It is not a pleasant experience to be woken from a deep sleep at 1 in the morning by the appalling din of a helicopter, so loud and so close it seems to be about to attempt a soft landing on your bed. It's even less pleasant when you're trying to sleep off a 'cold', as I was last night. Almost certainly it was the police again - the chopper seemed to be roving around quite a lot, as if following something going on down below, among us mere ground-dwelling citizens. But, for ten minutes and more, it kept coming back my way, before eventually moving away to wake the sleeping population elsewhere.
This is becoming an increasingly frequent nuisance, by day and night - and it's not as if I live in South Central LA. It seems those coppers just love getting their choppers out. No doubt there are good reasons for this phenomenally expensive and intrusive aerial activity, but I can't help suspecting that there's an element of macho thrills-and-spills enjoyment about it - I mean, it must be pretty exciting to get up there, whizzing around, using all that high-tech kit, chasing the crims from above, just as they do in the endless emergency services documentaries on the telly. It sure beats patrolling the streets on foot (the thought!) or sitting around in a panda car. It also, like so many recent developments in policing, sets the force apart from - indeed, literally, above - the citizenry it is supposed to be serving. It seems to me that our police forces, back when I was young, were much more firmly part of the community, much less a specialised elite operating mostly apart from it. It's certainly been noticeable how far the police's stock has fallen with the law-abiding middle (and upward) classes in recent decades. Being woken up in the middle of the night by their helicopters can't have helped.