Schrodinger’s shield

Sep 14, 2021 by

by Harry Miller, The Critic:

In the hands of the police it’s a symbol of love — Anyone else will be arrested.

Anyone familiar with Seventies television will recall Regan and Carter throwing bad guys over the bonnet of a Ford Consul GT and telling them, “We’re The Sweeney, son, and we haven’t had any dinner. You’ve kept us waiting, so unless you want a kicking you tell us where those photographs are.” Before the Police and Criminal Evidence Bill spoiled it all in 1984, you could get away with that sort of thing, particularly if you were The Sweeney. Sweeney Todd, Flying Squad. Hardest bastards on the force.

Last week, Leicestershire Constabulary unveiled its own version of The Flying Squad as its officers took to the streets wearing fluffy fairy wings, possibly sourced from the Knotty Ash shop that supplied Ken Dodd with his tickling stick. Should this crack squad of Tinkerbells unforeseeably prove ineffective, then Leicestershire’s elite tactical support unit is poised with riot shields adorned with the latest heraldry. The shields are easy to spot. In place of the traditional, transparent 4mm thick polycarbonate, designed so that the copper behind the shield is visible, the new riot shields are wrapped in the colours of the trans flag and offer no such transparency. If nothing else, the change is a chillingly effective metaphor.

Surprisingly, one must look West to sleepy Cheshire to locate the epicentre of lunacy, for it is there that National Police Chief’s Council member, Julie Cook, translates her hallucinogenic visions into practice. Take the recent addition of rainbow cars to the crusading Toy Town fleet. Having drunk her special tea, Cook imagines that the bigot, prowling the streets of Wilmslow in search of transphobic action, will happen upon one of her brightly painted evangelicars and undergo a Damascene conversion, whereupon said villain will denounce his cis privilege and embrace his hidden Gender Floret. In reality, of course, whilst the cops are deploying stretchy balloons and street art in the fight against imagined slights, the bigot will be jacking up the car and half inching the rainbow hubs.

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