The earliest recorded version of this well-known phrase can be found in the 1806 edition of “The European Magazine and London Review” (published by The Philological Society of Great Britain – www.philsoc.org.uk) . An article in the journal quotes a market trader saying, “there’s one fool born every minute”. The trader is using the expression to describe those of his customers who are prepared to unwittingly buy his damaged or inferior goods.
Fast forward over two centuries and as well as spawning a line of TV programmes, the original phrase still brings a light-hearted familiarity to those of us working in the police service when we consider those not so clever individuals that break the law. As an example, in the last week a young man in Lancashire has been convicted of robbery after he tried to rob a convenience store where the woman behind the till was his own mother-in-law – she instantly recognised him despite his crude attempts at a disguise.
Elsewhere, fresh from a robbery at a Tesco store in Kings Lynn, the IT savvy criminal took to Facebook to boast of his crime – much to the delight of local detectives.
In London we have our own brand of criminals who are the masters of their own demise. This week a drug dealer from Brent, was sentenced to 11 years in prison for conspiracy to supply Class A drugs. The investigating officers were helped by a selfie this young man had taken where he was surrounded by £250,000 in cash which he then proceeded to post on Twitter, tagged #ilovemyjob$$$$. Fortunately, we also have people who love every minute of their job.
Staying in Brent, the ‘one born every minute’ phrase took on a literal meaning for two officers on routine patrol in Harlesden. The officers were flagged down by a distressed father-to-be whose wife was in labour in the back of his car. He asked the officers to drive his wife to the hospital in their police car. However, the expectant mother was already in the final stages of labour and so the officers took up the challenge and successfully delivered the baby boy right there in the back of the car. Later one of the officers said, “The best thing about being a police officer is you don’t know what is around the next corner”.
Whilst delivering a baby is not part of a police officer’s standard training, the Police Now Summer Institute does include topics such as:
- Making the Best Decisions Under Pressure
- Using the Evidence Base of What Works to Reduce Crime, and
- Using Social Media to Communicate with Communities.
Each of these topics will help ensure that the Police Now candidates are equipped to succeed as they join the illustrious ranks of the Metropolitan Police Service.
In March we held the Spring Induction for participants joining our first Summer Institute in July. If you want to see more about the Spring Induction weekend take a look at this YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tc9A9qANFyg&feature=youtu.be