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Monday, 10 August 2015

Plenty of good coppers about

Lately, there’s been a lot in the news about the reduced presence of police in UK. Yes, they may be involved in a game of political football, blaming ‘the cuts’, but the bottom line is that crimes are not reported, or recorded as such, and now we learn that some so-called forces are only responding to burglaries if your house is odd-numbered! Other forces won’t respond at all, and will expect you to email them with the details. Talk about encouraging thieves! Of course if any hate crime is perpetrated, possibly by a toddler in the playground, then they will log that ‘crime’.  Soft option; beats chasing criminals.

The writing has been on the wall for some years, doubtless beginning with the political correctness that crept into their function, from the top down. The police have grown further apart from the populace they are supposed to safeguard, resulting in distrust; they are no longer held in such high esteem. Catch criminals, prevent crime? No, they’d rather indulge in social engineering. This is a generalisation, but the effects of so-called modern political policing seem widespread and insidious.

Broken Britain? Yet without effective policing anarchy is not too far off. Worse, still, freedom of speech is already threatened and the concept of the thought police is no longer science fiction, but with us now.

Broken Britain? If criminals are caught (a muted hurrah!) then don’t rely on the justice system to put them out of circulation… The judiciary are to a large extent living on another planet – or at the very least a protected insular world.

Broken Britain…? If the police prove incapable of enforcing justice and standing up for fairness, then it seems almost inevitable that vigilantism, no matter how undesirable, will rise.

Into this mess arrives one such vigilante: Sudden Vengeance.
The e-book is on sale on all Amazon sites until 27 August; the book has a fair number of good reviews online and inside the covers. Don’t forget to cheer as the criminals get the justice they so richly deserve!

When justice fails, a vigilante steps forward

In the broken Britain of today, faith in the police is faltering. Justice and fairness are flouted. Victims are not seen as hurt people but simply as statistics.

Paul’s family is but one example of those victims of unpunished criminals. In the English south Hampshire coastal town of Alverbank, many others are damaged and grieving. It cannot go on. There has to be a response, some way of fighting back.
A vigilante soon emerges and delivers rough justice, breaking the bones and cracking the heads of those guilty individuals who cause pain without remorse. Who is the vigilante?  He – or she – is called the Black Knight. The police warn against taking ‘the law into your own hands’. But the press laud the vigilante’s efforts and respond: ‘What law?’ Will the Black Knight eventually cross the line and kill?
Paul and his family seem involved and they are going to suffer

However, in mitigation, even now, there are plenty of good coppers about:

Reg Owen climbed down from the pantechnicon’s cab. He felt the cold breeze on his unshaven face and was glad of the tam-o’-shanter.

The truck driver gave him a couple of pound coins and a packet of crisps. “Don’t spend it all at once, mate.”

“Thanks. And thanks for the lift.”

“Hope you have better luck here, mate,” the driver said, and drove off.

This was a new town for Reg. He could do with a bit of luck.

He walked alongside an old brick wall set in alternate courses of Flemish bond, keeping to the shadows, then turned down a narrow passage, which he later learned the locals had nicknamed “Squeeze-gut Alley”. He was fifty-eight, slightly stooped, in a grey pinstripe suit that had seen no dry cleaner in many months.

His hands were covered in black woollen gloves and he wore a tattered dirty old school scarf, but he still shivered. Winter was not the best time to lose your business, family and home.

Suddenly, he stopped, alarmed by the black shape ahead of him, framed by the end of the alley. He’d been homeless six months, maybe longer; long enough to learn how to steer clear of trouble. He glanced back the way he’d come – it was still clear, so perhaps there weren’t any hoodlums out to beat up an old tramp. He was about to turn and walk the other way.

The stranger spoke. “You’re new in town, aren’t you?” The voice was firm and deep, but there was no threat, only the hint of concern and interest in it.

“Yes.” Reg relaxed a little. “Hitched a lift on a lorry. I’m hoping my luck might change for the better – somewhere fresh...”

The stranger stepped closer and now Reg made out the hat and glint of badges on the uniform. A police constable on his beat. Still a few of them about, then; thought they were an endangered species.

Just my bad luck, he groaned. He had no wish to be moved on for vagrancy. He was cold and tired.

“Have you eaten?” the policeman asked.

Reg patted his pocket gently. “I’ve got a packet of crisps, courtesy of the lorry driver.”

The policeman stood about a foot away. Clouds moved and the disclosed moon lit up a face of strong intelligent features. “I’ll take you round the block, there’s a good cafe – Ron’s Place, it’s called.”

Moving to walk alongside the bobby, Reg said, “Er, thanks, er–”

“Paul. Paul Knight.”

“Reginald Owen. Building Contractor Brackets Failed.” He grinned. “Much appreciate it.”

“The recession hit you bad, then?”

“Yes. That and a crooked partner! Lost the home. Wife and son left me – couldn’t blame them, I’d failed...”

“I’m sorry. Do you want to talk about it?”

Reg chuckled. “Thanks for asking, Paul, but I already bored the pants off the poor lorry driver. Too many uncomfortable memories, you know.”

“All right. Where will you stay tonight?”

“Don’t rightly know.” Reg shrugged. “I suppose your small town doesn’t take too kindly to vagrants?”

Paul sighed. “We have more homeless people than we’d like – an overspill from Pompey.”

They stopped outside a shop window set in the wall of a half-timber building. Sacrilege! Reg thought, observing the cracked and dirty clay and brick between the wooden framework, all in need of renovation – like himself, he supposed. A sign over the door announced RON’S PLACE.

“Ron here will take you in for one night till you get the chance to look around.” Paul put a hand in his pocket, smiled. “If that’s all right?”

“It’s good of you to suggest it, but I’ve only got a couple of quid. I’ll need that for food.”

Paul held up a five-pound note. “Ron’ll take you in for two-fifty – to cover the laundry. A fry-up’ll cost a pound.” He handed over the note. “Just tell Ron I sent you.”

Feeling dampness prick the corners of his eyes, Reg turned to look inside the cafe. There were no customers. A large black-bearded man waved at him. Presumably Ron.

Reg turned, said, “Thank–” and was startled to discover that the policeman called Paul Knight had gone.

Reg Owen pushed open the door, the overhead bell tinkling, and entered the welcoming warmth. Perhaps his luck had changed, after all.

- Sudden Vengeance, (p109-111)

Amazon UK here

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Amazon Canada here

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