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Midsomer night’s dream

[Just absolute nonsense – no law in it at all]

Ladies and gentlemen, this is my report on crime, and crime solving methodology within the last forty years. There will be surprising results for you within my research – it will challenge the way in which we fund and fight crime, and some of it may be unpalatable for you to hear.  I have been brought to this hotbed of crime to see if what can only be described as a tidal wave of slayings can be reversed. With my help, ladies and gentlemen of Midsomer, it can.

In the 1970s – there were two major types of crime. Murder, which was dealt with by what we think of as traditional police work – interviewing suspects, gathering evidence, following leads and eventual arrest. The second type of crime, equally prevalent, was committed by perpetrators disguising themselves as ghosts – usually in order to scare people away from visiting a funfair so that they could buy the land cheaply or to frighten people away from an abandoned mine so that the proceeds of a robbery could be recovered. Ghost-related crime proved extremely resistant to traditional policing methods.

In fact, during the entireity of the 1970s, not a single arrest was made by a uniformed police officer – either here, in the United States, or in England.

A different approach was required, and so investment was made into the assembly of unorthodox units – staffed not by trained investigators but by teenagers – one of whom would be very attractive but contribute little , and with the smartest person being rather plain. This group dyamic worked far better in practice than groups where all of the teenagers were bright and useful. The other key element in successful ghost-related crime-solving was that the group be accompanied  by some sort of animal.

Those results were startling. Arrest levels for ghost-related crime went through the roof. These teenagers and an animal sort of thing made in-roads into ghost crime that ordinary police forces simply weren’t able to deal with.

Their names will be known to many of you involved in criminology or law enforcement, usually by way of the animal-thing who tended to grab most of the media attention – Scooby Doo, Goober and the Ghost Grabbers, the New Smoo, Fangface – there are many more.  They were so successful that by the mid-80s, funding was withdrawn, it being believed that the ghost-crime menace had been defeated.

Now what we have, instead of teenagers and a goofy sidekick are crack teams of scientists or forensic psychologists, or criminal profilers – working in groups of six or seven, with no animal sidekicks. And what they end up dealing with are multiple murders with sick twisted elements, killers who have unfathomable motives and a methodology that always seems far more trouble than it is worth.  Invariably, these murders are solved by establishing that the killer is a short-order chef, who collects Lego, and whose mother was killed by a bee-sting, and then this data is put into a computer and a list of one suspect arrived at.

My research shows that these crimes are WORSE than scaring away people from a funfair by dressing as an old civil-war infantryman with luminous paint on your clothes. By re-establishing zero tolerance on ghost-crimes, which are a gateway to these more heinous crimes, we could substantially improve people’s quality of life and reduce the chance of them being butchered and then turned into a Lego Bee or something.

We know, it is tried and tested that maverick pairs of police officers – who have nothing in common, are almost opposites and who fight like cat and dog are many many times more effective than trained, thoughtful methodical officers working in harmony. This approach reaped huge dividends throughout the United States, but came to a halt following a little known, but deeply unsuccessful attempt to pair Robin Williams on coke, with Dustin Hoffman on Quaaludes as  “The Extrovert and the Introvert”  – although arrests were made, multiple lawsuits arose from suspects who claimed that they had been ‘deeply freaked out’ by the process.

We also know that whilst the average police investigation is slow and time-consuming, any maverick detective given twenty-four hours to solve the case will achieve that desired result. This “Twenty-four hours or you’re off the case” efficiency drive ended up being overused, with one Chicago police department issuing the demand for every case, including minor office stationery thefts and the entire police department was then left with nothing to do until crime built up again.

But as with so many of these bold initiatives – the baby is thrown out with the bathwater when the scheme is abandoned.

Why, I have learned that police in Baltimore recently spent FIVE years investigating some drug lords, making less than six arrests in that whole time. The entire case could have been wrapped up in twenty four hours, if only the simple “I’m taking you off the case” management technique had been deployed.

Case study 1

In the 1980s, in Hawaii, a bold experiment was attempted. All police officers were laid off and the entire island’s crime prevention unit was placed in the hands – or rather, moustache of one man, Thomas Magnum. During the 1980s, every crime in Hawaii was solved by Mr Magnum – this covering murders, robberies and the fairly common kidnapping of foreign princesses or movie stars. The initial outlay of capital was heavy, yes. Multiple redundancy packages to existing police officers, huge increase in unemployment benefit, investment in a mansion, a Ferrari and a helicopter.

