I Take My Hat Off To You
Chief Inspector McSwiggan arrived at Ballymena RUC station for his first day
in charge, and gathered the entire contingent together for a lecture on riot control
and crowd dispersal.
'I'm sure you all realise that we could be faced with a long hot summer of riots
over this new Public Order Order, he said. 'So I've asked headquarters to send
us twenty armoured Land-rovers, 500 plastic bullet guns and 100,000 baton rounds
for crowd-dispersal purposes.'
'Waste of time,' came a muttered voice from the back of the room.
'Stand up that man!' roared the chief inspector. 'What is your name, constable?'
'Bloggs, sir,' said Constable Bloggs, shuffling to his feet.
'So, Bloggs,' said the chief inspector, 'you think it's a waste of time sending
for all this extra and very necessary equipment which could very well save the
lives of you and your fellow officers in an emergency?'
'I do, sir.'
'Well, Bloggs. Let us imagine for a moment that you are standing alone in the
middle of Ballymena, confronted by an angry crowd of 10,000, hurling petrol bombs,
bricks and the spare wheels of Volvos. How exactly would you got about dispersing
'I would take off my hat, sir, and threaten to pass it round.'