Call the police! Sure. What would you like us to call them?
There are certain photographs, classically described as ‘iconic’, that define a moment in history, a generation, even an epoch. Churchill flashing his peace sign and Lennon and the Walrus flashing theirs. The Americans hoisting the Stars and Stripes at Iwo Jima and Stalin’s troops waving the hammer and sickle over Berlin. The still-grieving Queen Elizabeth II at the magnificent centre of her own coronation and Freddie Mercury of Queen, fist raised, at Live Aid. Jackie O crawling across the car on Dealey Plaza and Jack Ruby shocking the sheriff by putting a bullet through Lee Harvey O. These are images seared on every brain that has seen them.
But a new age requires new icons, new visual symbols that somehow epitomise and illustrate a rising generation and a new age. Meet DCC Swann.
Pictured above, Detective Chief Constable Swann represents Derbyshire Police force, or service, or whatever they are calling themselves this week. Having passed through the police forces of Leicester and Nottinghamshire prior to doing a Brian Clough and going to Derby, Swann has passed up through the promotional form with epic dispatch, as one might expect when appraising women in the modern workplace. Gender privilege is now an entirely female concern when it comes to professional aspiration, and the myth of male advantage is now an antique curio.
The visual image, and DCC Swann’s playful Twitter account, have of course inspired ridicule from the reality-based community, and some of them may be having their collars felt before long. Twitting a constable in public used to earn a clip round the ear with a rolled-up umbrella. Now, as Wiltshire police recently made very clear, ridiculing the police is seen as more serious than carrying a knife. The police have found a whole new method of inspiring respect and fear; they changed the definition of ‘criminal’. Brilliant, really.
We recently ran an obituary of Leonard ‘Nipper’ Read, the Kray Twins’ nemesis. A physically small man, Read was still respected and feared by the criminal brothers, the famous David Bailey photograph of whom is yet another defining icon of the 20th century. As a thought experiment, imagine the Twins now. What sort of respect do you think they would have for and what manner of fear do you think they would feel for a dwarf Billy Idol tribute act?
Authority does not exist simply in its exercise, but also in the deterrent effect of its visual impact. The Swann of Derby is unlikely to cause local drug gangs to shut up shop and take holy orders.
Of course, this is all part of a wider plan. Cultural Marxists dislike authority unless it is their sole province, and weakening the public image of the police is one sub-plot in the playbook of destroying the West. One of the keys to achieving this is not having a slot-mouthed, grizzled copper who looks like he can fight doing press conferences, but instead having as your ‘spokesperson’ someone resembling what a gonk would look like if it had been designed by Gerry ‘Thunderbirds’ Anderson.
Unless the plan to fight crime in Derbyshire revolves around a strategy of reducing the criminal classes to helpless, guffawing wrecks, we fail to see how this kind of ‘optics’- to use another modern weasel-word – can do anything but further demoralise a police force that is already taken about as seriously as a fat copper at the Notting Hill Carnival.