slip with the pointy sharp thing and bore a hole through the septum wall (a very different kind of septum piercing). This wouldn’t be seriously detrimental to my health but would mean that I would make a whistling sound every time I breathed through my nose. I struggled to contain my excitement at this prospect which threw him a bit. I’m an entertainer I explained that may open doors for me – I don’t think there’s ever been a whistling nose on Britain’s Got Talent. Just think of the tunes you could knock out, ‘Anasing Grace’, ‘It might as well rain until Septumber’.

Anyway the operation was a success – well if you can call walking about with ladies products up your nostrils for a few days a success. After several weeks of things about which we can never speak exiting from my nose I could breathe through both nostrils for the first time in years. Hurrah! ….. but I still snored like an asthmatic wild boar running up a steep gradient whilst gargling.

There are different reasons for people snore – nose, tongue and throat can all be players but the most common cause are wobbly soft tissue bits in the throat that relax during sleep and partially block the airflow. Women naturally have wider windpipes (no I am certainly not going to make a ‘more room for voice box’ gag) and so men are more susceptible but all windpipes get narrower with age and as muscle tone decreases then your glottis gets floppier than Mr Soft at the tai chi class having a spliff.

Cures vary – anything from simple lifestyle changes to invasive surgery attacking the floppy bits with scalpels or even mini blow-torches.

I say simple lifestyle choices – they’re the terrifying ones like don’t drink alcohol at night or lose weight. Lose weight is the obvious one to commit to – except of course, you don’t really mean it and as the years pass slimming into your larynx hangs in the wardrobe next to that shirt that you refuse to throw away because one day…..

And as for not drinking: Listen I’m settled, happily married in my own home that I’ve worked hard for and if you told me that the terrible emotional and financial trauma of a divorce would leave me a sad, broken man, living in the isolated squalor of a one bedroomed, mouldy, council flat in Scunthorpe….but at least I’d be able to sit there in the evening and have a glass of red and a couple of squares of Cadbury Milk then I’d have to give it some serious consideration.

So various throat sprays and herbal cures are on the market which will help you ‘sleep like a baby’ – what wake up every 4 hours crying your arse off?

What about the ‘Stop snore ring’?’ Where do you put it?’ I hear you ask. No not around your neck but on your little finger – it works on the principle of acupressure; the wearing of the ring on the little finger applies a slight pressure to a specific meridian line it’s made of copper and has two magnets. It’s only £6.20 plus £2.99 p+p although heavy snorers may need one for each finger apparently!

Anybody sceptical yet? So was I and that one remains untried. I’m a believer in acupressure principles but a little finger ring tightening up soft tissue in the throat was a stretch too far for me.

I also discarded the ‘anti-snore pillow, nose-clips, and the ‘amazing’ snooze nostril expander.

Surely the simple way to tackle this would be to present my beloved with a pair of good quality earplugs, in a vintage Faberge gift box perhaps, for Christmas and problem solved? Nope I’m afraid not – it’s as much of a vibration thing as a sound thing and can feel as though you’re laying on a mattress that’s perched on a washing machine going through the fast spin cycle.

I did have a little success with the anti-snoring mouthpiece. These are based on the principle that it’s difficult to snore if you have a protruding bottom jaw like an angry piranha fish. No really – try it now. Breathe in through your nose and try and make a piggy snorty sound. Now stick your bottom jaw out and try and do the same thing – much harder isn’t it?

So you soften the soft plastic mouth-piece (resembling a gum shield) in boiling water, then mould it on your bottom set of teeth whilst protruding your bottom jaw out as far as you can. You’ll find this easier if you simultaneously say “Alright my loves?” in a Bruce Forsyth voice. Surely this one’s a winner? Not quite I found I was waking up to discover the mouth-piece spat out onto my cheek like a discarded half-chewed Haribo snake.

Then you up the anti-snore ante with double mouthpiece. Harder to spit out but doable or you will go through the pain barrier to force your lower jaw backwards against the mouthpiece back into snoring position – such is your subconscious determination to annoy your wife. Or at least that’s how she’ll frame it.

After these failed attempts you are now ready to humiliate yourself with the anti-snoring face harness or chin-strap. Yes this is absolutely as bad as it sounds and although a stretchy lycra material it does seem to have been modelled on Hannibal Lecter’s mask. Again not very effective but a really morale booster to cheer the wife up. I’ll never forget my dearly beloved motivating me with the words “I hope you sleep well, oh and don’t forget to put on your face-bra.”

If you put your elasticated face-bra over your double gum shield it does stop you spitting it out but unfortunately also makes breathing at regular intervals quite difficult.

My favourite device of all was the ‘anti-snoring wrist band’. Sounds harmless enough doesn’t it? Ha ha wrong! What this bit of kit does is measure the decibels of your snoring and when it reaches a certain level wakes you up by delivering an electric shock to your wrist! The funny bit was when I first tried it I thought it wasn’t working so I just kept turning it up until it delivered an electric shock which made me laugh out loud ….however on hearing my laughter it gave me a stronger electric shock which made me yell a bit….however on hearing my yell it thought it was dealing with a particularly rebellious snorer and automatically cranked up the voltage and before long I found myself trapped in this perpetual torturous cycle of punishment which only stopped when I was able to develop a silent scream.

The device was made in China – further evidence of their culture of cruelty and blatant disregard for human rights.

Electronic collars were deemed too cruel as a training device for police dogs but fine for unconscious people with a medical condition it seems.

Anyway I was a police officer if I wanted to be punished with an electric shock I would have brought the taser gun home with me for my wife to dry-stun me on the arse when I my snoring got too loud.

I remember that harrowing scene in The Green Mile where the prisoner in the electric chair didn’t die quickly. From now on I’ll always be wondering if he was just a really bad snorer.

Besides this device won’t stop you snoring – it’ll just stop you sleeping. The principle that your body will learn to adapt is flawed. That’s like saying if every time you closed your eyes someone sticks a pin in your foot then you’ll eventually learn to sleep with your eyes open. No you won’t you’ll just stay awake until you go insane! It’s like saying if someone keeps holding your head under water eventually you’ll learn to breathe like a fish….no you won’t you’ll just die!

So that’s it for 2015. Have a peaceful and happy festive period and see you again in 2016.