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Last Updated: Monday, 17 September 2007, 20:27 GMT 21:27 UK
Writing the Policeman's Blog
By Stuart Davidson
Author of the Policeman's Blog

PC Copperfield/Stuart Davidson  ©Monday Books
The longer it went on I thought 'this is insane...'
After three years as the blogging policeman, David Copperfield, it feels strange to have come out into the open on the Panorama programme.

When I started writing, about three years ago, I never intended that anyone would actually want to read about what an ordinary policeman did all day, I was just interested in the technology that allowed ordinary people to publish things that could be read by anyone with access to the internet.

I thought I would do it for a few weeks, then go and do something else, after all nobody would be interested in the petty, day-to-day nonsense that front-line police officers do all day. So, I carried on tapping away at the computer in my spare room, safe in the knowledge that nobody was actually reading... or so I thought.

Having a double life as both author and policeman has been an exhausting and exhilarating experience
I had no idea that people were linking to my blog and before long thousands of people began to read about what I was getting up to.

Even after the blog had over a million hits, and I'd published a book, none of my colleagues had any idea that David Copperfield was me.

Double life

Back in Burton-Upon-Trent, I was still working as a response officer, quietly getting on with the day job. On one occasion a colleague, who happened to be a detective, showed me my blog whilst at work in the police station. He said I should read it because it was a really accurate depiction of life in the police and could easily have been written by someone in our own force, Staffordshire Police.

Stuart in uniform standing next to a police car
I've given the public an insight into what goes on in police stations
I quickly made my excuses and told him I would have a look at it when I got a minute.

Police Officers are incorrigible gossips so I knew that if I was to remain undetected, I could not tell a soul about the blog. It also helped that I was saying things about police bureaucracy that everyone knew were true, so nobody actually wanted to look for me.

People often ask if I was worried about getting found out, the truth is that it was fairly nerve-wracking to start with, but after a while I got used to it, and in the end I sold so many books it would have been a bigger story to sack me than if I'd have been exposed, so it was in everyone's interest to keep it quiet.

Having a double life as both author and policeman has been an exhausting and exhilarating experience. I've met people in politics and in the media who, as an ordinary copper, I would never have met, and I feel I've given the tax-paying public an insight into what goes on in police stations up and down the country.

Hundreds of serving and retired police officers have sent messages of support, but telling my colleagues that I was the real David Copperfield was really the moment of truth.

They needed some convincing that it really was me and it wasn't part of some elaborate practical joke, but in the end they were delighted.

Being a police officer has got to be one of the best jobs in the world: you get to work with true professionals and you get to see people at their best and their worst and I'm looking forward to doing more of the same in Canada with the Edmonton Police Service, later this year.

Panorama: Wasting Police Time can be seen on BBC One at 2030 BST on Monday 17 September 2007

Wasting police time
16 Sep 07 |  Panorama
Career disillusionment
17 Sep 07 |  Panorama

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