The start up costs are what made most other parts of America fail to take up the Magnum model  (although Los Angeles attempted a similar venture outsourcing all of their kidnapping of foreign princesses or movie star cases to a washed-up stuntman. His travel expenses eventually led to the suspension of the experiment) .  If they had carried on, however, that capital expenditure would have easily been recouped in the annual savings of not employing lots and lots of police man to do the work of one moustached detective.

Fact, ladies and gentlemen – since Thomas Magnum was laid off, there was a twenty year period where NO criminals were caught in Hawaii at all.  (This desperate pattern has been ended by the employment of Steve McGarratt’s grandson or something to form a crack Hawaii 5-0 investigation team – it is anticipated that this programme will be cancelled fairly soon. The lack of moustache makes it an inevitable failure)

Moustaches solve murders. FACT.

Case study 2

Again in the 1980s, five hundred and nine murders were solved by one single woman. Not a cop, not a private investigator. Just an old woman, a writer of mystery novels, who solved murders that happened at social events that she was invited too. The State did not have to pay her a dime for solving any of these crimes, making Jessica Fletcher by far and away the most cost-effective law enforcement operative in history. Some might say that although those 509 murders were solved, no convictions resulted – the jury returning not guilty pleas on the basis that they couldn’t understand how the accused was supposed to have done it.

Others might point to the book that Ms Fletcher published, entitled “If I did it” which explained that she was a psychopathic killer who had murdered all 509 people and set up other people for the crime without ever once having been suspected, but as Ms Fletcher said with a twinkle in her eye, this was merely a hypothetical and fictional account of how she could have done it rather than a confession.

Codgers crack cases. Demonstrable FACT.

Case study 3

The county of Midsomer in England currently accounts for 98% of homicides in the UK, yet their police force consists of just two officers and occasional input from a dog, Sykes.  Midsomer now has a higher murder per capita rate than Detroit, Washington DC – in fact the only place that has a higher murder per capita rate is a prison for Russian mobsters where there was a short-lived experiment to set the prisoners to work making knives. Property prices are dwindling – once a week, three houses become available because the owners have been killed, and nobody wants to move in because of the high probability that they will be murdered.

This cannot go on.

Solution

Part of the solution for Midsomer’s problems is already in place. I of course refer to Sykes the dog.  He will be the cornerstone of Midsomer’s new approach. A pretty teenage girl will be appointed to the investigation team. She will have a plain friend who will be a computer whizzkid, who will do internet searches for “Hang-gliding enthusiasts who are allergic to lamb bhuna and just bought some patio furniture” quicker than any ordinary human could actually type that sentence. The junior detective will grow a moustache or be replaced by someone else who will. The senior detective will rigorously enforce the “Twenty four hours or you’re off the case” technique.

There will be a zero-tolerance approach to ghost-related crime. The sale of luminous paint within Midsomer will be prohibited and the full force of the law will come down on any miscreant who dresses up as a haunted deep sea diver in order to get the biscuit factory for themselves.

The final piece of the puzzle will be to recruit a local pensioner, ideally one who talks too much and seems to ramble on and on about nothing and then look perplexed once an hour saying something like “Oh dear, an egg-whisk – how could I have been so foolish as to miss that?”

[In the event that the old woman HAS a moustache, the junior detective at Midsomer can be laid off. Therefore, sales of Immac or other hair-removal products is banned to anyone over sixty-five in Midsomer ]

If these methods do not work, we know that getting all of the suspects into a room* and having a long rambling conversation where each person is almost accused in turn has a high success rate. That should be what happens in the 24th hour, if the case is not solved by then.  [*none of these suspects will bring a lawyer, or give a no comment interview, or even decline to attend the gathering]

My apologies for  (a) nonsense (b) lack of the powerpoint style pie charts and bar graphs that were in my mind when I thought of this nonsense and  (c) that the lecturer can’t quite decide whether he is English or American with some of his turns of phrase.  In fact, I’m just sorry overall for the whole thing.

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About suesspiciousminds

Law geek, local authority care hack, fascinated by words and quirky information; deeply committed to cheesecake and beer.

2 responses

  1. Has anyone ever told you that you might have too much time on your hands? Interesting article in an odd sort of way.

  2. Pingback: Midsomer night’s dream | Legal In General...

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