Climb ev’ry mountain

Two police officers, Mr and Mrs Rathod, have been sacked for having “shared misleading information” and “brought disrepute to the Maharashtra Police Department” by claiming they were the first Indian couple to climb Mount Everest. Suspicions were aroused because of the speed with which they called a news conference after claiming to have reached the summit, and photos that appeared to show them in two different sets of clothes and boots while on the climb.

Aug 9, 2017

Two police officers, Mr and Mrs Rathod, have been sacked for having “shared misleading information” and “brought disrepute to the Maharashtra Police Department” by claiming they were the first Indian couple to climb Mount Everest. Suspicions were aroused because of the speed with which they called a news conference after claiming to have reached the summit, and photos that appeared to show them in two different sets of clothes and boots while on the climb. The relevant Nepalese authorities have banned them from mountaineering for ten years, and they may also face further charges, which could well include them being off their beats while on the mountain, if indeed they ever were on the mountain, and if indeed they ever had beats. The behaviour of the officers is indeed discreditable, but it is also a part of a rich policing tradition in which officers, mostly senior officers at that, claim they have reached incredible heights and made stupendous achievements while they were actually sat in an office drinking tea. Meanwhile, an 18-year-old shoplifter in Toronto caught stealing a dress shirt, tie and socks for a job interview has been given a second chance by Constable Niran Jeyanesan, who was sent to arrest him but decided to purchase the items and release him instead. Sergeant Paul Bois has praised the officer’s actions, saying: “Arresting him wouldn’t have been in the best interests of anyone… it reiterates our goal of being positive role models in the community.” Bois thus becomes the first police sergeant in the history of the service to be caught using the word ‘reiterates’. The Canadian approach to dealing with shoplifting through acts of sponsored kindness is in marked contrast to the recent experience of PC Martin Rothwell, who paid £2 on behalf of a man who had stolen snacks from a Poundland store in Chesterfield. Martin found himself subject to disciplinary action, which cost Derbyshire Constabulary thousands of pounds. At the end of the proceedings the chair of the hearing, Barrister Nahied Asjad, announced the findings of the panel. At first, things looked promising, as she announced that his actions “did not amount to a cover-up,” and he was a “credit to the force”. Things took a turn for the worse when she accused the generous officer of “unorthodoxy”, always a trait confused with innovation. She then gave him a written warning, rather than a commendation. He must have been disappointed. There are, of course, limits to the phenomenon of officers paying for stolen goods. They will eventually run out of money, and it will never work for thefts of motor vehicles. How are we to deal with these philanthropic outbursts? An in-depth financial analysis has clearly demonstrated that one disciplinary hearing is far more expensive than a truckload of biscuits, so perhaps there is a middle road to be followed. Many stores are now so uncertain about what the police will do when they respond to shoplifting incidents that they have taken to issuing fixed penalty tickets, and pursuing offenders through the civil courts. At least they have a decent idea of what the bailiffs will do. Finally, to conclude a theme in which officers are accused of being in wrong places while doing wrong things, a special constable in Merseyside is accused of claiming expenses by exaggerating claims for parading for duty and completing training programmes. It is alleged that some of them did not take place on the days in question, and that some of them may not have existed. This is why distance learning was invented; while its effectiveness is dubious it takes an innovative, sorry unorthodox, officer to make an expenses claim for studies completed in their back bedroom. Yours, Stitch

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