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

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.

Who ate all the pies?!

Fat man holding a measurement tapeThe Sunday People were proud to announce that their intrepid reporters have made full use of the Freedom of Information Act to finally solve the mystery of overweight cops – they’re eating too many pies.

There have been concerns raised, by some, that the Freedom of Information Act can run the risk of jeopardising national security but on this occasion I think that its use is entirely justified.

The headline read ‘Police canteens fuelling blobby bobby crisis’. To be fair I think they were pretty restrained, I’d have run with ‘Blimey Barmy Blobby Bobby Bonkers Mrs’.

‘Revelations’ unearthed by the Sunday People team included the fact that one police canteen offered ‘5 different types of pies!’ I’ll repeat that -‘5 different types of pies’! (This is way above the national average of pie options which is 3.142)

Whistle blowers

At the moment there are no calls for a full public enquiry but as the 5 pie offending force is my own, Humberside, and pies are a subject very close to my heart (literally) I feel I ought to respond. I can only hope that I’m offered more protection than other police whistle-blowers who have chosen to speak out.

I am…a cuddly copper, big-boned, a chubster – whatever you want to call me, and I hold the Humberside Police completely responsible. With their multiple pie and potato options (including ‘two types of fries’).

I first realised that I’d got a problem when my stab vest started to ride-up and look a bit like a crop-top, and then I knew that I’d hit rock bottom when I chased an elderly shoplifter around Tesco…and she lapped me!

Humberside Police have already tried to defend their position by saying that their pies are made from ‘low-fat ingredients’. Yeah right! I’m surprised that they didn’t suggest that as the chicken pie had mushroom in it that it qualified as one of the recommended ‘5 a day’.


Typical of our organisation not to accept responsibility for their shameful actions. It reminded me of atom bomb radiation tests being carried out on unwitting soldiers in the 1950’s. I’m outraged. Sometimes I look at my naked reflection in a full length mirror and have to squint to try and make myself look slimmer. When this story broke I was tempted to go straight to the Chief and complain direct, but her office is on the second floor…and the stairs are really steep.

My claims are being backed by the experts, Tam Fry, of the National Obesity Forum, said: “As far as I am concerned, one type of pie is too many, let alone five. Pies are loaded with salt and fat.” I’m just concerned that his scientific evidence might lose a bit of weight as looking at the Sunday People photograph he doesn’t look like the healthiest individual.

He’s backing Sir Bernhard Hogan Howe, who recently raised concerns about “overweight policemen” (although I think he meant police officers). Unfortunately looking at the People’s photograph of Sir Bernard, he looked even less healthy than Mr Fry.


Earlier this month Police Oracle reported that an officer collapsed during a fitness bleep test. I’ve had a similar experience, only in my case it’s because I speeded up excessively when I thought the bleep was the microwave going off.

In respect of my formal compensation claim against Humberside Police, I’ve already refused their first offer of a free meal token. Huh, eat another one of their pies? I’d rather support a job application by Nigel Farage as a Diversity Officer.

Sadly I don’t expect much support from the Theresa May or any of the Government. Indeed, even the Prime Minister has turned on us with his threats to take state benefits away from obese people, knowing full well that they won’t have a protest march!

In the meantime I’ve decided to start a campaign to get public support called ‘Public Love Expanding Bobbies’ or PLEB for short.

The (not so) Magnificent Seven – People Who Peeve the Police

Originally written for the BBC website…..

AlfieMoore_NakedStun_photoby_IdilSukan_DrawHQ_031. Handcuff Heroes

Encountered every Friday night (aka ‘fight night’) in our towns and city centres. Usually drunk and always annoying, when informed that they are under arrest they quietly comply until the handcuffs are placed on them at which point they will repeatedly say to any police officers present, in a very loud voice, “take these handcuffs off and I’ll knock you all out.” Handcuff heroes will keep repeating this claim all the way until you reach the backyard of the police station, at which time an officer will remove the handcuffs and they will instantly become compliant and non-threatening again.

2. Mollycoddling Mums

Have an unbearable teenage boy, often called Kyle. If they open the door to young Kyle standing with a police officer, their first line is either, “It wasn’t my Kyle, the others are all liars!” or, “He’s been home all night with me, officer.”

