An Actor’s Life: Euro-bobbies

I grew up for the most part of my life in Luton, a town just north of London, and read with interest that the Bedfordshire police commissioner, Olly Martins, is upset with the British Tory government’s determination to stick fast, no matter what the cost, to its rigid austerity plans.

It’s a feeling a certain Mr Rasmussen will have to start getting used to as well, no doubt!

Commercial crime fighting
Martins has been told to run his patch on the same funding as last year. So Martins, who wants it to be known that he is a Labour Party voter, has come up with a masterplan to generate some much needed money in his fight against crime in the county.

He wants to encourage advertising on his force’s Panda cars and to install and have permanently switched on, more speed cameras on the main artery to London, the M1. These tactics, he says, will generate about 1 million pounds and prevent him from having to lose 25 police officers. He was on BBC Radio 4 recently, obviously trying to embarrass the British Chancellor and his party, and happily with some degree of success.

Again, echoes of Denmark and fining cyclists and motorists, perhaps?

Not dissimilar to Denmark
Well, one statistic that Bedfordshire and Denmark have in common is the ratio of police officers per 100,000 citizens. It’s 169. That’s one officer for every 590 of us.

Martins said the county’s force was “stretched to the limit” with 169 officers per 100,000 people against a national average of 232 and 388 in London.

I can’t remember the last time I saw a Danish bobby on the beat, can you? The preferred tactic seems to be to have rapid-response units of teams of up to eight officers driving stealthily around our cities, peering out at us until they receive an alarm signal, and then it’s sirens on full volume and off they screech to the flash-point.

Police protection for all
Being fined for speeding is fair enough, too many of us do it – especially in Jutland, for some reason. I don’t wish to single them out, but perhaps its geographical closeness to Germany makes them think that speed restrictions don’t apply to them?

I quite like this notion of sponsorship on police cars, but which companies would be interested?

Martins mischievously suggests easyJet could be an option. After all, the airline is based at Luton Airport. They could advertise other local sights in Bedfordshire: Whipsnade Zoo, Woburn Abbey and my beloved Luton Town FC.

If the advertising enables equal police protection for all, and not just the rich, then I’m all for it.

Beatings for a good cause
American police could have advertising slogans on their uniforms too – just below the cameras they have to wear but hardly ever turn on.

Given the apparent daily addiction of its armed, unintelligent and mostly overweight officers to physically attack its citizens, how about a rather snazzy, graffiti-type sprayed slogan saying: “Help Your Local Police – Beat Yourself Up!”

That Theatre’s ‘Marathon’ by Edoardo Erba – the first time it has been performed in Scandinavia – runs until November 21 at Krudttønden. Visit for more details.