No Christmas turkey for jailbirds

Festive greetings ... PC Richard Buckley with a West Midlands Police Christmas card

by Ben Glass
December 18

COPS in Coventry are fighting crime … with Christmas cards.

In a quirky campaign 800 crooks have been given cards inspired by the popular Marks and Spencer TV adverts.

They read: ‘This is not just any Christmas dinner … this is a West Midlands Police Christmas dinner.’

Instead of a luscious meal there is a picture of a sloppy mess in a plastic tray.

Chief Inspector Mark Payne said: “We looked at innovative ways to get the message across to our most prolific offenders that if they commit crime they will be locked up over Christmas.

“They can either have a nice Christmas dinner at home or they can have a Christmas dinner with us.

“Each of the offenders is visited and given the card and it acts as a reminder that they are subject to increased police attention.

“It’s a reminder that there are other options. There are other lifestyles. We can offer them advice on education, housing, etc.”

Something for the mantelpiece? The front of the Christmas card
Perhaps not ...Inside the Christmas card
Chf Insp Payne reckons statistics show police need to target serial offenders.

He said: “Fifty percent of crime is committed by five percent of offenders which means if we target that five percent it will have a significant impact on crime.

“We’ve had a variety of reactions from offenders. Some really want to change their behaviour.

“Some have thought of it as a joke. But I can tell you from the experience of working on Christmas Day that it’s no fun.

“Of all the days in the year you don’t want to be locked up it’s Christmas Day.”

The force obtained permission from Marks and Spencer to use the advert. The company declined to comment.

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