Neighbourhood snooping

There’s nothing new about neighbourhood snooping, the latest wheeze from local government. Council officers all over the country have been at it for some time already …

snooping“Excuse me, Sir. As you can see from the laminated card I am now showing you, I am a member of the council’s squad of highly trained anti-smoking monitors and I’ve just seen you lighting a cigarette in this bus shelter which constitutes an enclosed place. I am therefore duty bound to levy an on-the-spot fine of £50.”

“Not so fast, my friend. This is a decoy cigarette. I’d lit it to lure you out into the open as I suspected, rightly, that you were about to spit your chewing gum out on to the pavement. Opening my overcoat, I can reveal that I’m wearing the fluorescent jacket which is the uniform of an officer in the council’s Pavement Clean Up Brigade. There is a standard fine of £50. Most major credit cards accepted.”

“Sorry to interrupt you two gentlemen. This silver star on my lapel indicates that I am one of the council’s team of obesity tsars. I am exercising my powers to ask you both to remove your belts, so I can check the notches to see if you have let them out. The flat rate fine is £50 per notch which can be added to your council tax. You will also be required to go on a course.”

“Aha! I expect you three chaps thought I was just a little old lady with her shopping. In fact I am a crack undercover member of the council’s Child Safety Patrol. If you give me a moment, I have my maroon peaked cap with gold braid somewhere in my bag. You two gentlemen are committing a statutory offence by having your trousers round your ankles in public within a five kilometre radius of a school. There will be a fine and we accept euros.”

“Good morning madam and gentlemen. As you can see from my important-looking clipboard I am conducting a survey for the council’s healthy eating campaign. I am checking if you’ve had any of your five pieces of fruit today. I regret there will be a fine for anything less than the equivalent of three bananas or 39 grapes. You will be required to state times of fruit consumption and give names of witnesses, where possible. I will write the information on my clipboard using this special ballpoint pen marked with the website address of the council.”

“Freeze! Drop the pen and step forward with your hands above your head. You two with your trousers round your ankles, don’t make a move. And you, madam, in the maroon peaked cap with gold braid, keep your hands away from your shopping basket. You with the silver star, step back from those belts. You all assumed I was an ordinary seller of The Big Issue but, as you can see by the natty badge in this wallet, I am a highly trained plain clothes officer charged by the council to hunt down people in the street with dangerous sharp objects. These include unlicensed ballpoint pens. A licence for a pen costs £50. I am authorised to issue receipts.”

“Hi, folks, can you spare a minute of your time? I’m part of the council’s dental hygiene crackdown. That’s why I’m wearing this white coat with my name badge on it. As you can see, I’m Julie. Now what I want you all to do is blow into my special electronic device here so I can test the freshness of your breath. You with the natty badge and copies of The Big Issue can go first. I should mention there is a £100 fine for non-cooperation, but only a £50 penalty if your breath registers as fetid on my little device.”

“Well, well, well, I see there are seven of you here. That constitutes an unlawful gathering, likely to stir up unease, unrest or other unpleasantness. You could also be members of a gang planning to go and hang round council property, harassing hard-pressed council employees.”

“You may think that I am the mere driver of a mere 91 bus that has just pulled up at this bus shelter, but you are wrong. Driving buses is just my cover. I am an accredited member of the council’s gang-busting squad. I have been on a course and I have this framed diploma to prove it. You must all board the bus now and I will take you to the depot where you will be processed, counselled and fined. Please note that smoking is not permitted in any part of this vehicle.”

4 thoughts on “Neighbourhood snooping

  1. How does one check if a subject (for we are not citizens, contrary to sloppy modern usage) has had his/her 5-a-day? All sorts of unsavoury ideas are flitting through my mind. The Council’s Poo-buster Squad – coming to a loo near you…

  2. Brilliant–as usual: Must admit the above sounds like a typical day any street in singapore—-its almost a crime to breathe there:

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