Two police items in the news.
First up, a bunch of riot police took a riot shield out and put it to good use. As a toboggan. They found a nicely slippery hill and slid down it.
They will face re-education because riot shields are not to be abused in this way. They are for battering people, and using them in harmless recreation will just embarrass them. Those protestors might later poke fun at the shields and hurt their feelings.
Okay, they were on duty so they were in the wrong to go off sliding down hills but if they are riot police and there are no riots, it's not a particularly huge deal to my mind. It's not as if Hell's Grannies were running riot in Milton Keynes at the time, ramraiding for Sanatogen, cat food and slippers on their mobility scooters. Yes, they were in the wrong but look at it another way.
It was a brilliant piece of PR, especially since they agreed to be filmed by a bystander. They showed themselves as ordinary human beings who like a bit of fun, something it's hard to imagine from a lot of the stories out there.
The second story is not such good police PR. The new Chief Constable of South Wales Police is scared to go to the shops on his own. There are some wonderful derisory comments from an underling. There is no way this man can command the respect of beat officers if he has to have his shopping collected 'for security reasons'. What a weed.
As for public perception, well, what would you think of your local chief constable's ability to control the local thugs and other low-life if he's scared to visit the shops in daylight? He can't even protect himself and you're paying him to protect you? Little old ladies and small children go to those shops on their own. The Boss of the local police is scared to do the same. Not exactly a PR coup.
So a bunch of coppers go for a bit of a sledge when things are quiet, stage an excellent bit of police PR, and they get in trouble for it. Meanwhile a copper who likes to hide under the table gets promoted to Chief Constable.
Someone, somewhere, should reconsider the current priorities of the force.