"Well, there is only one piece of advice I can give you," said the wisest of wise men. "The secret of happiness is to see all the marvels of the world and never to forget the drops of oil on the spoon."

('The Alchemist' Paulo Coelho)

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Dixon of Dock Green or The Bill?

We had what we thought was a good idea today. Our first school software fair is on Thursday and we decided it would be a good idea to take some leaflets about staying safe on the internet which the local police had left in the shop a few weeks ago. I rang the police to see if they had any other related leaflets or posters that we could also use. The officer who got returned my call was very pleasant but not particularly pro-active. "Well, there is a leaflet you can download from the internet, he suggested. In other words, if we want to use it, we will have to print copies ourselves, with the attendant costs.
It reminded me, for some reason, of a phone conversation I had with a police officer a few years ago when I was acting Head of my school and we had ongoing problems with local youths on the school roof every evening. The roof was gradually being more and more vandalised and was leaking in places. I must mention that the grounds were surrounded by a four and a half foot hedge and gates of the same height - so not exactly the Berlin wall. However, when I asked the policeman about the possibility of actually coming into the grounds to investigate when there were obviously intruders present, I was reminded that the gates were locked.
"Surely your officers could climb over the gates?" I boldly suggested.
There was a sharp intake of breath at the other end of the phone, followed by....
"Ooh no, they can't do that. They might have an accident."
I put the phone down with an increasing sense of disbelief, followed by regret that I had not thought to say,
"Well, that's not how they do things in 'The Bill.'"
Don't suppose it would have done any good though........

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