Speaking at a press conference following publication of an Independent Police Complaints Commission report condemning the ineptitude of the Eastern Counties Police Force, Chief Constable Paul Kingsley admitted that there had been more focus on image than on tracking down the illegal migrant worker crime ring that the task team was intended to pursue.
Defending his actions, Kingsley was anxious to stress that the police were not institutionally publicist and explained that it was important to find a code name for an operation.
‘We wanted a name the officers could identify with such as Yewtree, which serving officers were proud to be associated with, except for the guilty ones that is. After several meetings, we finally came up with Broadchurch, only to find that a TV series of the same name was in production.’
Kingsley continued, ‘Our procedures state that in the event of the failure of a team to agree an operational name, then the first two initials of the Chief’s Christian name and surname should be used to form a code word, but my Deputy, Nigel Garwood pointed out how inappropriate my names would be; then we noticed that Nigel’s name was equally inappropriate, so the secondary procedure has to be shelved too.’
‘Eventually we had to call in consultants who brainstormed various names, or ‘concepts’ as they called them before arriving at the name of Operation Plod, which they described as ‘ironic’. Some of us weren’t that sure about this, but they convinced us that their fee was great value as it included the setting up of a dedicated twitter account, a Facebook page, as well as stationary and complimentary biros.’
The Independent Police Complaints Commission’s report described the consultant’s final £250,000 charge as ‘daylight robbery’.