Wednesday, 24 September 2014
Page Thirty Nine - Santa's in Trouble (Copcast #154)
Once upon a time, long, long ago, police officers used to decorate their vehicles with tinsel and lights at Christmas in keeping with the festive spirit of the season. Sadly, for a variety of reasons, this is a practice that hasn’t been allowed by senior officers for a very long time.
Back in the early days of George’s career there was an R/T Driver on his team called Tim. He was over six foot six inches tall and weighed in at a magnificent 20 stone, or 280 pounds for those of you outside the UK, who went by the name of Tiny. In those days, George’s team worked a four-week shift pattern that included a full week of Night Duties, which meant that they worked Night Duty on Christmas Eve for six years on the trot. Tiny saw this as an opportunity to spread a little festive cheer and so each year he paraded for Night Duty dressed as Santa Claus complete with hooded red robes and breeches, spit-shined black boots and an enormous white beard. His generous girth meant that he had no need for any additional padding under his tunic to create the jolly persona of Saint Nicholas.
He thought that on what should be the happiest and most peaceful night of the year, his appearance would help bring a little light and possibly a smile to anyone that had been unfortunate enough to find themselves the victim of a crime. After parade he would climb into his R/T Car accompanied by his radio operator who often joined in with the celebrations by dressing as one of Santa’s elves. The car would then drive majestically out of the rear yard, bedecked with tinsel and mistletoe and begin its patrol.
One year, as luck would have it, Tiny and his operator responded to a ‘suspects on premises’ call at about 2am and after a short stand-off, they took two teenage lads into custody on suspicion of burglary. George arrived with the van just in time to see Santa Claus, resplendent in red robe and flowing white beard, stroll out of the premises with a handcuffed burglar tucked under one arm and dragging the second behind him by his collar. Tiny heaved the two thieves into the back of the van and slammed the door on them before picking up his elf and returning to the police station where the booked the failed thieves in.
A few days later the instruction was handed down from the Divisional Commander through the Duty Officer that all police vehicles would be stripped of Christmas decorations and that in future uniformed police officers would not wear any form of costume while on duty at any time of year. A member of the public had complained to the Division about a police officer dressed on duty as Father Christmas that had upset his two children. Apparently the family had been driving home in the early hours of Christmas morning and had passed the scene of the burglary. The two young children in the back of the car had been confused and reduced to tears after seeing Santa Claus dragging the two struggling prisoners out of the house, surrounded by police cars and blue flashing lights.
They didn’t understand why he was helping the police when by rights he should have been flying around the world delivering presents from his reindeer drawn sleigh.