Farewell Inspector Gadget

Monday Books, 11th March 2013

Farewell, Inspector Gadget.

Gadget has blogged his* last.

He first started the Police Inspector Blog in 2006 – inspired, as it happens, by another Monday Books author, PC David Copperfield, who wrote Wasting Police Time and created the now-defunct Coppersblog.

Few blogs last anything like that long – certainly not when they’re updated two or three times a week.

As a result of his efforts, he has received nearly 13 million hits.

I remember first meeting him, in a little restaurant not far from Euston Station; he was full of ideas for how the legal system could be changed, and how the poor, weak and elderly on his patch could be protected from the depredations of nasty, recidivist criminals. Few of his ideas have been adopted; common-sense never got anyone a QPM.

We published his book, Perverting the Course of Justice, not long after that first meeting. It has sold well, if not as well as Copperfield’s, but sales – for the sake of sales – were never Gadget’s main motivation, and I have never paid a penny to him for having written it.

Like WPT and PC E E Bloggs’ Diary of an On-Call Girl, the idea was to get politicians and voters to wake up to the realities of life on Britain’s worst housing estates, in an era when many senior coppers were becoming more adept at spin than in catching serious criminals.

He has written on a number of occasions for the national press and has spoken a fair bit to the BBC. It’s hard to exaggerate the risk he was taking in doing this. In the police, speaking out can cost you your job.

He’s been traduced by people like Nick ‘he is not an Inspector’ Herbert, and is a figure of hate for others.

I’m not sure why this is, when what he does as a day job is to recover dead children from car accidents, cut suicides down from tree branches or goalposts in the park, and try to catch distraction burglars who suck the wedding rings from the fingers of elderly widows. (The spit helps the rings to slide off more easily.)

I know from talking to him that it has become harder and harder to say something new on his blog.

I didn’t agree with him on everything, though on policing matters I deferred to his experience and knowledge. He let me win on publishing, northern soul and cricket. Beer and rugby were a draw.

He is and will remain a very good friend.

Vale, Gadget.

*Or hers.