3. Persistent Complainers

They ring in at least twice weekly (three times if they can’t get through to the council to complain about the bins). They will tend to report low level harassment which will either involve an ex bezzie friend called Tracey who’s been calling them names on social media, youths causing annoyance (“two teenagers have just walked past my house and one is wearing a hoodie”), or neighbour problems (“my next door neighbour keeps deliberately making my dog bark… by staring at it”).

4. Megalomaniac Motorists

These like to drive very badly, very quickly. They think that they’re excellent drivers and believe themselves to be genuine victims. They will always tell you that they themselves were overtaken several times and also ask, “Why aren’t you catching real criminals?” If they are politicians or professional footballers they will often enquire, “Do you know who I am?” The correct response is always “no”, although I have sometimes responded, “Are you the mysterious Stig from Top Gear, out test driving the reasonably priced car?”

5. Embarrassing Bobbies

Just like the similarly named TV show these unbearably cringey creatures are colleagues who can invariably be found talking down to innocent members of the public in a condescending manner, or telling fellow cops how good the job used to be in the old days. Embarrassing bobbies tend to have a black eye about 50% of the time due to their poor communication skills. This makes them dangerous to work with as well as boring. If you’re told that you’re ‘double-crewed’ with an embarrassing bobby for a full night week this is devastating news – you may even consider tasering yourself to take the easy way out!

6. Retail Rambos

Easy to spot security guards working at a supermarket near you. They will have big black boots, a blazer that’s slightly too big for them and a non-issue utility belt containing a Swiss army knife with 146 functions. They specialise in following the young and the elderly around shops whilst pretending to be talking into a walkie-talkie. Retail Rambo’s are frustrated souls because they really wanted to be cops but failed the selection process – they say, because they’re colour-blind, in reality they turned up for the interview wearing a camouflage headband and were unable to correctly name the capital of France.

7. It Wasn’t Me!

These are regular low-level criminal ‘customers’ who are genetically predisposed to deny everything, regardless of the strength of the evidence against them. If you find their blood sample on broken glass at the scene of a crime they will say they saw the broken window and cut themselves leaning in to see if everyone was alright. They come in all shapes and sizes which can make for even more entertainment – when you show them CCTV of a shoplifting incident and ask, “Can you confirm that 4’10”, purple-haired, one-legged shoplifter is you?” and they reply, “It looks a bit like me, but it’s not me.”




Cops ‘crying wolf’?

Article originally written for the Police Oracle and re-published here for wider enjoyment.

AlfieMoore_NakedStun_photoby_IdilSukan_DrawHQ_03I’ve been asked to recommend a good motivational workplace speaker. Does anyone know how much Theresa May charges?

Any former tutors or supervisors will recognise the format of Theresa May’s Federation Conference speech as the good old fashioned sh*t sandwich. Starting with how brave and hardworking those wonderful cops are and ending with a bit of ‘let’s work together’ to make the world a better place. Lovely stuff.

Okay the sh*tty bit of the sandwich contained some outrageously intelligence insulting statements, each one a little bit less believable than the last:




“The Home Office no longer believes it runs policing”

Saying neighbourhood police officers are an “endangered species” is “scaremongering”

“Our country has never been safer”

“Earnings are up”

“An HMIC that is truly independent..”

“The frontline service has been maintained…” (There was something else about 91% on the frontline but I was laughing so hard by then that I couldn’t focus)

Scary hair

Humility was in very short supply – gloating and smugness was the order of the day. I’ve not seen arrogance on that scale since the lady with the scary hair was in her prime.

I mean you can’t blame her for being confident. Let’s be honest watching the Police Federation take her on for the past five years has been a bit like watching a National Health bespectacled 7 year old kid from the remedial class challenging Garry Kasparof to a game of chess.

I’m not blaming the Federation she is a formidable adversary – smart, driven and ruthless. She’s systematically weakened, discredited and divided her opponent before moving in for the kill. She’s also had solid support behind her. Have the Fed had the same? Nope – we’ve been pretty quick to turn on you and stick the boot in when the going got tough.

Drama queens

One thing that surprised me was her ‘crying wolf’ line. It comes from one of the more renowned of Aesop’s Fables. ‘The boy who cried wolf’ was a shepherd boy who liked to exaggerate. Mrs May decided previous ‘wolf cries’ from drama queen Fed reps was a bit of irresistible ‘spin’ offering her the opportunity to be less than courteous to her hosts by giving them a couple more slaps for good luck. To be fair it was true though wasn’t it?

