Upwardly Criminal

“The trouble with crime in this country is that it just isn’t glamourous enough – it’s just so sordid. That’s why it only attracts low-lifes and thugs,” declares Home Office Minister Hugh Puker. “Which is why we’re aiming to improve its image, so as to attract the very best criminals to the UK.” The elections for local Police and Crime Commissioners is the first step in the government’s drive to improve British crime’s image. “It stands to reason that if we are to glamourise crime, then first we have to glamourise our crime fighters,” Puker explains. “I mean, just compare our police with American cops – there’s no contest! Ours are hidebound by Health and Safety regulations and, to be frank, are a bunch of jobsworths, always obsessed with following rules and regulations. Unlike our US cousins, who are all exciting rogue cops, throwing the rule book out of the window as they chase down mad gunmen and serial killers! Not to mention the fact that their cars and uniforms are far more exciting than ours! If I was a criminal I know which type of police I’d rather be arrested and beaten up by!” Having US-style elected Commissioners is a first step to this goal. “As soon as we’ve got these guys in place, we’ll be issuing our police with those huge batons, shiny badges and those caps and mirrored sun glasses the American cops wear,” the Minister says. “They’ll also all be issued with gum and be expected to chew it whilst leaning against the fenders of their black-and-whites.”

Puker believes that with a new, more exciting, police force, criminals will feel obliged to raise their game in order to match them. “It stands to reason, if all you have to contend with are a bunch of dour PC Plods, then, as a criminal, you are never going to be inspired to carry out any crimes more sophisticated than mugging old ladies, joy-riding in stolen cars or simple burglaries,” he says. “These sorts of crimes are only ever going to attract semi-literate, unemployed louts with tattoos living on sink estates – they just don’t pay well enough to attract white-collar professional types. What we want to encourage are more sophisticated crimes – art and jewellery robberies, daring bank heists and elaborate confidence schemes – all co-ordinated and meticulously planned by hyper-intelligent criminal masterminds.” The Minister argues that this ‘gentrification’ of British crime could bring huge benefits – not least for the victims of crime. “Let’s be honest – who would you rather be robbed by: some East End thug in a stocking mask, or some well-dressed, well-spoken handsome sophisticate with a genuine silk handkerchief hiding the lower part of his face?” he asks. “I don’t think that there can be any doubt that the latter would be a far less traumatic experience – bank robberies, for instance, would be far pleasanter for all involved if the perpetrators were polite and courteous at all times.” He believes that the benefits of the new-style criminals the government is promoting will even be felt at the lowest end of criminality – sex crimes. “I’m sure victims of these appalling offences would appreciate being assaulted by a well turned out ‘gentleman rapist’ wearing a light cologne, rather than some sweat-drenched, leather jacketed pervert with facial piercings,” he observes.

However, Puker admits that the government is hoping that the sorts of crimes committed in future will be more sophisticated. “Rather than simply holding banks up at gunpoint, we’d like to see robbers coming up with ingenious plans to tunnel into their vaults, bypassing the security systems by complex technical means,” he muses. “It would be the same across the board – none of those dreary and depressing domestic murders, we’d rather see genius-like serial killers playing complicate mind-games with the police, for example.” Naturally, the government’s new crime proposals have been met with incredulity in many quarters. “This policy is nothing short of barking mad,” shadow home affairs spokesman Rudolph Spews says. “The very idea that you can somehow ‘improve’ crime is ludicrous! We should be aiming to reduce it, drive it to the margins of society, rather than trying to ‘upgrade’ it!” Spews’ views have been echoed by victims’ groups, the Police Federation and other anti-crime groups. Nevertheless, Puker is adamant that the changes to British crime are both overdue and entirely necessary. “It can’t go on being some kind of cottage industry – and if it is to expand then it needs to become professionalised,” he opines. “Trust me, we aren’t going to leave the reform of crime to chance – why do you think we’re calling our new elected officials Police and Crime Commissioners? Part of their role will be to actually commission crime!”

According to Puker crimes will be put out to tender under the new arrangements. “In each police force’s area the Commissioner will put to tender franchises for each main area of criminal activity – murder, extortion, bank robbery, burglary and so on,” he explains. “By setting tough criteria for bidders, we’re hopeful that we’ll get a better class of person taking over these particular crimes.” However, the existing criminal classes themselves firmly oppose the government’s new initiative, suspecting that sinister motives lie behind it. “This is obviously just another part of these Tory bastards’ war against the working classes,” says career armed robber Ron Chunder, veteran of six convictions and currently serving a seven-stretch, in a telephone interview from Parkhurst Prison. “Crime is one of the last bastions of enterprise for unskilled and semi-skilled people from the lower classes and now they want to hand control of it to middle class professionals who can supposedly run it more efficiently. Once again, they’re trying to put us back in our ‘proper place’ in the social order.” Chunder, who is currently studying for an Open University degree in sociology, is convinced that the government is seeking to make even criminal activity conform to what they believe is the natural social order. “As far as they are concerned, traditional working class criminals are only fit to do the basic low-level leg work, providing the ‘muscle’ for robberies and working as low-level drug pushers or flashers, maybe,” he says. “All the organising, management and technical aspects, not to mention the more glamourous crimes, will be done by these new middle class criminals, who, in turn, will answer to some toff of a criminal mastermind.”

Spews is highly sceptical as to whether the government’s policies will even clear their first hurdle of electing suitable candidates to be Police and Crime Commissioners. “Have you seen some of the fruit cakes who are standing?” he asks. “There’s that bloke in Middlesex, for instance, who has changed his surname to Gordon, so that if he wins, he’ll be called ‘Commissioner Gordon’. His main policy promise is to install a bat-signal on the roof of police headquarters and see which superheroes answer the call every time a crime is committed!” For his part, Puker is delighted with this news. “Costumed superheroes! What a brilliant idea! Just think of the savings in terms of police budgets we could make by using their services – they never expect to be paid, do they?” he enthuses. “You see, this is exactly the sort of innovative thinking we’re looking for!”