I’m old enough to remember the story (maybe an urban myth) of the Kray twins coming up from London, by train, to Manchester – where they planned to extend their criminal empire.
The story goes the Kray gang were met by hundreds of Manchester Police officers, waiting on the platform of Piccadilly railway station – who promptly turned the gang around, sending them packing back south.
Well that’s not the way we do things now.
Cheshire police officers are now issuing yellow cards to suspected criminals – with the printed message “You are not welcome here!”
I can just see the Kray’s faces – after being handed a yellow card – no doubt they’d be quaking in their boots and heading back south faster than you can say “Jack the Hat McVitie”.
Cheshire Police say “a crime will not have to be in progress, but there will be police intelligence that the individual is involved in criminal behaviour.”
My own experience indicates ‘police intelligence’ to be the ultimate oxymoron – but leaving that aside for the moment – if officers suspect they “may be up to no good”, then a second yellow card will be issued.
We’re advised that Op Yellow card will apply to people from outside the county “who are not believed to have a legitimate reason for being in the area.”
That’s one to concern me – let alone the Civil Rights brigade.
Chief Constable Mark Roberts said: “The message is clear, if you are coming into or travelling through Cheshire to commit a crime then we are watching you and you are not welcome.
“If we believe you are involved in criminality we will target you, and when we issue the Yellow Card we will explain to you why we are targeting you.”
Do Cheshire Police actually believe this will reassure the wider public that criminal behaviour will be reduced in Cheshire?
Chief Constable Roberts added: “We’re making Cheshire a hostile place for criminals and the law-abiding citizens of Cheshire can rest assured that we will continue to target and catch those people who think they can come into our county and commit crime.”
I’m confident that criminal gangs across the north will be popping anti-anxiety pills at the very thought of receiving yellow cards – then again, like ASBO’s they’ll probably come to be seen as a badge of honour – to be framed and hung on the wall.
If you’ve not yet lost the will to live a video featuring operational activity and interviews with officers is available via https://youtu.be/zp3AyBLz0zk.
Inspector Morse must be turning in his grave.