Personally I think she got a bit carried away there. To me it smacks of one of those lines that come back to bite over-cocky people in the bum. As we’ve constantly been reminded in the last few week’s politics is a very fickle business. I think the ‘cry wolf’ line might one day be up there with Gerald Ratner’s ‘total crap’.

The thing is it’s good to be grateful isn’t it? Like in Aesop’s fable: ‘The travellers and the plane tree’. In this story travellers rest under a plane tree that sheltered them from bad weather but as soon as it was fine they plucked the leaves and cut its branches. Bit short-sighted that, the weather can fluctuate just like crime rates and public disorder.

Here Goosey Goosey

And I know money’s tight but some things are false economy like in Aesop’s fable: ‘The goose that lays golden eggs’. In this story a cottager and his wife had a goose that gave them a golden egg every day. They supposed that the goose must contain a great lump of gold in its inside, and in order to get the gold they killed it. Inside they found the goose was no different to other geese. The moral of the story being that they didn’t realise what they had. I wonder if our Home Secretary does?

And let’s face it, maybe we the police could have displayed a bit more humility ourselves? We’ve been a bit greedy too in the past and took the money and done the Government’s dirty work without asking too many questions. Maybe we should have taken the learning from Aesop’s fable: ‘The ass and the pig’. This is a very sad story about a pig that was fattened on barley and then sacrificed. The left-over grain was given to the ass, who refused it because of the fate that had overtaken the one it had previously fed. I mean on the surface it looks like a totally illogical thought process on the part of the ass but if you replace the word ‘pig’ with ‘National Union of Mineworkers’ and you replace ‘ass’ with ‘Police’ then perhaps we’d have been smarter turning down the barley instead of buying all those extensions and new cars. (I guess the cops back then didn’t suss that they were next)

Come on Rocky

The British Police are debilitated, demotivated and divided. So what’s next – is that it, game over? The way I see it there are three options:-

  • Give in
  • Work with Mrs May
  • Fight back

None look very inviting do they? Let’s have a closer look:-

Give in? Carry on “shouting from the sidelines” while you wait for it to fail. Well at least you can have the somber satisfaction of saying ‘told you so’? But you do know what happened to the little boy who cried wolf in the end? The wolf ate him.

Work with? Jump into bed with Theresa (metaphorically speaking of course). Poor old Fed – wouldn’t that put you between a rock and a hard place? If you do go for this option please remember Aesop’s fable: ‘The mouse and the oyster’. That’s the story of the mouse who comes across an oyster and tries eating it, only for the shell to snap shut, bringing him instantly both death and a tomb. Oops!

Fight back? Back your Federation. Take the learning from the last five years and formulate a plan of attack. You’re weak and wounded but are you beaten? Time for a big finish. Time for me to energise and galvanise the underdog in the face of adversity. Sadly ‘David and Goliath’ wasn’t one of Aesop’s fables, neither did he write any of the Rocky films and I couldn’t find that motivational speaker so looks like it’s over to you Police Federation – what have you got left?

If you want to know what I’d do to resuscitate the ‘thinner than ever’ blue line then come and see my Edinburgh show this August A FAIR COP STANDS UP.

It’s not all about the price tag

Article originally published in Police Oracle and republished here for wider enjoyment.

AlfieMoore_photoby_IdilSukan_DrawHQ_05AlfieMoore_NakedStun_photoby_IdilSukan_DrawHQ_03In a bid to give up slagging off Winsor and May for Lent I’ve cast my eye over some notable police related news stories of the last few weeks and suddenly realised that they nearly all have one thing in common – especially when you apply the filter of modern day philosopher Jessie J and ask the big question: Is it all ‘about the money money money?’

There’re the obvious examples like those discs containing information from three of the UK’s most sensitive inquiries which have gone missing after being put in the post. The post? Critical sensitive data in the post? Anybody else thinking that was probably cheapest way to get it from A to B? We weren’t exactly rolling in dosh in Humberside but we managed to have a part time civvy driver called Ron who was pretty reliable on a mail run. Fortunately the panic was soon over when a copy was found being used as a coaster in Ministry of Justice canteen.

