What a joke! Comedy police officer quits after being rapped for non-PC gags on his satirical blog
- Senior detective Paul Byrne was forced to take his ‘offensive’ comedy blog down
- His blog, intended as ‘light satire, upset his sensitive bosses at the Met Police
- Mr Byrne, based at Ealing, West London, was given ‘formal management action’
- He has since taken early retirement and now plans to pursue comedy full-time
A senior detective has quit the Metropolitan Police after being disciplined for making ‘gentle’ police jokes on his satirical comedy blog.
Detective Inspector Paul Byrne was at the forefront of London’s fight against knife crime and worked on numerous murder investigations during an unblemished 25-year career.
But his blog entitled A Guide To The British Police and intended as ‘light satire’ upset his sensitive bosses, who believed it damaged the force’s public image.
Mr Byrne, who was based at Ealing, West London, had permission to pursue comedy writing and stand-up performing. He was given ‘formal management action’ over his blog – which he described as a rap over the knuckles
In one section, Mr Byrne joked: ‘Today’s policing is… short, ever since the height restrictions were abolished to provide employment outside panto season.’
The 47-year-old, who took early retirement a fortnight ago, said: ‘They tried to suggest this was offensive to small people and that other observations were offensive.
‘But there were no complaints from the public or from fellow officers. You would need something wrong with you to think the blog was serious or anything other than a humorous take on policing.’
Police officers can take on additional employment outside their working hours with approval from their force.
In one section, Mr Byrne joked: ‘Today’s policing is… short, ever since the height restrictions were abolished to provide employment outside panto season’ [File photo]
Mr Byrne, who was based at Ealing, West London, had permission to pursue comedy writing and stand-up performing.
‘I started the blog not to make money but as an indulgence, just for my own amusement,’ he said.
‘I was also doing a bit of stand-up. I decided to make the blog public and it was extremely well-received. But then I received a phone call from a chief inspector warning me to take the post down because it had annoyed senior management.’
Mr Byrne reluctantly agreed to do so but was then told he would still face disciplinary measures.
He was given ‘formal management action’ – which he described as a rap over the knuckles.
His blog begins: ‘This is a guide to policing in the real world… The police contain two sorts of people – men and women. I have worked with both during my career.
‘Police officers can be readily identified by other police officers. The trick is to look for the ones balancing a silly pointy hat on their head. Others will have a variety of pips and crowns or stripes on their shoulders designating rank.
‘The higher the rank, the higher the level of self-regard. You are promoted by people with even higher levels of self-regard than your own.’
Mr Byrne said a senior officer highlighted ‘offensive’ passages during a disciplinary interview.
In one, he wrote: ‘Officers at airports are given guns which they use to indicate where Gate 17 is before going for a lie-down.’
Offensive? Sexist? Judge for yourself
Forget the laughing policeman – Met chiefs were left stony-faced by Paul Byrne’s blog, forcing him to quit the force.
But was his arresting humour guilty of causing offence? Judge for yourself…
‘You have to have a grey beard to do this job. Stick-on beards are acceptable for female officers since 2012 when they were recognised as an under-represented group in Royalty Protection.’
‘A colleague spent ten hours… watching a drug dealer’s address. Exiting the van, he was surprised to see “police surveillance van” spray-painted [on] the side. The van remained in use as no one could agree what budget a re-spray should come from.’
‘The murder squad never close a case. They just forget about the ones they haven’t solved. The more wooden officers get to go on Crimewatch and say “Yes Kirsty, that’s right” for no reason.’
‘The Directorate of Professional Standards targets corrupt officers. Whenever a DPS officer visits, everyone sits silently and deletes their internet history… DPS officers sleep soundly knowing they are not as unpopular as Traffic Officers.’
This, he said, was ‘completely harmless, but I was told, ludicrously, that people might believe armed officers need to lie down after giving directions.’
Mr Byrne added: ‘While kids are being stabbed to death on the streets of London, senior management were wasting time disciplining me over a comedy blog which, if anything, was helping to make police seem more human.
‘The Met Police is obsessed with its corporate image, meeting targets and ticking boxes. After the disciplinary action, I decided to bring forward my retirement.’
He now plans to pursue comedy full-time and has reposted his blog with the headline: ‘This blog post was BANNED by the Metropolitan Police!’
A spokesman for Scotland Yard said: ‘The content of a personal blog, written by a serving Met officer, was reviewed after concerns were raised internally.
‘The blog was taken down and management action in the form of words of advice was given.’
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