Sorry for the absence. I've been on holiday. Luckily, I took my uniform with me, and a lot of British tourists at the resort were highly reassured to see me sunbathing in half-blues.
The totally utterly independent think tank The Policy Exchange has come up with a number of genius suggestions this week that by amazing coincidence and vindication of the Government, coincide exactly with what ministers have been saying:
Apparently, a lot of uniformed police are doing back office roles and money could be saved by giving these jobs to civilians. The Policy Exchange does not suggest how many of them might be on restricted duties and therefore needing stints away from the front-line. Nor does The Policy Exchange talk about how many civilians are currently doing front-line roles such as PCSOs, designated investigators, and statement-takers. Engaging civilian staff has nothing to do with protecting the front-line.
The next suggestion: police should wear uniform on the way to work. This would equate to 1200 extra police officers "on the streets". I must say, there is certainly nothing more reassuring than looking over as you wait in traffic for your daily commute, and seeing that the person waiting next to you is a uniformed police officer.
The Government, as usual, has "welcomed" The Policy Exchange's report, which is another way of saying it was already due to be absorbed into the next police reform paper and they quickly needed an independent body to back them up.
Whichever high-flying Conservative Oxbridge graduate at The Policy Exchange came up with this genius idea, and actually thought it was doable, I'd like to meet him/her. They'd get on like a house on fire with my Area Commander.
On another note - what does The Policy Exchange think we wear to work currently? I personally like to travel in dressed in a full red latex gimp suit, just so I'm totally unable to respond should I happen across a crime whilst queueing on the slip-road of my town's bypass.
"Help officer, I've had my bike stolen!"
"Don't look at us, we're just waiting to get into the club on a night out."
You couldn't make it up. Except that somebody did.
'Diary of an On-Call Girl' is available in some bookstores and online.