Then we had, ‘Tasers for all front-line officers’ – suggested the Police Federation. Good idea but unless they’re about to be stocked in that magical mystery middle aisle at Aldi between own-brand Irish Cream Liqueur and the wood turning lathe – then we almost certainly can’t afford them. Especially as after being stung (oops) for millions in litigation in the US the manufacturers have now suggested using the suspect’s back as the target area. That seems simple enough then – just wait until people are running away from you before you discharge your taser…

Another no brainer was this BBC website shocker: ‘Complaints against police at record high’. Wonder if it’s anything to do with starting pay down £4,000 and 35,000 less staff? My favourite quote from the article was from the IPCC, “Some of the increase was due to the broadening of the definition of a complaint….” Imagine – Dear Chief Constable, I was a recent victim of crime. I was very happy with the service but now you’ve broadened the definition of a complaint….

If the cap fits

Sometimes cost is concealed behind the thin veneer of ‘practicality’ like the West Yorkshire force scrapping the traditional custodian helmet. Whoever is making that decision please have a word with yourself. I know that the police service aims to be representative of the community it serves – but flat caps for Yorkshire cops?! Let’s at least try and hang on to some of our valued traditions even if they are a few quid dearer.

Then there’re the really heavy ones like the simmering Rotherham abuse enquiry where no one dare mention the cha-ching cha-ching. All the talk is about fear of racism, incompetence, poor police work – no talk about money and resources being a factor in not picking up the investigation at an earlier stage.

We don’t talk about money when it comes to investigations you see we only talk about ‘proportionate investigation’. It’s a media friendly sound-bite that some insiders would tell you really means ‘how can we do it cheaper?’

As long as the public are safe though right? Fifty five year old, Paul Kohler wasn’t safe in his own home – where he was the victim of a sickeningly violent attack which left the lecturer “unrecognisable”. Listen, I don’t want to go all UKIP on you but the 4 defendants had a total of 32 previous convictions in Poland between them including violent disorder? Is that fair on UK victims? I don’t pretend to know what filtering system and controls we have in place but I bet it’s a ‘proportionate one.’

Life of Brian

On a much lighter note plans to name a Thames Valley Police horse ‘Brian’ caused a stir. I know I was shocked too – that we still had a police horse left. I’d name him ‘Call me Dave’ as a reminder why he has to work alone these days.

Some forces are trying to save some money though by recycling a load of old photos to facilitate facial recognition technology. Apparently we forgot to ask anybody first and so it wasn’t very popular with some. There was a bit of a kerfuffle on Newsnight, when Chief Constable Mike Barton, had a bit of a ding dong with posh Police Crime Commissioner, Vera Baird and former Home Office minister Norman Baker, who said ‘we don’t keep non convicted peoples fingerprints and DNA.’ You sure about that Norman? The last I heard we keep it for 12 years. Unlike Police Scotland who are following the Strasbourg directive and destroying their samples – but I reckon that’s just because theirs is a bit too flammable to store.

To be fair in some cases money doesn’t appear to be a factor at all. For example the cost of surveillance on uncharged suspect Julian Assange has now hit £10million! That’s more than the investigation into the Iraq war. Let’s be clear the allegation that Assange sexually assaulted two women in Sweden is very serious. Just checking Sweden are picking up policing tab? £10million can buy a lot of tasers.

Bean counting

The police bean counters in Blackpool seemed to be counting the wrong beans when the Metro ran the story: ‘Bean flicker admits assaulting police officer’. After spending a few seconds trying to figure out if ‘Bean flicker’ was an anagram of ‘Ben Affleck’ I went on to discover that the offender had flicked three baked beans from his breakfast through the hatch of his police cell and they landed on a detention officer’s shirt. Howard Green, defending, said, “This was not a serious act of violence”, (You don’t say Howard?) If he’d have stuck his tongue out as well would it have been an aggravated offence? The defendant was fined £75 (I’d have fined him 57) and £20 victims surcharge (presumably for Post Traumatic Bean Disorder).

