Anorak News | Not Much Cop

Not Much Cop

by | 22nd, November 2005

‘NEVER let it go unsaid that the police are a body of men and women packed to the seams with good humour and hearty cheer.


Here comes a copper in his squad car now, the veritable laughing policeman. He’s going to see if he can make Margaret Boyle-White giggle.

“I want a word with you,” says the young member of the Norfolk Constabulary Cabaret Club to his audience by way of an opening catchphrase, as the Express reports. He tells Mrs Boyle-White, 34, that he’s had a complaint from a member of the public that she’s been “exposing herself”.

Mrs Boyle-White considers his words, looks at her eight-week-old daughter Niamh suckling on her breast, and wonders if she should laugh or cry.

Or tell the papers. Which she has done. In the Mail, Mrs Boyle-White says how the young copper “then told me to refrain from breastfeeding in public”. The officer said he could not “do me” for it, but suggested that in future she uses a restaurant or café.

“I couldn’t believe it. He made me feel like a common criminal for doing something which is perfectly natural,” says Mrs Boyle–White. For sure – but much of the best comedy comes from observing the every day.

And rather than overanalysing the joke, we look instead for the clincher. How will this sketch close? A spokesman, the man from the ministry, if you will, takes centre stage to explain that Mrs Boyle-White was told off in the street to “avoid any distress”. It was all done in a “discreet, professional manner”. If not in the best possible taste.

And before the blast on the policeman’s kazoo has faded, the Express spots some more comedy capers from the Force.

While the Mail is all Tony Hancock-like doom and gloom, reminding its readers that the taxpayers will pick up a £70m tab for the move to 24-hour licensing, the Express lightens the mood.

It’s now the turn of the laughing policemen of Ipswich to slay us in the aisles. This sketch relies on a visual – a picture of two cops standing outside “THE LOCK ‘EM IN” public house.

This image appears on the cover of a leaflet, 30,000 of which have been delivered to clubs and restaurants in the town. The pamphlet reads: “The Lock ‘Em Inn is conveniently located within easy reach of Ipswich’s pubs, clubs and criminal courts. The accommodation is minimalist chic created for you with economy in mind.”

Such fine wit needs little commentary, but still sergeant Neil Boast wants to explain all. “The leaflets are cheeky but we want people to realise that being locked up in the cells is not a pleasant experience,” says he.

Boom! Boom! Or ‘Bang! Bang!’, as the police would have it…’

Posted: 22nd, November 2005 | In: Tabloids Comment | TrackBack | Permalink