Page last updated at 00:00 GMT, Thursday, 20 August 2009 01:00 UK

Sergeant's comedy show is not PC

By Steven Brocklehurst
BBC Scotland news

Alfie Moore
Alfie Moore has been a police officer for 17 years

Long-serving police officer Alfie Moore has turned to stand-up comedy to highlight the absurdities of modern policing.

The 43-year-old sergeant with Humberside Police is performing a three-week run at the Edinburgh Fringe.

His show Laughter Police looks at the bureaucracy and oversensitive political correctness which he says is hampering the ability to catch criminals.

He also calls for people to take more personal responsibility.

Sgt Moore, who has 17 years on the force, admits that being a police officer is not always as glamorous as he had hoped it would be.

He said car chases were a rarity due to the force's "no chase policy".

Although he added that with Humberside's claim to be the first force to use LPG vehicles, it was more of a "can't chase policy".

He said he sometimes slurred the word Humberside to make it sound like homicide, in a bid to impress people.

'Abdicate responsibility'

Risk assessments, diversity policies and poorly-focussed targets come under the gaze of his comedy.

Speaking after his show at the Dragonfly venue, he said: "The police are very pink and fluffy as an organisation. We don't like to upset people.

"Gone are the days when we would say, 'get out of here, sort it out yourself, you saddo'."

He said some people were taking advantage of procedures which were put in place to protect people and help the vulnerable.

"It is a reflection of society that people abdicate responsibility and won't sort out problems themselves," he said.

Although he said he remained convinced Britain had the best criminal justice system in the world, he also claimed it was often very expensive.

Examples include GPs being brought in to write a prescription for methadone for a drug addict in the cells, which Sgt Moore then has to pick up from the chemist.

I have used humour for years on the streets. If you have got someone angry in front of you, sometimes humour is a way to bring them down
Alfie Moore

On one occasion he said he had to fetch four cans of special brew for a prisoner who was an alcoholic.

Sgt Moore was "bitten by the comedy bug" two years ago after being taken to a show by his wife Jez.

He performed in Edinburgh last year in an attempt to get "stage time" and has returned this year with a "proper show".

His performance is part of Peter Buckley Hill's Free Fringe.

The venue, the backroom of a pub on the city's West Port, is provided free and there is no charge for the show, aside from voluntary contributions.

"There is no obligation to pay for the comedy," he says at the end of the show, putting on his police helmet.

"But remember, I have got a few friends."

Sgt Moore has taken most of his annual leave from the force and spent more than £1,200 on accommodation alone to pursue his unusual sideline.

He said it was worth it for the experience.

"I left a lot better than I came last year after doing 22 nights. It would have taken me two years to get the stage time I did coming to Edinburgh."

'Positive PR'

He describes his sense of humour as a "mental stab vest".

"I have used humour for years on the streets. If you have got someone angry in front of you, sometimes humour is a way to bring them down," he explained.

"I have had some terrible things said to me. Having a sense of humour puts it in perspective and stops it getting to you."

Sgt Moore believes "community engagement" is his major strength.

He has done gigs in some "pretty rough" places where he would get jeered at for being a police officer.

"But afterwards they will shake my hand and say they liked what I did. We will never as an organisation reach that section of society," he said.

"Because it is quite self-deprecating and tongue-in-cheek and you are not lecturing people, they like it."

He said he was "positive PR" for the police.

Sgt Moore's bosses appear to have sanctioned his comedy ambitions.

He said he had declared his business interest and sent them a DVD of his show.

Gigs for Humberside Constabulary and the West Midlands Annual Chief Constable's Charity Ball seem to be proof that he is accepted by his colleagues.

"Although, I don't do all the stuff you heard today," he adds.

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