The criminal justice community was stunned last night by the news that the new Metropolitan Police Commissioner is to be 49 year old Panjit Sum, currently leader of the South Lambeth Centre for Peace and Meditation. Home office sources indicated that the high profile monk has been chosen to bring to an end the ongoing concerns over corruption, subservience to media interests and misuse of office that have rocked the capital’s constabulary over recent months. The Plodchen Lama, as he is known in religious circles, is a man of impeccable integrity. “He’s probably the one public figure in London who has never been bought lunch by a News International executive”, said a government spokesman. “But then, how do you wine and dine a man who subsists on two bowls of plain rice a day?” The Lama’s unswerving commitment to absolute celibacy is also felt likely to make him less susceptible to undue influence.
According to Dr Andrew Gilham of Streatham University’s Centre for non-competitive co-operation the Lama, originally born Wayne Fosdyke, is the seventeenth most senior figure in British Buddhism. He first came to attention in policing circles following a successful project to turn around South London’s most notorious police station. “We were a pretty thuggish bunch”, said Sergeant Colin Stone, “but then Panji and his lads came in and showed us a more effective way of policing Lewisham’s gang culture. We’ve got hardened drug dealers who can take hours of shouting, abuse and accidental trips on the station stairs. But they sing like canaries after you put them in an interview room with two officers for three hours of contemplative silence”.
Mayor of London, Boris Johnson has made clear this appointment is not simply to bide the force over a difficult period. “The great thing about these Lama chappies”, he told journalists, “are that they never retire. And when he does pop his clogs we just scout around the city to find his next reincarnation. None of that politically correct recruitment stuff to bother about”.
Commissioner designate Sum was not present for yesterday’s announcement, apparently he is away undertaking an advanced levitation course which it is hoped will reduce the police dependence on helicopters. However evidence of the new regime was already apparent when the press conference was concluded with the force’s new catchphrase, “Good night, and mindful how you go!”