Police Inspector Blog was a blog that ran from 15 June 2006 to 13 March 2013 by an anonymous officer using the pseudonym Inspector Gadget. This was after the author (a UK police Inspector — approximately equivalent to US police Lieutenant rank) attended a training seminar that he felt was “60 mind numbing minutes of complete nonsense” and wished to remark upon the fact that his force had wasted their time like this. Surprised by the amount of readers and comments this posting got, the officer went on to regularly update the blog with information that he sees as ludicrous or farcical in either his force or any of the UK’s others. As of December 2012 the blog has received over 12 million visitors and has a merchandising range with the slogans “Doughnuts and Diversity”, “You Couldn’t Make It Up” and “I should be out catching rapists and murderers”.
Inspector Gadget works in an unnamed force (rumoured to be in the south of England) and is also the author of the memoir Perverting the Course of Justice: The Crazy World of the War on Crime. The blog is one of a number of “whistle blowers” that have inspired books that lift the lid on the bureaucracy and frustration that many police officers face in the UK.
In a post dated 16 February 2012 Inspector Gadget stated that, in the 6 years of the blog’s existence (up to that date), the story that “signals the end of British policing as we know it” has finally been found. This concerned Denise Milani, Director of the Diversity and Citizen Focus Directorate for the London Metropolitan Police. On 15 February she had emailed police officers and staff in the Met, asking them to write a poem for International Women’s day 2012. One stipulation was that poems should focus on “creating a gender sensitive working environment”. The winner of the competition will win “the opportunity to discuss the ‘Gender Agenda’ over ‘elevenses’ with the Denise Milani in her office at New Scotland Yard on 8 March 2012”. Over 900 comments were received on this post in just 4 days. On 17 February 2012 the Daily Mail published an article about the story.
Gadget has been mentioned in British newspapers such as the Daily Mail and The Sun and on TV in such shows as Have I Got News For You after a “sandwichgate” story where Lincolnshire police had e-mailed officers advising them of the correct temperature to keep their sandwiches while on duty. Lincolnshire police Chief Constable Richard Crompton later apologised in the media for this.
Despite animosity in the media from UK senior police officers, Tim Godwin former Deputy Commissioner of the London Metropolitan Police started his own blog in May 2011 and opened it with a posting that stated ‘I’m not quite Inspector Gadget’.
In Spring 2012, a new book entitled Wasting MORE Police Time: Further Adventures in La La Land was published by Monday Books. This is a sequel in name only to former PC David Copperfield’s biography Wasting Police Time. It has contributions from Inspector Gadget as well as many other serving and former police officers writing anonymously. In June 2012 “Gadget” was named as a Sgt in Sussex based in Chichester in a blog written by a full Colonel in the Resistance in UK living abroad. On 22 December 2012 Nick Herbert a Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) for Arundel and South Downs, wrote an article in the Guardian entitled “Britain’s police must reform or lose respect and trust.” In it he mentioned Inspector Gadget’s blog, referring to it as “silly” and stating “he is not an inspector”. This was mainly in response to Gadget’s postings concerning disgraced former Tory Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell, who was forced to resign after swearing at Downing Street police officers in what became known as ‘Plebgate‘. Inspector Gadget’s publisher Monday Books wrote a letter to both the Observer and Nick Herbert asking them to amend the line about Gadget not being an inspector. The statement was not retracted.
On March 11, 2013 Inspector Gadget blogged what he said was to be his final post. The announcement was more fully fleshed out on his publisher Monday Books’s blog. Reasons were not forthcoming but the final blog entry contained Gadget’s favourite quotes (including the one above from Tim Godwin) and the lyrics from “Knives Out” by Radiohead. The following day the blog’s entries were deleted as far back as June 2012 and on 13 March the site was completely removed from the Web. This created much speculation that he had been ‘outed’, enquiries by a fellow blogger shijuronotgeorgedixon.wordpress.com confirmed that this was not the case and he had, in fact, retired.
A copy of Inspector Gadget’s blog posts can be found on EmergencyShorts.co.uk