Sarah Groenewegen, Caroline Merse and Laura Manuel are all people employed by the police force and at Nine Worlds Geekfest in Hammersmith, London, they were here to talk about how the police are portrayed in urban fantasy, especially Paul Cornell's Shadow Police series and Ben Aaronovitch's Rivers of London. And to point out what they, and others, get right and what they get wrong.
The panel Police and the Supernatural: Law Enforcement Professionals' View of Urban Fantasy talked a lot about the character of Peter Grant in Rivers Of London, as a police officer, the type known in the force as a "gobby probby", finishing probation, with a know-it-all-attitude, one that does not resonate well in the service. That he would be rubbing off every other PC the wrong way. And basically, he would be a terrible police officer. He moves straight into a specialist department, who doesn't interact with the real police, and his views just get worse. He apparently "would not last five minutes on a response team". But for the character of Nightingale, they all agreed there were plenty of those.
A few other niggles were mentioned, how training takes too short a time, that the Aaronovitch is probably speaking to someone no longer a part of the police force anymore, or maybe no longer on the frontline as many of the details change, but he does get the psychology and humour right. But if you are writeing about response teams, you may need to talk to someone more current.
They talked differently about Shadow Police, possibly as one of them was an advisor on the series, and talked about how when the series was originally called Gods And Monsters, she suggested that a character not be a police officer but a police analysts and how that may have changed the tone of the book. But that they have also met a hell of a lot of Peter Quills.
They also talked about how common geekness was in the force and they do follow how they are portrayed in this fashion. The FBI building was agog on the day that it was announced the X-Files would be returning. And one talked about how she has a lending library going on. And that a lot of police really like Judge Dredd comic books.
Are we to be cheered for that, or disturbed?