Both public and politicians have expressed fears that the ‘outsourcing’ of support services could be compromising the police’s ability to effectively combat the current wave of terrorism in the UK. “I was hardly expecting to be offered hardcore sex when I called the terrorist hotline,” says outraged fifty-eight year old Londoner Trevor Crimp, who was attempting to report two suspected suicide bombers, who he feared were plotting to destroy his newsagents shop. “As soon as I got through this husky female voice started going through this menu of services: ‘Press one for anal; two for strict discipline; three for pussy action’, and so on! You had to listen to the lot to get to the operator and try to make your report!” However, Mr Crimp still found himself bombarded with smut, even when he reached a human operator. “This woman told me her name was Trixie and asked if I wanted to spank her,” the shocked shopkeeper recalls. “When I told her I that thought there might be suicide bombers in my shop, she said ‘You’re making me wet, big boy’! It’s a bloody disgrace – by the time I got off the line I was panting fit to collapse and drenched in sweat! I had to break off my report twice to masturbate – in the time it took me to do that the shop could have been blown to smithereens!”

The use of a premium rate sex line as a terror hotline has drawn fierce criticism from across the political spectrum. “Associating this kind of filth with fighting terror just goes to confirm what those mad Islamic wallahs are saying about us – we’re a decadent society with no moral values,” bellows Right-wing Tory MP Sir Reginald Ronson-Tewke. Veteran labour left-wing firebrand Doug Finker, in contrast, is worried about the further commercialisation of public services this move represents. “Frankly, it’s nothing less than war profiteering,” he declares. “Some pornographer is making big bucks on the backs of peoples’ fears of being blown up! The police should be ashamed of themselves!” Nevertheless, Scotland Yard has defended its use of the hotline, claiming that it represents value-for-money. “Look, the firm operating this service for us offered the lowest tender – they also have over ten years experience in this sort of thing,” said their spokesperson. “Not only that, but we feel that the offer of steamy telephone sex brings very real benefits – not only might it encourage members of the public who otherwise might not contact us to pass on information, but it also helps create a relaxing atmosphere to quell the fears of nervous callers!” They have also been quick to point out that if Mr Crimp believed that he was in immediate danger, he should have dialled the normal emergency number. “The hotline is purely for confidential tip-offs,” said a spokesperson. “Not only that, but the two alleged ‘suicide bombers’ in Mr Crimp’s shop were simply two local schoolboys attempting to stuff magazines stolen from the top-shelf into their satchels – of a controlled explosion on one satchel simply resulted in blazing pages from Asian Babes raining down on a South London street!”

However, attempting to use the standard emergency number is equally fraught with difficulty, as Kent housewife Marjorie Frollock can testify. “I dialled 999 when I thought I heard someone breaking into my house on night, and found myself put through to a call centre in Bangkok,” relates the forty seven year old. “Although they spoke English, it still took me over half an hour to make them understand that I thought there was a burglar downstairs, by the time they said they were sending someone round, the intruder was breaking down my bedroom door!” In the event, it took the officers four days to arrive. “They sent them from Thailand, at first I thought it was some mistake, but apparently it’s cheaper,” explains an exasperated Frollock, who is currently attempting to sue her local police force, after she was left bound and gagged for three days by the intruder. “Luckily, one of the neighbours realised something was wrong when they noticed the front door was off of its hinges, and came in to free me!” The burglar, who stole over £5000 of jewellery, household appliances and cash from Mrs Frollock’s house, has still not been caught, although the three Thai policemen who attended the scene did severely cane several local youths they suspected of dropping chewing gum on the pavement outside.

The police are not the only emergency service to have ‘outsourced’ some of their functions, as local residents in Newport, Gwent discovered, when a simple chip pan fire resulted in an entire street burning down. “My call was routed to a centre in New Delhi,” says former chip shop owner Dai Williams. “I told them I had a fire in one of the deep fat fryers getting out of control, and they said they’d send someone right out. A week later this ramshackle old fire appliance finally arrived from India!” Despite attempting to fight the fire themselves with buckets of water, Williams and his neighbours had to suffer the heartbreak of watching homes burn to the ground. They remain unimpressed by the local Fire Brigade’s argument that contracting-out minor emergencies such as chip pan fires to other agencies is more cost-effective. “I just thank God we didn’t have to call for an ambulance,” says Williams. “Christ alone knows what would have turned up!”

Despite criticism from politicians and public alike, Scotland Yard has warned that, as its resources are stretched ever thinner by the demands of the ‘War on Terror’, there is likely to be further contracting-out of certain functions. “It can often work out quite well – you didn’t see people in Manchester complaining when their police force contracted-out maintaining order on their sink estates to the Russian police,” a spokesperson points out. “A few executions, some beatings and the application of electrodes to the testicles of local delinquents soon brought things under control. Mind you, the locals did start to protest when the Russian cops started demanding higher levels of bribes and took over the extortion and prostitution rackets themselves. But you can’t have everything.” The Metropolitan police are already putting some of their low-level street activities out to tender. “We’ve received a firm expression of interest from the British Union of Fascists with regard to taking over the general harassment and racial abuse of black people,” says the Scotland Yard spokesperson. “But obviously, as they are now all terrorist suspects, the harassment of Asians will have to stay in-house for the time being.”