Police humour has always been known as macabre and and is often perceived as inappropriate, especially when the public hear it or the papers get hold of examples of it. This is no different to the military, the NHS or other emergency services and is a direct result of the level of pressure regularly endured from shifts, disruption to family life and of course, to the types of incidents we deal with. An equal level of 'release' is needed to counter it, otherwise the pressure turns to stress, and that's not good.
It's another form of disassociation and a coping mechanism and usually takes the form of a bit of pissing about during work time, or making light of situations that you really shouldn't get caught making light of, or it could just be a bit of venting. As unhealthy as people think it is (that 'evil' canteen culture again...) the alternative is you'd just end up doing your head in - quite literally in some unfortunate cases. Being able to have a laugh and a joke is as essential as being properly trained to deal with the given situations you are expected to attend, and helps the team to get along and bond well, which is essential in our job.
Thanks to mobiles and the ease of being able to record anything and everything I've seen and heard lots of examples of 'destressing' that would look awful on the front page of a newspaper, simply because people either don't get it, or don't think we should be having a laugh at work. The vids that the Daily Mail got from facebook of someone being cuffed to a chair in the writing room, or a DPG officer doing a silly walk and falling over are absolutely nothing, but as I said if you can't take a minute or two to relax and have a laugh then you'll lose it. What also didn't surprise me was the complete hypocrisy of some of the commentators about sharing a joke with colleagues during work time, along with the usual "is this what we pay our taxes for...." comments.
The following is a recording that has been doing the rounds for a while, I guess it's from the US given the accent and terminology and just goes to show that the run of the mill rubbish aimed at the Police over here is universal.
"Hello, you've reached the Police Departments voicemail. Please pay close attention as we update options regularly, as new and unusual circumstances arise.
Please select one of the following options -
To whine about us not doing anything to solve a problem that you created, press 1
To enquire whether someone has to die before we'll do something about a problem, press 2
To report an officer for bad manners when in reality the officer is just trying to keep your neighbourhood safe, press 3
If you'd like us to raise your children for you, press 4
If you'd like us to take control of your life, due to your chemical dependency, press 5
If you'd like us to instantly restore order to a situation that took years to deteriorate, press 6
To provide a list of officers you personally know, so that we will not take enforcement action against you, press 7
To sue us, or tell us you pay our salary and will have our badge OR to proclaim our career is over, press 8
To whine about a ticket AND/OR to complain about the many other uses for police other than keeping your dumb ass in line, press 9
Your call may be recorded to ensure proper customer care and support, and please remember we're paid to save your butts, not kiss them.
Thank you for calling you local Police Department, and have a nice day"