My last Blog was about the boys in blue using the “Challoner Defence “when they need a Get Out Of Jail Free card by leaving on medical grounds in order to save their pension. This saves the Force the embarrassment of a criminal trial of an officer who has transgressed. Instead the inquiry is closed as the officer slips his moorings and becomes a civilian taking medical treatment. In many cases like Lazarus he recovers after a few months finds a cushy job with a salary boosted by a handsome medical pension. Problem sorted, end of story.
However I question whether much has changed, we hear all about the jolly policeman of our childhood who would sort the Yobs out with a clip round the ear. That must be from people whose memories are better than mine. If I think back to the sixties I was a witness in a court at West End Central. I was told that I would not be required for an hour or so, so I wandered into one of the courts and sat in the public gallery. The case was being heard by a Stipendiary Magistrate. The prisoner in the dock was charged with burglary was a rather scruffy, weedy little man and a short stocky man who looked to be under the minimum height for the Met Police. He identified himself as Detective Sergeant Harold Challoner.
He took the Oath and said in a very tortured plodding police jargon “As a result of information received I went to the greasy spoon cafe (not really its name) in Fulham Road where I found the prisoner sitting at a table. I told him that he answered the description of a person seen leaving a burglary in Eaton Square, I am arresting you and you will be taken to West End Central Police Station where you will be charged with burglary. I then cautioned him and he was arrested”
The Stipendiary (that’s a paid Magistrate who sits alone), asked the prisoner if he had any questions of the officer. He said “No not really, he said Hello Jonno! I’ve been looking for you, you’re f***ing nicked, get in the motor!” The Beak looked over his specs and said “Well that’s basically what the officer said”. I listened to the rest of the case and saw the prisoner remanded in custody.
I left thinking that I had witnessed a fit up. That your worships is why the infamous case of Harold “Tankie” Challoner stuck in my memory when the case of the half brick student at the demonstration outside the Greek Embassy hit the headlines.
At least I have managed to get two blogs out of the incident. Thus proving that there is nothing amiss with my long term memory; Short term memory is still a bit suspect as I continue to forget to remove the coin from my gym locker, get upstairs to the gym in bare feet and have to return to don my trainers. If I get arrested should I forget my swim shorts and enter naked into the spa, I shall simply plead the “Challoner Defence”. The trouble is everybody will believe it. . . . . . . . . . . .