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14 July 2005

The Da Vinci Code

I am currently reading this book and almost at the end. The book is very hard to put down and grabbs you attention right from the start. It does have one very significant flaw, however, that has nothing to do with religion. It was written by an American who seems to proport to understand the English. In particular, the English Police. Dan Brown has obviously spent many long hours researching the main subject of the book but he failed to research London and our police forces.
First - Biggin Hill is covered by the MET police not Kent (I know, I was a Kent officer). The Police boundaries do not follow the county boundaries around London.
Second - you do not get a view of the 'London Skyline' or the London eye travelling from Biggin Hill by car. Unlike New York that stands out distinctly from the countryside around it London just slowly grows out of the urban sprawl. The only place you do get a good view of the London Skyline from this area is from the north side of Bigging Hill airfield itself on a clear day but the London eye is not visible. You do however, get a view of the skyline and the eye if you travell into London by train which is no doubt how the author travelled if he visited.
OK, so that is artistic licence that I can overlook but what annoys me more is that most Americans cannot accept the fact the British police do not make arrests with firearms which brings me onto my third point -
It is possible the police might have sent an armed response to the airfield if they suspected firearms were on the plane but they would not have drawn them unless given the orders to do so by a senior officer. The armed officers would be there as back-up for the regular guys who would be there to make the arrest. There is no way an officer would pull a weapon on a member of the public or suspect unless that person appeared to be armed. Teabing would have been arrested as he walked to the Limo for Obstruction and had he resisted he would have been taken hold of manually and cuffed. No weapons needed. As for the arrest of Silas in the Opus Dai building, well, that was totally ludicrous. I can't imagine the police would have been allowed to enter the HQ of Opus Dai armed and without a warrant as it is a religoius building and therefore a santuary. The police do not make arrests in the house of god and certainly would not use firearms. Making arrests at gunpoint is an extreem last resort and letting off weapons willy nilly certainly wouldn't happen. We don't have the 'Shoot first, ask question after' mentallity over here.
NB - I was a police officer for 20 years and often worked without a crew member. I faced a number of incidents that involved firearms but never carried a weapon of any sort myself. Not even a truncheon. I was happy that way. I hope this blog gets read by some Americans.
Apart from that - great book.