But not everyone wants to tie up the criminal system with petty business that’s why they are about to start trialing the first ‘online court’ and even a system where the judge delivers verdicts by texting the defendant. Presumably something like “I find U guilty of stealing & sNteNc U2 6mths incarcer8tion innit x”

Just when we were hoping for better news the Daily Mail ran with the story ‘One in five police stations closed to the public since last election’ – Can that really be true? Surrey’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kevin Hurley, wants to close some more. He says that “43 forces are an unforgivable waste of money”. I agree let’s have just one force and move it further north, and don’t think you’ll be eligible to claim travel expenses as we’ll only need one PCC.

Well I say ‘need a PCC’ – I’m not sure the public quite agree since elections attracted just under 15% turnout to vote which is a lot less than the Celebrity Big Brother final. Considering that the last 3 CBB winners have been Jim Davidson, Gary Busey and Katie Price, I really can’t see the general election going wrong can you?

My favourite headline of the month was nothing to do with policing and came much closer to home for me in the Scunthorpe Evening Telegraph, who were reporting that we were finally getting a new town centre toilet with: ‘All Cisterns Go!’ Well done Scunny Telegraph that’s a great splash!

To finish on a positive note reminded us that we still have some friends when it reported that Tory MP Damian Green plans to “defend” officers at the Oxford Union debating society in respect of the alleged loss of confidence in the police. A Tory MP defending the police?…….. Can’t we ask if Brian the horse is available?


The Last Bastion of Free Speech

Article originally published in Police Oracle following the Charlie Hebdo shootings in Paris – republished here for wider enjoyment

AlfieMoore_NakedStun_photoby_IdilSukan_DrawHQ_03The recent tragic events in Paris have made me think about free speech. What’s appropriate or not? When does something become offensive? When does it become incitement?

This has started a great debate which I think was summed up beautifully in Frankie Boyle’s tweet: ‘Glad everyone’s celebrating free speech in Trafalgar Square, and not in Parliament Square where they’d be arrested’.

It’s often said that ‘comedy is the last bastion of free speech’. I don’t know about that as there surely has to be limits in what can be said and published but I feel fortunate that even as a cop I’m allowed to flex my satirical muscles. I think it’s a positive thing and I think it’s a healthy reflection of our society. So here’s my personal take on a few issues close to my heart.

Credit where credit’s due

2015 started with a very popular award – “Arise Sir Thomas Philip Winsor” sayeth the Queen “Now go out there and inspect my constabulary, quick sharp, as I’ve heard morale is a bit patchy”

I like the Queen but I’ve worked for her for 18 years and she’s never brought cream cakes in on either one of her birthdays.

Between you and me I heard a strong rumour that it was a straight toss-up between me and Tom Winsor for a knighthood but he just sneaked it on charisma. I’d rather that Captain Birds Eye had been honoured for Services to Findustry – at least he’s entitled to wear his uniform.

Sir Tom is of course leader of Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC), who are a bit like a police version of Ofsted and a lot like the Terracotta Army, inasmuch as, loads of them turn up at once, they all look alike and they don’t really serve any useful purpose.

Humour is very subjective but I would invite Sir Tom to grade the above gag as outstanding, good, requires improvement, or inadequate using the new PEEL assessment.

Sir Robert Peel’s mantra was “The test of police efficiency is the absence of crime”. Whereas Theresa May’s apparent mantra is “The test of Coalition efficiency is the absence of police”.

I’ve heard that Sir Tom never visits Robert Peel’s resting place in Westminster Abbey as he has a secret fear that Sir Robert will jump out of his grave and punch him on the nose. To save any possible embarrassment it will be one of the 1:5 crimes not recorded that day. Which is a shame as dead people are good value for clearing up loads of old jobs.

Former Home Office minister Norman Baker was reported in as saying that “Politicians are stupid to claim credit for falling crime”- that’s one of those rare sentences that could have been accurately stopped after the first three words.

Norman Baker used to work with Theresa May until one day he acted way above his station by putting his hand up and asking if he was allowed to speak. They eventually had a big bust up after Mr Baker sat her down and tried to gently explain that May Day wasn’t a bank holiday to celebrate her. Mrs May was fuming, and after three minutes on the naughty step Norman was sent home – permanently.

The only reason that she’s not Dame Theresa (yet) is that staff at the palace feel it will be really embarrassing when she starts talking down to the Queen and telling her how to hold the sword properly.

