Fourteen thousand dollars?

For some fucking plywood cutout policemen that are promptly stolen?

We’ll call him Constable Cut-Out, a plywood policeman poised on the edge of the Monash Freeway near Doveton to scare the speed off passing motorists.

Cut-Out was one of nine flat-pack flatfoots commissioned by the Transport Accident Commission, at a cost of $13,500, to drive home the message that a police officer would be around every corner at Christmas time.

Not so much flat foots as flat everything.

Because of bad weather, only four were put out on the beat last week. Now, just three remain on active duty.

Less than a day after he was deployed, Cut-Out was, well, nicked – loaded into the back of someone’s ute and driven off.

”I think they might have become collectors’ items,” said TAC spokeswoman Amanda Bavin ruefully.

Well, who could possibly have foreseen that happ…

It’s not the first time policing has made it into the second dimension – it’s been tried in Britain, the US, Ireland and Poland…

Ah, yes. And they had a few nicked as well if I recall.

… but it is a first for Victoria. And thefts were not unexpected.

But they went ahead and blew $13,500 on them anyway?

In fact, the wooden walloper was just the latest TAC asset relieved of duty in the dead of night. People used to steal the trailers that held the billboards, until alarms were installed. Then they’d steal the solar panels that power the lights. The signage operator, Media Banc is in the process of installing video cameras. Perhaps they will film themselves being stolen. ”But we’re talking about it,” says Mr Thompson, ”and for the $1500 the sign cost, a story in The Sunday Age is well worth the theft.”

No it fucking isn’t. The Age will run the story every time there’s a crash anyway, automatically giving you publicity and a platform in proportion to the need (you’ll waste the opportunity by wittering on about speed limits as if that was all that mattered, but that’s by the by). So the publicity gain is pretty minimal and may even be outweighed by the fact that everyone in Victoria now knows there are some cutouts out there instead of real cops. And what if it hadn’t been half-inched? No story and worse, no extra traffic enforcement ability because, in case I need to remind you, it’s just a fucking cutout. The worst and most inattentive driver in the state could go pirouetting right past the bloody thing and it wouldn’t take any action because it’s as wooden as Keanu Reeves in The Devil’s Advocate. Maybe more so.

Still, at least once the bloody things have all been nicked or destroyed the police can get back to work and… oh, wait, no.

As for Cut-Out, the good news is that his abduction was reported to the three-dimensional police. And they are in hot pursuit.


Posted on December 5, 2010, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Fourteen thousand dollars?.

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