Who’s that you might ask?
— Alan Wright (@Alanw47) December 25, 2015
On Christmas Eve I came upon the news that the Met Police Catering Service was being outsourced, in other words, privatised.
Boris has already sold off Buckingham Gate, the main ‘feeding centre’ in Central London, and canteens-a-plenty are closed or will be closed.
Let’s be honest, in the main, the food was shit, but that is not the issue here. When sent to another part of London, or held centrally ‘on reserve’ the catering service were the backbone of the Force. Who else would give you a frozen pork pie, a sandwich, an apple and a cup of hot, grey water at 4 o’clock in the morning, and do it all with a smile?
It’s an important part of Police history and in my opinion just one more nibble at breaking up the Police ‘culture’. I have lost track of the number of times my serial have been sent for ‘Snacks’ or a full meal and I’ve bumped into Smudge or Smiler who I hadn’t seen for years sometimes. You were always guaranteed to bump into somebody from your past. It may just have been a quiet chuckle seeing how far your old muckers had progressed up the greasy pole, but it was fun, equally as important, if not more so, than the actual food and drink we were being provided with.
When we were first sent to Greenham Common the catering was at Newbury Racecourse, far superior to anything the Met could provide, but it was missing that ‘something’. Eventually the Met Police Catering Service took over at Newbury and normality was restored, crap food but a fantastic atmosphere.
When things happened at short notice, e.g. a riot or similar, it took a while for the catering to roll out, but you could could always rely on a man witha smile and a battered old Tranny van, Teapot One.
So for 3 years, with the possibility of a 2 year extension, you too could tender for the MPS Catering contract. It may be cheaper, I doubt that it will be as efficient, and it’s almost certain that the ‘Service with a smile’ ethos will be missing. The knock-on effcts too are not to be underestimated. What wil all those cardiac surgeons do now with the legendary Met 999 breakfast being consigned to the bin?
As I said at the beginning, it may have been shit but it was our shit. For all the dodgy meals and frozen snacks I was ever given I wouldn’t have wanted to be without it.
All Boris, Dave and Cruella will succeed in doing is to santise a piece of MPS folklore, and consign it to the history books. Crap as it might have been, privatising it will certainly not be an improvement.
You can’t improve upon perfection.
RIP Force Feeding