I haven't blogged for a while. There are a number of reasons, but I am still here, sort of.
I've been spending some time this week reading back through my blog in the early days, trying to figure out why I stopped writing it. To my amazement I started the blog nearly TEN YEARS AGO!
It's clear from my early posts that there was a lot of fun to be had at the government's expense. The Labour government was a delightful source of entertainment for this police blogger, from its wonderful ideas on legalising parenting, to its devil-may-care attitude to spending on operations like Overt and Safeguard, to the all-encompassing Home Office Counting Rules.
Things changed in 2010. The Coalition (or let's call it the Conservative) Government, added a sinister dimension to what had been, up until then, playful tinkering with the police. Of course, I had not thought of it as playful, but it seems it in retrospect. Oh, how I came to long for the days when Tony McNulty would exhort the public to "jump up and down" to deter crime.
The Clegg/Cameron reign gave rise to Tom Winsor and the infamous "reforms". The Home Office had declared all-out war on the police. This was not the stuff of comic light reading, but of deep-rooted concern across the board in the police.
It was hard to know how best to tackle it. The Police Federation were saying some sensible stuff, but also had problems of their own, leading to a number of high profile cock-ups. The tide of public opinion had changed. With the 2009 recession, the public did not want to hear coppers whingeing about their pay and conditions, or about whatever piece of legislation was doing what, or even to hear light-hearted stories about officers having far too much fun at work. The public had their own concerns. The age of the public sector whistle-blower was drawing to a close.
I still think there's room for measured debate on police reform, and decisions about what kind of police force we want in this country.
I also still think there's room to poke fun at those in power, even if there aren't many left with a sense of humour.
I have sheathed, but not unloaded, my satirical handguns. (For which, I might add, I would very likely be struck off the Firearms department, had I ever been on it.)
As for my next move, that's still under review...
'Diary of an On-Call Girl' is available in some bookstores and online.