Calmly I tell him that it was an operational matter and the Acting Chief will be handling all that gold, bronze, silver, platinum, tin hat thingy. We'd had a chat about what to do about this sort of incident in the briefings before the election. He takes charge and I take the credit when the bad person is behind bars in custody. He seemed very happy with that arrangement. It was what the Chief Constable always did anyway.
But it seems this is no ordinary crime and some politics are involved...
It turns out the person in custody is claiming a 'Grayling defence' and so he should not even be in custody. He says he was threatened in his own home by a menacing, shadowy figure and defended himself, as the Government says he has a right to. He has already briefed his solicitors on false imprisonment and all manner of other human rights infringements. He is also chairs the county council's health & well being and child protection committees.
On hearing all this from the acting Chief Exec, I ask him what the blasted heck are the police doing locking him up in the first place?!
The other half of the story is a bit more tricky. The menacing, shadowy figure was a 15 year old girl camping out in his greenhouse stumbling towards him in a thin sleeping bag at 11.00 o'clock in the morning. She is currently battling a punctured lung in the local A&E having been stabbed with a garden fork through the sleeping bag.
Already there are tabloid journalists loitering outside the hospital.
Then I remembered the 'training' the party had put me through a few weeks ago. Whilst the day was mostly networking, canapés, briefing on the core (well focus grouped) messages and a few posed photographs... there was the small part of the day on 'scenarios'. Some fancy management jibber jabber really - but there was a clear conclusion. Don't get involved in any operational policing unless there is a 75% chance of reflected glory. If there were even a 2% chance of the proverbial hitting the spinning proverbial, stay well clear. After careful consideration, I reasoned this was one of the latter kind.
Even though the chap involved is an old friend, I know when to cut loose. I had helped him out once before with the who was really at the steering wheel speeding thing. This was clearly too risky and I would just have to carry on being a Godfather to his daughter at a distance.
I told the acting Chief Exec to keep me briefed but that this was clearly an operational matter that I should not be involved in. He concurred.
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