I’ve always struggled to remember names and I often get Theresa May confused with Mother Teresa. The way I remember it is that one is ‘the Angel of Calcutta’ and the other is the police budget cutter.

Free speech isn’t free

Here’s a top tip Home Secretary – the police are in clear and present danger on the streets of this country. Not a good time to reduce pay and pension entitlements.

Every experienced cop in this country will tell you that a substantial police presence in your neighbourhood is far more effective at cutting terrorism than a snooper’s charter. This is the worse time in history to cut police budgets and drag neighbourhood officers off the streets.

Why aren’t you listening? Is it because you think you know best?

No offence but any chance we can try a ‘direct entry’ Home Secretary next time? I think I’d rather have a bit less experience and a bit more common sense.



For Queen and Country

Article originally written for the Police Oracle and republished on Plod Blog for wider enjoyment…..

AlfieMoore_NakedStun_photoby_IdilSukan_DrawHQ_03One vision

It’s 10.17pm on Saturday 24th November 1990. Sheffield’s Herol ‘Bomber’ Graham, one of the finest boxers Britain has ever produced, is about to win the much revered WBC World Middleweight title. His opponent, Julian Jackson, whose left eye is completely closed (one vision:)), hasn’t laid a glove on Graham in three rounds. The doctor enters the ring, examines Jackson, and the referee tells him he has one round maximum before he stops the fight. Bomber Graham is easily the best defensive boxer in the middleweight division, he is one minute way from the title he has trained for all his life. All he has to do is keep his head down, continue to be professional, keep his class and carry on with his stick and jab tactics.

At 10.18pm Graham is star-fished on the canvas unconscious. That image is burned into my memory and continues to be one of the most frustrating things I have ever witnessed. There could be no logical reason for thinking that was a good time to lose your class and go in swinging.


Splash a-ah!

Carnoustie, Scotland, 6.42pm Sunday July 18th 1997. Jean Van de Velde is standing over his ball, it’s in the rough but he’s been fortunate and it’s a good lie. He’s got shots in hand and they’re already engraving his name on the Claret Jug. Jean Van de Velde is about to be the Open Champion. All he has to do is keep his class, continue to be professional and lay up in front of Barry Burn with a short iron and his name will be etched in the history books for ever.

At 6.44pm Van de Velde is rolled-up-trouser deep in the burn and his life’s dream is over. For reasons that will never be satisfactorily explained he thought that the rough on the 18th with shots in hand was a good time to attack and he reached for a 2 iron….

Two of the most stunning examples of attacking at the wrong time and grasping defeat from the jaws of victory.


I want to ride my bicycle

London,10am Friday 21st September 2012. Recently appointed Tory Chief Whip, Andrew Mitchell, is forced to apologise to police officers for being “disrespectful” to them at the Downing Street main gate two days earlier. He disputed some of the words used but without doubt was apologising, and without doubt had embarrassed himself, his party and the Prime Minister. An opportunity had dropped in to the lap of the police to gain a rare victory over a government that had been twisting the knife for a few years. All we had to do was to keep our composure, be professional, accept the apology with grace and allow ourselves a gloat from the moral high ground.

Twenty six months later, newspaper leaks, 8 people arrested and bailed including 5 police officers, 3 dismissed officers (one criminally charged and subsequently imprisoned – rightly so), a whole enquiry team of detectives on Operation Alice pulled from daily business, Commons Select Committee appearances, CPS ditherings, even calls for the Met Commissioner’s resignation….. and the purulent scandal that is Plebgate still festers on with no end in sight.


I want it all and I want it now.

Why? Because we lost our class, lost our professionalism and decided to come out swinging and attack at the wrong time. We ‘refuse to accept your apology Mitchell’, ‘we demand your resignation’ and if we have to do a bit of wheeling and dealing to make it happen so be it. Over the coming weeks and months the police quite spectacularly managed to turn Mitchell the Perpetrator into Mitchell the Victim. Managed to turn victory into defeat and in the process discredit 10’s of 1000’s of officers on the front line for no good reason. The cops on the street suddenly had a more difficult role.

Congratulations Plebgate you made my top 3 all-time list of embarrassing defeats that should have been victories.


Another one bites the dust.

