Three memories came to me when I saw that a senior police officer had attacked The Green Brigade over a culture of “bullying” other Celtic supporters. All are from pop culture. I don’t intend to comment much on the remarks themselves; they are contemptible garbage. Instead I want to tell you the three things they made me think of.
The first is a great scene from the film The Untouchables. Connery’s grizzled Malone and a fresh faced Elliot Ness, played by a never better Kevin Costner, go to visit the cadets school looking for a young and incorruptible band of recruits.
They pull out an officer. Malone asks him a simple question; why do you want to be on the force?
The answer is a mangled garbled mess that Malone stops in two seconds. “Look,” he says, “don’t search for the year-book answer. Just tell me; why do you wanna be a cop?” The garbled mess he gets this time is even more unintelligible.
Malone nods politely, and sends him on his way, turning to Ness and saying to him, “There goes the next chief of police.”
The second thing that came to mind was Chief Wiggum, of The Simpsons, standing by a river as Fat Tony and his goons carry a “package” down towards the water’s edge. “Sorry, no dumping in the lake,” Wiggum tells him. “Fine,” Fat Tony says. “I will put my ‘yard trimmings’ in a car compactor …” As he’s slinking off one of Wiggum’s cops states the obvious.
“Uh, chief, I think there was a dead body in there,” he says. Wiggum puts him right. “Yeah, I thought that too, until he said ‘yard trimmings’ … got to learn to listen Lou …”
And the third thing that came to mind was from the movie ID, a British film about a cop who goes undercover in a gang of football hooligans. This is probably the most apt one, as this is clearly our new friend’s area of expertise.
In the film, Reece Dinsdale has successfully infiltrated the upper echelons of the gang. He and the team he’s a part of are at a de-briefing session with the top brass, who have become increasingly worried about DInsdale’s attitude and general behaviour. He isn’t in a particularly good mood that day and has already spooked them all.
His sergeant tries to gloss over his bad attitude by telling the brass what a great job he’s doing, and in particular how he gained the trust of the serious thugs; he told them he couldn’t read or write. The senior officer pauses mid-sentence as he’s taking notes.
“How did you become a police officer?” he demands to know. The detectives team are stunned. “What?” Dinsdale’s character, John, asks with undisguised scorn. “If you can’t read or write, how did you become a policeman?”
The sergeant, Trevor, played by the great character actor Richard Graham is equally appalled but tries to smooth the waters.
“He can read and write … that’s just part of his cover,” he says. The senior cop finally gets it (you can actually see the moment the penny drops) and sighs with relief. “I thought for a minute that we had an illiterate policeman …” he says.
And as deadpan as you like, John snarks back; “There’s a thought …”
I knew IQ standards had been lowered for the police force in an effort to recruit more candidates, but I hadn’t realised it had fallen so far so close to the top.
That should be a cause for a concern, for more than just football supporters. You’d think our politicians might want to look into that one.