Our policy is to use discretion to follow policy
So here in Blandshire we can and will do the following if you report a snowball-related crime:
- The call-taker will use his discretion to create a crime report for criminal damage/assault.
- The controller will use her discretion to establish that both of these offences are covered by the All Crime Initiative, therefore a PCSO will immediately attend.
- The PCSO's discretion helps him/her ascertain that a crime has indeed occurred, and it might even be racially aggravated, and he/she will therefore pass the investigation to a police officer.
- This is an eminently solvable crime (the offender being a youth aged 11-13, with brown hair, wearing a distinctive grey hoodie, male or female), therefore it will make an appearance in the morning meeting and APS Bloggs will be told to use her discretion to ensure a member of her team attends it without fail.
- Straight after the morning meeting, APS Bloggs will craft a discretionary email to the Local Police Area (LPA) Commander explaining why her shift were unable to attend the incident all day, and save it in the Drafts folder.
- Several hours later, the LPA Commander will sneak into the report room when APS Bloggs is out, and use his authority to dispatch one of her officers directly to the scene. The officer will phone APS Bloggs from custody and explain how, it being racially aggravated, he felt he had little alternative but to use his discretion to immediately arrest several grey-hoodied youths in the area.
- The custody sergeant's opinion will be that the case should be immediately dropped, and so he will use his discretion to comply with the new Possible Daily Mail Article Policy, and bail all the youngsters for a specialist review by the Inspector In Charge of Ensuring We Do Not Drop Cases That Might Lead to Detection, Complaint, or Murder.*
- The Inspector will pore over every scrap of paper relating to the snowball-throwing, race-hate scourge of Blandmore, and will likely order that all the youths be asked to sign contracts against snowball-throwing. This kind of disposal doesn't yet count as a detection, but it might some day soon.
- At the end of the day, APS Bloggs will accidentally send her drafted email, much to the confusion of the LPA Commander.
If you think the above is funny, you obviously haven't been to Hertfordshire.
* Some critics have argued that the Possible Daily Mail Article Policy may not be strictly legal, but in this era of discretion it's really up to us now whether or not we obey the law.
'Diary of an On-Call Girl' is available in some bookstores and online.