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5:39pm on Saturday, 29th May, 2010:



Last week, police in Northern Ireland were involved in an incident in which youths threw bottles at their vehicle. The police played "ice cream van" music over their car's public address system, in an effort to use humour to defuse the situation.

It worked.

However, the police officer whose idea it was has been hauled up before a senior officer on the grounds that it was "not an appropriate action". The local Sinn Fein Councillor said: "The PSNI are put on the streets to do a serious job and that is to keep order on the streets and face down anti-social elements. This is like a sick joke."

What? What?! The police are there to keep order. They kept order, and, furthermore, probably endeared themselves to the youths who had been lobbing bricks at their car. Instead of fostering an "us and them" attitude, they showed awareness, imagination and aptitude. I'd be giving the officer concerned a commendation, not a talking-to.

It would seem that it's not only games that suffer from the pronouncements of killjoys who can't see that fun and seriousness do mix.

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Copyright © 2010 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).