Wikipedia tells us that The Keystone Kops were…
…fictional, humorously incompetent policemen, featured in several silent film slapstick comedies produced by Mack Sennett for his Keystone Film Company between 1912 and 1917.
A local news item tells how a lunatic waving a machete around was reported to the Police on 4 May. The man who reported him is quoted:
He was screaming and coming down the road with the machete shouting ‘I’m going to chop you up’.
“If I hadn’t moved he would have caught me with it.”
The Police came and confiscated the weapon – but they didn’t arrest the man because:
…the force said they “couldn’t find any sign of a disturbance”.
They didn’t take a statement from the witness immediately, and the lunatic with the machete (who is clearly a mental case) was finally arrested a week later, on 11 May. The BBC video of what “no disturbance” looks like to Nottingham Police is therefore quite revealing. As is the apparent change in the Law, which it now seems allows you to have a machete in public in the first place and not be arrested.
Then there was this story from Worcester. Police there have put up a sign at the station telling criminals when the best (and most convenient) time to hand themselves in is.
It has since been removed, and officials are hopefully in the process of making sure those responsible are on their way back to stacking shelves at Tesco again.
And all this reminds me of a situation about four years ago. I stopped in a field gateway on a country lane near Bunny and observed three or four large bales of what I suddenly realised were Cannabis plants. I phoned the Police, and was told it wasn’t their problem and that I should contact the Council to have them removed. I did that, and after listening through a message that went roughly like this:
So that we can help you best, please choose from one of the following options. For roof repairs press 1, for door painting press 2… [a lot more removed so I don’t bore you to death]… for water discolouration press 27…
I pressed something I’d heard earlier and which sounded closest to what might be needed. The person who answered was like computer AI, but without the “I”, so I just said “oh, f**k it” and hung up.
The bales gradually rotted over the next few months.
Oh, yes. And then a couple of years ago. I was driving along Coventry Lane near Bramcote with a pupil, and a wanker in a pratmobile overtook us at high speed on the opposite side of those pedestrian central refuges – an absolutely illegal action – and almost had a head-on with another car. I reported it to the Police, pointing out I had him on dashcam, with his registration number clearly visible, and that I knew where he probably lived because of where he turned off a little further on. The Police weren’t interested, and basically told me that the dashcam footage wasn’t enough.
The legacy of The Keystone Kops lives on in Britain.