L'Ombre de l'Olivier

The Shadow of the Olive Tree

being the maunderings of an Englishman on the Côte d'Azur

10 November 2008 Blog Home : November 2008 : Permalink

The English and Fancy Dress

Somehow (oh yes, via Old Holborn) I read this story of the utter idiocy of today's PC Plod.

A student who dressed as Rambo for a fancy dress party has been charged with causing public alarm – for carrying a plastic toy knife.

Anthony Radley sported Sylvester Stallone's characteristic red bandana, face paint, black vest and combat trousers after celebrating a 21st birthday when he was stopped by police. [...]

The 21-year-old said he was arrested, searched and put in a cell for four hours after the incident in Nottingham in February.

He now faces court on Wednesday next week to dispute the £80 fine he was given because of the 15cm (6in) toy.

So a bloke dressed up in a costume with a knife and gets arrested. As the commenters wonder, didn't Nott's police have any real crime to investigate? However that's more of a sideshow. A couple of days after that incident London's police decided to demonstrate that if you go for a stroll around certain parts of the city in fancy dress you'll be searched by dozens of policemen, tracked by (illegally parked) CCTV cars and generally hassled.

A brief stroll down Millbank and past Downing Street passed without incident, and it was on the corner of Parliament Square that the police&mdashmostly plastic policemen, in fact, who seem to be increasingly the de facto crowd control element (and always the most arrogant)—stopped us for "blocking the pavement".

The Guys were searched under the Terrorism Act; although reasons for doing so varied across the different slips, my personal favourite was "wearing a costume and mask in a public place".

Next thing people will be being arrested for "loitering with intent to use a pedestrian crossing" or "looking at me in a funny way". I'm glad I live in France where we don't seem to have this intrusive crap. Indeed in France they will cheerfully sell you a real non-plastic knife with a blade of well over 15cm with no questions asked and here you regularly have strolls in the countryside enlivened by gentleman carrying guns and allegedly* searching for wild boar and other game.

*I say allegedly because they don't seem to be very good at it. I think its more of an excuse to get away from the wife and kids and enjoy the autumn weather with likeminded others.