Thursday, February 26, 2009
"The police are a lot of idle buffoons Dad, as well you know."
This is what I used to say, every time anyone mentioned the police, irrespective of whether my interlocuter was my Dad. Extremely annoying for them but, you know, they were almost certainly annoying me too.
Anyway perhaps Orton's epigram should properly read "The Police are a lot of idle buffoons Dad, as well you know", because earlier this week Shepherds Bush's finest made a raid on a house a few roads down from here and recovered my laptop. Whereas, I don't doubt, The Police have done nothing all week except bicker and do yoga.
Unbelievable I know.
They even sent one of their Community Support Officers round to tell me. You have to feel sorry for them, they don't get the cuffs, they don't even get a stick to defend themselves with, and you basically need a stick round here if you're dressed as a policeman. When I got to see a proper policeman he told me that they'd done a raid on the house of a local "handler", that's a "fence" to you and me guv'nor, and it had been among the haul of laptops, plasma TVs and 8 pushbikes they'd found there. They hadn't managed to turn the laptop on, as they didn't have a power supply for it, which slightly detracted from the overall impression of competence, but they had traced it back to me via the serial number.
When I got the laptop home I discovered that the criminal in question hadn't just nicked my laptop, he'd also been using it. Or more precisely, he'd given it to his girlfriend to use. So with a bit of rudimentary forensic IT I could see her entire search history, as well as her Facebook page (I couldn't log in, but I know who she is). Anyone's search history is incredibly revealing, even, in fact especially, if they're not looking at anything weird. You half expect them to be on a staple diet of Rotten.com and RedTube, or at least I do, but when someone has searched for dog-related Fantasy Art on eBay and the only news story they have read is "How a brave dog saved children" you get a different idea of the kind of person you're dealing with.
She'd also transferred the entire contents of their digital camera, lots of pictures of herself and her family, including her boyfriend Tony (a born villain if ever I saw one), their two daughters and their dog, a Tan English Mastiff called "Tiny".
Looking at this stuff I felt some empathy for her, I suspect her problem is that she is pathologically "nice". The policeman revealed two telling details - there were no drugs in the house, and they'd really looked, and also they were also very heavily in debt. The pictures of the flat show laminate flooring throughout. It looks like a nice flat, in one of the the Victorian mansion houses further down towards Acton. But it's the laminate flooring I find most chilling.
She won't have drugs in the house, the children get expensive Christmas presents (I've seen their Christmas morning video) but she has no compunction about spending money that she doesn't have, or indeed, turning a blind eye to a lot of unpleasant criminality that's going right under her nose.
In fact, I think she is the kind of woman who is attracted to criminals precisely because in their lives they give expression to the sociopathic tendencies that she is unable to see or admit to herself - the paucity of her imagination will not allow it. The total lack of buried life, as evidenced by the bland search history, the dog fantasy art, is a cover for a terrible raging, frustrated egotism. That's what's under the laminate see.
Obviously as I was looking at all this stuff I started to feel like I was intruding.
Like I was intruding.
Anyway, I gave the laptop back to the police who are sending it on to their "lab" for analysis. I hope they don't analyse the provenence of my graphics software. Obviously that's one kind of criminality that I seem to believe is perfectly ok.