What do you do if you want to communicate with the great unwashed, but you just don’t know how to get down to their level? If you’re policing a pedestrian area in the Surrey town of Woking in the UK, you use a football metaphor. On cyclists. I know what you’re thinking: Yes! That makes huge, overridingly massive sense in 90ft letters of neon fire.
To talk to people who — you may not know this — have their own sport, which is called ‘cycling,’ you reference a completely different sport. Because everybody loves football, right? (US readers will know it as ‘Ugh, soccer.’) On the other hand, you probably don’t know anything about cycling. It’s emphatically not that the police don’t know anything about cycling — it’s not them, it’s you. You probably don’t even know you’re on a bike… oh wait, is that what the local filth think is the problem? [DIALS WOKING FILTH].
[ENDS CALL] They say no, it’s a more general ignorance they’re assuming. They also say they don’t like being called the ‘filth,’ which they say is like me being offside. #downwithdakidz
Rush hour in Woking is a sight to behold Hassocks5489 / Wikimedia Commons
I won’t pretend to know football, but I’m almost certain it doesn’t involve cycling. I was dragged along to ‘the match’ the other day and my commentary that ‘One of them is lying down and everyone seems upset’ didn’t get much traction with the enquiring fan who’d been looking the wrong way when it happened. And yet, it was true.
As an aside, how do you even look the wrong way at ‘the footie’ (I’m getting the hang of this)? The feetballing rectangle is tiny. You can see every dive with almost embarrassing clarity.
Thus, I state with confidence that none of the boys what done good at the end of the day were on bikes. There weren’t even any bicycle kicks… oh wait, is THIS the source of confusion? [REDIALS WOKING FUZZ].
[ENDS CALL] They say no. Seems the plod don’t like being called fuzz either. No oranges for me at half time.
It seems likely that Woking Po-Po didn’t like being called ’utterly stupid’ by the Woking Cycle Users Group, either. Chairman Norman Johns shot the whole endeavour down in two sentences flat, without once — and this is astonishing — using football to explain anything. No wonder he didn’t get anywhere.
I know this is a bit wacky, but how about talking to cyclists via the medium of… cycling? Here are a few suggestions for the Woking bizzies.
1. Hold up a giant Salbutamol inhaler. Then launch a semi-secret investigation that may or may not stop us riding there in future, but will take just forever to complete.
2. Run alongside dressed in an hilarious police-issue mankini and waving something inflatable, screaming encouragement (“EVERYBODY LOOK AT ME”) before drunkenly knocking them off and ruining everything.
3. Do 70mph past offending cyclists while leaving just three inches clearance to your police van. Those pedalling maniacs deserve nothing more.
4. Hand out ‘warning’ jerseys, such as yellow for the worst speeder, green for the points leader (one jumped red/stop light = one point) and polka dot for the King of the Rusty Supermarket Mountain Bikes.
5. Stop patronising us with football-related idiocy.
[ENDS ANOTHER CALL] So that was the Woking bizzies, calling back. Seems they don’t like being called the bizzies. And now I’ve committed too many infractions they’ve given me a red card. Yikes! I’m off.