Mitchell had to resign of course and the reason is pretty clear – not even his politician mates believed him either. To me that speaks volumes seeing as they knew him better than anybody. They didn’t care which gate he left out of as long as he cleared his tray and left the premises.

The Tories must have been kicking themselves because all this could have been avoided if they’d had simply voted for cycle lanes for the privileged.


Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?

The whole incident was shockingly mismanaged from the very start. Now this question goes out to the cops on the streets out there. The proper ones working 24/7 – in a world where a meal-break and finishing on time are just folk-lore stories handed down from previous generations.

You’re on public order foot-patrol in the town centre tonight and some silly toff comes up and tells you you’re a “xxxxxxx pleb”. Now I know we were told to be collectively offended and all that but tell me honestly just how upset would you really be? Bear in mind there are no members of public in earshot.

Would you (a) be very upset and start official logs and demand satisfaction or (b) Tell the stuck-up xxxx to get off his bike and push it through the correct gate before you shove the bicycle pump up his xxxx and marched him through yourself?

I have to be honest and say I’m going for (b).

Too late. A log has been created so it’s now official.


Here’s a question for the Sergeants. The proper Sergeants not the keyboard warriors like me but the ones out there in the thick of it making those sensible decisions that keep the cart on the wheels.

Okay Sarge you’re on late turn when one of your PC’s come up and says “Sergeant one of those politician blokes has just called me an xxxxxxx pleb”.

Do you (a) say this is very VERY serious, clearly your feelings have been hurt and this incident needs escalating”.

Or (b) say “Oh dear that’s not very nice, my gaffer will have a word with his gaffer now put your big hat back on and get back to that gate there’s a good lad”.

I’m going for (b) again. I’ll scribble a few backside covering lines on the log, close it as ‘confidential’ with ‘authorised viewing only’ and the job’s a good ‘un.

But no, that’s far too simple and this Plebgate baby’s now starting to roll.



Then the press leaks started. I do remember them saying at police training school that leaking info to the press is a smidgeon naughty (flouting the Official Secrets Act or something…). Although, to be fair that led to the Mitchell apology, which in turn led to the perfect time for us to walk away and savour the victory.


Don’t stop me now

Alas no. It snowballed out of control, lots of people chose to be offended on other people’s behalves, lots chose to get angry. No-one overseeing ever got a firm grip and this silly little thing was allowed to become the most damaging and discrediting police scandal for years.

It all got very confusing and witness evidence was swinging one way then the other. The enquiry team even received a statement from the gate itself now denying it was ever there at the time.

This was starting to get very messy and before long soon swallowed up three police officers and one political career – although it’s widely tipped that Mitchell will one day return as minister for cycling proficiency.


No time for losers

Bomber Graham never won that middleweight title. Van de Velde never won the Open and we will never rescue a victory from Plebgate. Okay, PC Rowland was vindicated in the November High Court libel action (Mitchell v News Group Newspapers) when Mr Justice Mitting said he was satisfied that the MP did say the word “pleb” – but nobody was really paying much attention because the damage had already been done a long time ago.

Do I think he used the word pleb? Honestly? I couldn’t care less – I’ve worked the streets of Scunthorpe for 18 years and if the worst thing to happen in a 10 hour shift is to be called an ‘xxxxxxx pleb’ – pretty good day at the office!


Fair Cop Alfie’s BBC Radio 4 Beat Starts Again from Thursday 18th June

Over the next six weeks Alfie will bring his trademark hilarious blend of comedy and insights into the law to the airwaves as IT’S A FAIR COP returns to BBC Radio 4 in the coveted 6.30 pm comedy slot.  The studio audience are ‘sworn in’ as cops for the night and get to have their say as they are challenged by the various dilemmas that arise as Alfie takes them through a real-life case that he has investigated – with plenty of laughs along the way! Experienced cop Alfie weaves  anecdotes from his eighteen years on the streets together with facts about the law, police powers and how they may be exercised, as the case unfolds. This series the topics Alfie covers include harassment, TWOC taking a car or ‘other conveyance’ without owner’s consent), reasonable use of force, drunk and disorderly behaviour, lost and found property and the emotive subject of stop and search. Tune into BBC Radio 4 every Thursday at 6.30pm and decide what you would have done as you laugh along…… ‘This is offbeat, revealing and very funny’- Daily Mail