Sympathy but resigning was the only option

Thornton on Thursday column with Peterborough Telegraph's deputy editor Nigel Thornton - peterboroughtoday.co.uk

Thornton on Thursday column with Peterborough Telegraph's deputy editor Nigel Thornton - peterboroughtoday.co.uk

I have sympathy for Andy Coles who has resigned from his role as deputy police and crime commissioner.

Peterborough City Councillor Mr Coles, so the allegations say, was an undercover officer for the Metropolitan Police and infilitrated an animal rights group.

He allegedly befriended a 19-year-old woman who was a member of the group and deceived her into a sexual relationship.

Mr Coles said he is unable to comment on the allegations and in the circumstances of the ongoing legal action IPCC enquiry, resigning was the only option. If the allegations are well founded, then a line would have been crossed But even if they turn out to be true, I would find it hard to condemn him totally.

Sometimes police officers, servicemen and those in other security forces (okay I’ll say it, spooks) do dark things in the name of keeping us safe.

That doesn’t mean that standards of human decency, let alone the law, can be ignored, but areas become greyer and lines become blurred.

If the claims are true, I’m surprised that someone in his position would decide to lead such a public life. If he had remained ‘just’ a Peterborough city councillor his past might not have been an issue. After all, given the sorry record of a few Peterborough city councillors who have brought the city and the council into disrepute with their bad, and in some cases criminal, behaviour, Mr Coles would be far from the worst ‘offender’.

Mind you if he was caught cycling down Bridge Street or became homeless I’m sure that would be a different matter!

The big problem in Mr Coles’ situation is that he accepted a key role within the police establishment. That was surely a misjudgement.

As skeletons in cupboards go it would be a T-Rex sized one. We wait now to see the full fall-out from this episode. Jason Ablewhite, the police and crime commissioner, is saying nothing, and with an inquiry under way this is fair enough.

But he will have to comment and answer questions sooner or later and whether or not there is any basis to the allegations, the key one will be ‘did you know?’

The assumption must be that he didn’t and hopefully, for the sake of the unloved office of the police and crime commissioner, that will prove to be the case.

The computer says

The Missing The Point award this week goes to the communications team at Peterborough City Hospital.

PT reporter: “We’ve heard about a cyber attack which has closed down computers in hospitals across the country, are you affected?’’

Communicator: “We’re a bit busy, can you send us an e-mail?’’

Comedy gold.

Chore wars

A bit like Theresa May and him indoors me and Mrs T have boy and girl jobs.

Whether I do my fair share of household chores is open to debate but I don’t think it’s fair that Mrs T doesn’t count any jobs that involve my power washer. She reckons that’s pleasure not work.

Sugar baddy

I know the police are busy – a brief look at the shocking rise in crime in the city will tell you that – but I’m a little baffled about their response to the extraordinary incident at the city’s passport office last week.

The discovery of white powder sparked huge response from police, fire and ambulance, a cordon was put in place and staff were quarantined.

Thankfully the offending substance turned out to be sugar.

A police spokesman said it was believed there was no malicious intent and they would not be speaking to the person who sent the application.

Who was the ‘investigating officer? Pc Mystic Meg?

How do they know there was no malicious intent without talking to the guilty party?

Presumably the name and contact details were on the application so it couldn’t have been too time consuming to send a bobby round.

I’m not saying the sugar baddy should be locked up and the key thrown away but considering the disruption and not insignificant cost of the emergency response I would have thought a ticking off from someone in uniform was called for.

Nappy days

Are you fed up of the election campaign yet? To cheer you up my here’s my favourite election joke: Political parties and nappies have one thing in common. They should both be changed regularly, and for the same reason.

Diary Of A Bad Dad

You’ve heard of Bucket Lists where people set out things they want to do before they pop their clogs.

I don’t have one, but I do have what I call a Bin List – which are things I never want to do again for the rest of my life.

There was a new entry to my Bin List last weekend when I took part in a fun run at Schoolgirl T’s school.

The whole family turned up but Toddlernator the Terribe, full of energy as he is, would find the 2.5km course too much to handle.

The original plan was to push him in his pushchair, but, as it proved trickier than getting a serial killer in an electric chair, we abandoned that idea.

“It’s okay,’’ I said, “I’ll pop him on my shoulders and he can run with me.’’

Mistake, big mistake. The first 100 yards were okay even though he thought it was hilarious to put his hands over my eyes.

After that it was an uphill struggle – even the downhill bits. Trying to look cool, even when my cheeks were redder than a very red thing, I must be the first person to ever hit the wall in a fun run.

As Mrs T and Schoolgirl greeted us at the finish line I expected a “Well done, you’re our hero’’ welcome.

Instead Mrs T said: “Silly old sod, you could have dropped dead!’’