Hopefully - the publishing of the report into the circumstances of Chief Constable Michael Todd's private life will draw a line under the whole sad, sorry story.
Needless to say, the Daily Mail covered the story in lurid detail, and the fact remains, the whole matter was a tragedy for his family and friends, as well as deeply embarassing I guess, for his wife and children.
That said, the point remains that as a leader of a large UK force, a Chief Constable no less, he really ought to have been beyond reproach.
I am seriously in danger of sounding like a reactionary, dyed-in-the-wool Daily Mailite, but after nearly 14 years of policing the (mainly)underclass, and their disputes and domestics and fall-outs has left me with a few very firm beliefs on how people should behave - as opposed to how they actually do.
To simplify my views on personal morality (yes, I know how that sounds...) it goes something like this:
1. Affairs lead to family breakdowns (Nothing too contraversial here?)
2. Broken families lead to chaotic child rearing (Think custody battles - absent parents, children growing up without boundaries, role models, adequate supervision, care and love...)
3. Children brought up in chaotic environments are at risk of offending (and at risk of being exploited, victimised, bullied and so on... and I don't remember dealing with many juvenile offenders where child, mother and father all shared the same surname - even when a full family group was present.)
4. Children who have had a bad upbringing make for awful role models for their children... (Because - yes - it does run in families - many of my older colleagues remember the 'appropriate adults' of today who attend with juvenile offenders (i.e. their offsprong) were themselves regular visitors to the cells in their younger days.)
and on it goes. Like a dreary cycle.
Simple - yes - too simple, maybe. But a report by the Children's Society - namely a Good Childhood bemoans the selfish attitudes of adults (for which read parents...) and how this leads to the outcomes I've mentioned above.
Just think 'Mummy needs some space dear, that's why I'm leaving to be with Roger... don't worry, I'll send money... and we'll go skiing next spring...' Because when middle class people behave like that, it's OK - it's fine - it's normal - it does no harm. Yet the chattering classes are quite happy to leap on Karen Matthews as being a piss-poor mother, with children to different fathers - and no doubt a string of ex's and a complicated family tree. Is it just me, or does that smack of eye-watering hypocrisy?
The author of the Children's Society report is a Labour life peer - so Richard Layard is hardly a swivel-eyed right wing nutter, which perhaps put my views and observations somewhere in the political centre (but not necessarily on a fence).
Which makes me feel better.
So, I am saying in a roundabout way that there is a chain of infidelity in relationships with the former Chief Constable Michael Todd (or Robin Cook, David Blunkett, Archer, Parkinson et al) at one end, and Wayne MacSlapper shagging Tracy Giro round the back of the community centre at the other end of the social spectrum.
And as a leader of men (including women, trans people, and everyone else who wants their own category to celebrate their individual brand of diversity), a Chief Constable who behaves like a [ insert your own euphemism or term here - I prefer 'dog with two dicks'] really does let the side down, and despite the glowing praise for his achievements, as a role model - which surely is part of such a high profile job - he was sorely lacking.
As a final note, having served in quite a few police stations, I can tell you that the common or garden Bobby loves nothing more than a bit of gossip. As a result, 'office' or workplace affairs stay secret for a very short space of time - some become legendary - others the source of scandal and gossip - but they are often very disruptive - breaking up teams, squads, units, shifts, blocks, scales, reliefs, groups - call them what you will. Staff are moved under a cloud - lockers are emptied, desks are cleared. Tolerance is pretty low - so if it's not OK for a PC, Sergeant or the Inspector - does that mean it's OK for higher ranks?