On Sunday afternoon, Everton's football team scored lots of goals against Sunderland's football team. Six of them; six goals. Generally speaking: a lot of goals. How best to celebrate that? Whip your half-and-half scarf above your head while shouting "AROUNA KONE?" Full Roberto Martinez back tattoo?
You would think so. But no. Instead, a local man – returning from the game with a heart full of song – tweeted Mersey police to, lol, say he'd witnessed a rape. The response he received was one of a knowing wink because, apparently, the literal police force think that sexual assault is banter.
By 6PM, the inevitable public outcry had led to a full statement, the launch of an investigation and the presumed dismissal of whoever was responsible. Police doing banter on social media has ended in tears. I put it to every single one of you that this is the most 2015 thing that could ever have happened.
The Kanye West Glastonbury petition was pretty 2015, and the major papers not really reporting on the Prime Minister of the UK allegedly putting his penis inside a pig was also very 2015. But as 2015 goes, the police having their we're-just-like-you-honest schtick blow up in their faces – along with giving us a stark reminder of why only 15 percent of sexual assault survivors even bother going to them – is peak 2015.
The ensuing shit-storm – on the scale, comfortably, of a bad madras sprayed up the wall of a Megabus toilet – will guarantee that we'll be spared this sort of thing in 2016. But the inevitability of this actually happening is something to be pointed and yelled at for at least the rest of the week.
So to recap: the police, the same organisation that were once duty bound to give up their hats to any pregnant women who needed the toilet, made an active decision to basically become LadBible's military wing and didn't think there would be a problem with that. You cannot borrow a pencil without having to send seven emails in a public sector job, so let's just take a moment to relive some of the social media output that will have been green-lit by actual human adults:
LEICESTER POLICE FREE IPAD BURGLAR BANTER #LADS
Leicestershire Police has nearly 1,500 employees and receives around £169,000,000 a year in funding, yet somehow has a worse grasp of hashtags than a primary school teacher's part-time ETSY account.
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SOLIHULL POLICE HUGE AMOUNT OF CANNABIS COME-AND-COLLECT IT #LADS
20k RTs for Solihull Police here, and about twice as many replies that just say "hahaha brilliant!!!". Somewhere, in a tiny back room, a few burly policemen are standing around a computer that's still probably running Windows fucking Vista, guffawing, slapping each other on the back and shouting, "Good one, Keith!"
The most common incident arising from unlicensed taxis is the sexual assault of young and vulnerable women. You definitely had a mate in uni who'd say he "ruined her" every time he pulled. Right now, he should be the 31-year-old man in the Halfords staff room, swapping pictures of vaginas with lads a decade his junior, but instead he's getting time-and-a-half to run Northumbria Plod's social media and, worse, knows more than one Foo Fighters song.
SURREY POLICE KNOW THE WORDS TO A VANILLA ICE SONG #LADS
I once saw a dog get hit by a car doing 50mph. At that speed the dog basically turned into a giant explosive sack of blood and organs. Bits went about 10ft into the air. Reading this tweet was worse than watching that.
The thing is, girls getting assaulted in unlicensed taxis isn't funny. People careering off an icy road and into a wall isn't funny. The only people who are low enough to try to get #numbers out of these situations are lads who openly talk about their penis in the third person. Not the people across the entire planet – the entire planet, remember; not just somewhere like Kent — who are literally paid to prevent all of these things.
I have no idea where my (admittedly absolutely pitiful) tax money goes, but if any of it is contributing to a special constable standing in a meeting and asking all of his/her colleagues if they think a Katy Perry/"Firework" Safety gag would get enough shares, then I am done. I am completely done.
I would rather be the victim of these crimes than have to read another jaunty tweet trying to prevent them. Let me fall asleep carelessly beneath a bonfire and light me up. Make me forget to lock any of my downstairs windows and rob me blind. Hurl me through a windshield and into a fucking tree. I don't care any more.
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GMP LONGSIGHT DOG-ON-THE-LOOSE #LADS
Cheers for that, lads. Haven't you got any, like, crimes to be solving?
Problem is, being an outlet for shit jokes is what keeps Twitter going. It might seem like a safe place to be when we're all trying to call [token racist on Question Time] names, but in reality it's just become the place your dad turned to after those "uptight PC dykes at work" stopped him "having any fun". When he's not out necking two pints over the legal limit because he can handle it and you're a poof if you say otherwise, he's RTing a Paddy Power joke and @ing the cast of Geordie Shore to tell them they need real jobs.
Sometime in the last few years, the police cottoned on to this and, clearly sick of having to do meaningful TV-awareness ads, decided to just come off as one of the lads instead. Step one: get bare numbers on jokes to show that they're normal humans just like you. Step two: remind everyone of the laws they're breaking in the most "hey kids, great party, love this pop tune but would you mind turning it down a bit" way.
Wherever you work, you have a manager who does this. Butts into your conversations about FIFA with some line about how he remembers the indoor mode on 95 and, haha, he's not so different from you really and, haha, you you should probably set up a five-a-side team and, haha, see you later. Then pops up on email two hours later reminding you that, haha, while the milk in the fridge is communal, haha, you shouldn't use it for cereal.
Office bores are Very Bad, but they're at least harmless. When you're a government body trying to make an important point about a serious issue, it just... well, fucking look at the state of it.
Yesterday's incident is probably, finally, mercifully, going to put an end to all this, but whatever mawkish, committee-led, please-trust-us-again public relations venture they decide to replace "do a banter" with, it'll undoubtably be worse. Still, it'll at least be a laugh when the head of Mersey Police goes on Newsnight in a black polo neck and tries to say the whole thing was just a character.
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