Rupert Goodwins' Diary

Wednesday 1/12/2004Much chortling in the office over the proposal that IT bods should enlist in the special constabulary to help Plod nab computer-savvy crooks. As the proponents say, there'd have to be a few changes in the rules -- currently, if you want to work for the police you have to pass a physical designed to make sure you have a chance of being handy when the rough stuff kicks off.

Wednesday 1/12/2004

Much chortling in the office over the proposal that IT bods should enlist in the special constabulary to help Plod nab computer-savvy crooks. As the proponents say, there'd have to be a few changes in the rules -- currently, if you want to work for the police you have to pass a physical designed to make sure you have a chance of being handy when the rough stuff kicks off. Your average IT manager, while more than capable of doing damage to a crowd of ugly-looking pints, isn't quite cut from Sweeney cloth. At least it'll let us make some jokes about PC Support and the Boys in Blue Screen Of Death.

But the thing that worries us is that… well, you know what people get like when they put a uniform on. We hesitate to claim that everyone in a funny hat is an anal jobsworth working out their inferiority complexes through hierarchical repression, but we've met a few. It's always the quiet ones with the staring eyes, no social skills and curious hobbies that are worse, so if the Old Bill is careful to screen those out when recruiting from the pool of technology specialists… this isn't going to work, is it?

And while we know a few programmers who habitually spend long periods at their keyboards dressed up in a variety of interesting leisurewear, it's not clear whether the Tech Specials will be required to be properly attired while on duty. Presumably for the deep cover jobs -- inveigling yourself into a network of webcamming villains and pornographers -- disguises and appropriate clothing will be required. One of the things about special policing, though, is that it's designed as far as possible to fit in with one's normal job -- and while helping out at the local football ground is one thing, poking around online in the name of the law can as easily be done from work as anywhere else. In fact, it may be the only place with the right equipment.

The comedy potential is endless. "What on earth are you doing, Sanderson?" "Lunch break, boss." "But you're taking off all your clothes!" "Yes, I'm investigating the MSN Willy Waver -- he breaks into chat rooms and… well, you know. That sort of chat room. Gotta fit in. Here, catch!"

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