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Not On My Patch, Lad by Mike Pannett (Hodder & Stoughton, £12.99)
MIKE Pannett, the former North Yorkshire bobby turned top-selling author, is often described as the ‘James Herriot of policing’.
That’s not quite true.
Yes, Mike writes about Yorkshire folk and the Yorkshire countryside with true feeling. And yes, his books – tales of a Yorkshire bobby based on his own life – can be funny. But they are not as consistently funny as Herriot.
A gentle humour lies never far beneath the surface: but these books touch on the darker side of policing, too.
In Not On My Patch, Lad, his third book, there is a bungled attempt to arrest an armed robber in a Scarborough flat, a blacked-out barn being used as a cannabis factory – and the alleged rape of a young girl on a North Yorkshire campsite. Mike and a woman PC are called to investigate.
The ensuing scene, written with a powerful economy, reveals just how hard it is for police investigating rape allegations, where it is one person’s word against another’s and the consequences for victim and alleged offender alike are so high if you get it wrong.
Make no mistake: these are charming, gently humorous books about the life of a local bobby. But they are serious accounts of rural policing, too. Well worth reading.