Officers of Blandshire Constabulary have bigger problems right now than worrying about being politically incorrect, so we can get away with policing in tinsel epaulettes and accepting the odd sip of mulled wine as we attend the usual burglaries, car accidents and domestics that adorn this time of year. For those of us who can actually get into work with this bizarre white stuff clogging up the roads, we find an unusually clear car park, empty offices where the senior management team once were, and twice as much work for half the number of staff. There are some members of the public who do not choose Christmas to phone in their ten year old dispute with a distant cousin, but an equal number do. At other times of year they might get a PCSO coming round to chat about it, but right now I'm the only one visibly in charge, and I put calls like this at the back of my team's queue. Without the presence of the Superintendent Responsible For Prioritising Unimportant Jobs, there's no one to prevent my machinnations. At this time of year I also stop expecting my team to urgently arrest juveniles for offences committed six months ago, advise them not to bother with any file work because no one will read it until the 6th January, and take the opportunity to file a number of crime reports that have been being blocked by someone in a specialist department who's never read the paperwork.
You can bet, despite the empty offices upstairs, that when the SMT do return from skiing/golfing/wherever it is they go at this time of year, they will be scrutinising what the front line has been up to while they were away. No doubt there'll be some religiously aggravated snowball fights that APS Bloggs incorrectly updated as "not a priority", and some extremely aggravating emails will be sent to me about these and the other ways in which I have brought down Blandshire Constabulary during the festive season.
One of my priorities: to avoid this over Christmas.
In case you're wondering what I DO prioritise at this time of year, the list includes:
- Calls asking the police to check someone's elderly relative is still alive as they haven't heard from them since the the police attended last New Year's. Whilst the question "Don't you think you should go round yourself" is always valid, at least if we attend I'll know that the relative in question will have one visitor on Christmas Day.
- Finding and locking up recidivist acquisitive or violent offenders and getting them remanded until after Boxing Day. Sounds like persecution? Good.
- Making sure my officers are off on time. We're working part of Christmas this year, so they've only got a few hours to snatch with their families as it is.
- Double-checking everyone's overtime and Special Priority Payment forms to ensure they go through ok, and hand-delivering them to the finance department before they go on holiday.
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