A Copper’s Christmas

Allow me if you will to present a retelling of the traditional Christmas story, using detail drawn from a little known historical source – the archives of the Bethlehem Police Department.

One document in particular, the BPD Daily Crime Bulletin, offers a fascinating insight into the work of a hitherto unheralded group of women and men – whilst shining new light on an old tale.

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Bethlehem Police Department
Daily Crime Bulletin
(Date obscured – believed to be c.2000 years ago)

Late Turn (2pm-10pm)

Team Briefing

  • Day 5 of Operation Census
  • Substantial numbers of migrants arriving at border during past week
  • Low levels of community tension reported; no incidents of note in last 24 hrs
  • Large crowds expected in central Bethlehem this evening
  • No intelligence re: pre-planned disorder
  • Terrorism Threat Level remains at ‘Severe’ (an attack is highly likely)
  • 12 PCs on duty

(Handover note: Roads Policing chariot in for repairs – no replacement available).

14.00hrs

  • Start of shift
  • 2 PCs to fixed post at main Town Checkpoint
  • 2 PCs to ongoing crime scene at Caesar’s Nightclub
  • 2 PCs to constant watch in the cells
  • Remaining officers out on foot

15.00hrs

  • Routine patrols – High Street
  • Town Centre busy but peaceful

16.30hrs

  • Call to Civil Dispute in the foyer of the Judea Travelodge
  • Apparent misunderstanding regarding double booking of main suite
  • Situation deteriorated as it became apparent that there were no other rooms available – at the hotel or anywhere else in the town
  • Suspects became violent. Two arrests. Both now staying with us overnight.

17.15hrs

  • Suspect detained by staff at the Bethlehem Brasserie for theft of a jug of wine
  • Evidence consumed prior to police arrival
  • Suspect unfit for interview until tomorrow morning

18.00hrs

  • Reports of possible UFO sighting
  • Claims of a bright light – moving East to West at a height of several thousand feet
  • Area Search, No Trace
  • Possible Nuisance Call

18.30hrs

  • Multiple calls to disturbance on hillside a mile outside town
  • Reports of strobe lighting and loud music
  • Initial suspicions of an illegal rave in progress
  • On arrival, met by group of Shepherds and a large number of sheep
  • Shepherds claimed to have been visited by an angelic choir (as if we’d fall for that one). Sheep useless as witnesses.
  • But, despite lengthy enquiries and a thorough search of the area, no sound system or lighting equipment found – and no evidence recovered suggesting the use of mind-altering substances. Not so much as a spliff.
  • Shepherds initially threatened with arrest for wasting police time – but eventually given a Verbal Warning when they explained that they were leaving anyway.
  • Last seen running towards Bethlehem Town Centre.

19.30hrs

  • Call to an impromptu protest outside Bethlehem Town Hall
  • Discovered a small crowd carrying banners, chanting slogans and demanding Judean independence from the rule of Rome
  • Dispersed at request of officers without incident – though something tells me we haven’t seen or heard the last of them.

20.00hrs 

  • Call from our colleagues in the Judea Border Patrol
  • They have stopped a group of Travellers who claim to have come from ‘afar’ (Have yet to establish where this is)
  • The three who appear to be in charge are well dressed and claim to know something about the earlier UFO report
  • Search of luggage has revealed a quantity of gold and a container filled with an aromatic and suspicious looking resin
  • Enquiries ongoing re possible offences 

20.15hrs

  • Update from Border Patrol
  • Travellers able to prove ownership of gold – and the resin turns out to be something called Myrrh. Checks confirm this isn’t a Controlled Drug
  • Allowed on their way

21.00hrs 

  • Call to suspected Child Protection case
  • Allegation of a newborn baby being cared for in wholly unsuitable circumstances – apparently in a stable, surrounded by livestock and with no heating or running water
  • Unmarried teenage mother with no obvious means of support aside from an older man claiming – without documentation – to be her ‘betrothed’
  • On arrival, found earlier group of Shepherds in street outside
  • Initially threatened them with arrest for Obstructing Police – then saw expression on their faces
  • Decided to see for myself what was going on

 

  • Ma’am, I’ve walked this beat for almost 25 years and I’ve seen most things that this line of work puts your way – but I have no words to describe what I saw last night
  • No arrests necessary. No explanation adequate. But everything is different now
  • By the time you read this, I’ll have finished my shift. But if you have any questions about this report, you’ll find me back at the stable door.
  • If I may Ma’am – and if you have time – you really ought to come and see for yourself

 

Bulletin ends.

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Happy Christmas, one and all.

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