Room 101

Room 101 means many things to many people but normally it comes down to a choice of two common meanings;

1. Room 101 is a place introduced in the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell. It is a torture chamber in the Ministry of Love in which the Party attempts to subject a prisoner to his or her own worst nightmare, fear or phobia. The novel’s popularity has resulted in the term “Room 101” being used to represent a place where unpleasant things are done, like the Home Office perhaps?

2. Room 101 is a BBC comedy television series based on the radio series of the same name, in which celebrities are invited to discuss their pet hates and persuade the host to consign them to a fate worse than death in Room 101, named after the torture room in the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, which is itself named after a meeting room in Broadcasting House where Orwell would sit through tedious meetings

I have to say that I quite like the TV show and was reminded of it recently by a conversation on Twitter.

So let’s play a quick game of Room 101;

“Contestant 1, what would you like to send to Room 101?”

“Police Reform. David Camoron told Theresa May who told Tom Winsor what Police Reform should look like. Tom Winsor then wrote two large books on the subject, changed absolutely everything that makes the British Police the finest in the world. Some of his research appears dubious at best, he wants officers to work longer, pay more into their pension schemes and get less out of them. He wants to be able to make them redundant but not give them the Right to Strike, for example. On top of all this he wants Inspectors and Superintendents to be ale to join the Police and take charge of their units without ever having been anywhere near a Police Force ever before. None of this makes any sense and for those reasons I want to send Police Reform to Room 101.”

“Thank you Contestant 1, now Contestant 2, what do you want to send to Room 101?”

“Thank you, Police and Crime Commissioners. What are they about? Do they work? Does anyone actually understand them and want one? They were imposed on the people by a draconian government with no explanation as to how they would work. No-one understood them, even fewer voted for them, yet we have them, how does that work? And then they all seem to appoint their chums as their ‘assistants’ at huge public expense, buy new offices, cars, chauffeurs and we’re no better off than we were with Police Authorities. For these reasons Police and Crime Commissioners should go into Room 101.”

“Thank you for that Contestant 2, a contender if ever I heard one, now Hello Contestant 3, what would you like to send into Room 101?”

“I’m obliged. I would like to send Social Media 101 into Room 101.”

“Why’s that?”

“Social Media 101 was the most recent, and last, event in a series of events organised by the College of Policing. It addressed the issue of use of Social Media and was apparently held at the Home Secretary’s fortress in London. It was organised by Nick Keane and sought to address the disparity between Forces in their Social Media policies (if they even exist). Several speakers came and went over the course of the day, some were presumably better than others, but what did the day recommend?  Where are the recommendations for our colleagues to follow? What has been decided. In my opinion a common policy covering ALL the forces in England and Wales which every single officer is aware of.  Publishing something in a few months time (or longer) is simply NOT GOOD ENOUGH. Our colleagues are dropping into the deep and murky stuff NOW. Not because they are flouting the rules but because it is as clear as fog what the rules are where. #Flumpy is alive and well, a potentially important opportunity has possibly been wasted, and for this reason I want Social Media 101 to be put into Room 101.”

“Well I’ve listened carefully and now I have to decide which, if any, of your suggestions will make it into Room 101. You’ve all made good arguments for your case, I couldn’t really disagree with any of them, and for this reason I will take the extraordinary step of allowing them ALL into Room 101. Thank you all and goodnight”

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