Funny But True Police Story - 'The Duchess' Is Not Getting Enough

Stephen Bentley By Stephen Bentley, 13th Aug 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Humour>Funny Stories

A short but true tale sharing police humour especially when all is quiet in the still of the night. Why is it that grown men have a love of childish humour in the workplace? Puerile but nevertheless amusing if you can picture the stony faced police radio operator with the cut glass accent.

Z Cars - a 1960s British TV Show

Z Cars was a British TV series in the 1960s set in the fictional Northern England suburb of Newtown. It was a highly popular show which led to other spin off shows and a step to Hollywood stardom for Brian Blessed, Fancy Smith in the series.

The real Newtown was in fact Kirkby, Liverpool. It was a vast over-spill housing project to rehouse families from a heavily bombed Liverpool as part of the post WW2 housing plan.

Two of the main characters in Z Cars were Police Constables Fancy Smith and Jock Weir. They patrolled in a Ford Zephyr police car. It bore no police markings but had a siren fitted and a drop down 'Police Stop' sign in the rear window.

Their VHF radio call sign was a fictitious Z Victor One. The Z Cars officers wore police uniform and had a roving commission to patrol their ‘patch’. Their main brief was to act as first responders to calls for help if a crime or public disturbance was reported. That was in fictional Newtown.

The Real Z Cars

Back in Kirkby, Liverpool in the real world, the same Ford Zephyrs existed with their crew of two real police officers. One of those cars was known by the call sign Z Quebec One.

The radio traffic was routed through police HQ. The car VHF radio set had a large handset judged by today’s standards The officer in the car pressed a button in order to talk to ‘BD’.

That is the call sign designated to the HQ Control Room. So if the officer wished to contact ‘BD’ he would press the button and say, “Z Quebec One to BD”.

Then he would wait for ‘BD’ in the form of one of the operators to respond. “Yes Z Quebec One. Come in[/b]/i]” meaning you can now talk as I am free to listen.

The Duchess

Radio protocol dictated that only one speaker at a time could engage with ‘BD’. Otherwise chaos ensued if there was a cacophony of voices. All other ‘Z Cars’ throughout the police force area were able to listen in to the chat on the radio.

One of the radio operators in HQ was known as the Duchess. However she was no more royal than you or me - apologies, if any real Royals read this!

This sobriquet owed everything to her cut glass English voice and pronunciation. More Queen like than the Queen in fact — but she was only known as the Duchess!

The night shift for police officers can either be highly exciting and possibly dangerous, or deathly quiet and extremely boring. It was the latter when this true story happened. The night was as still and quiet as the graveyard.

Something had to be done to alleviate the boredom.

The Trap Is Set

What follows is the dialogue between BD (the Duchess) and Z Quebec One.

Z Quebec One to BD

Yes Z Quebec One. Come in” crackled the unmistakable voice of the Duchess.

Z Quebec One to BD

Yes Z Quebec One. Come in

This was repeated another two or three times. The Duchess was becoming impatient!

Her tone became shrill as she repeated again –

Yes Z Quebec One. Come in” but now with emphasis on Yes and Come in.

Z Quebec One now decided it was the time to strike as they struggled to contain their boyish giggles.

"Six Inches" - Gotcha!

Six inches” said Z Quebec One. Just that, nothing more.

Z Quebec One. Come in please.” The Duchess said in frosty cut-glass diction with frustration and more than a little condescension thrown into the mix.

Z Quebec One repeated “Six inches” . Then utter silence once again.

The Duchess, already impatient, is now began to lose her regal like calm and her authority over lesser mortals.

She snapped out over the airwaves: “Z Quebec One! Come in now!” spoken in the manner of monarchs of old commanding their subjects.

Our giggling cops tried it one more time: “Six inches” spoken in the same clear unemotional tone.

I am only getting six inches” ........

...... the Duchess retorted in sheer exasperation and heard by every Z Car in the whole police force area.

The howls of laughter must have shook every Z Car in the county from Merseyside to the Yorkshire borders.

I heard that the Duchess was ribbed about this for many years after and must have grown tired of the references to her sex life!


Brian Blessed, Humour, Kirkby, Liverpool, Merseyside, Police, Z Cars

Meet the author

author avatar Stephen Bentley
A former barrister, police officer, sales manager, truck driver and motorcycle courier from the UK but now retired and writing in the Philippines. Much of my writing will focus on the Philippines.

Share this page

moderator Mark Gordon Brown moderated this page.
If you have any complaints about this content, please let us know


author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
14th Aug 2015 (#)

Thanks for this share for a "suppressed' laughter though it was more of howls of laughter when it happened! siva

Reply to this comment

author avatar Stephen Bentley
14th Aug 2015 (#)

Siva I am not saying this applies to you - I would not dare! - but I love this Martin Amis quote
What we eventually run up against are the forces of humourlessness, and let me assure you that the humourless as a bunch don't just not know what's funny , they don't know what's serious. They have no common sense, either, and shouldn't be trusted with anything.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
15th Aug 2015 (#)

No issues Stephen but we have to be politically (sexually) correct as sexist jokes are taboo with the world moving to unisex era!

I want to go on but I better watch my words! siva

Reply to this comment

author avatar Stephen Bentley
15th Aug 2015 (#)

“I believe that political correctness can be a form of linguistic fascism, and it sends shivers down the spine of my generation who went to war against fascism.”
P. D. James

Reply to this comment

Add a comment
Can't login?