If you live in London, you'll almost certainly have seen the current posters designed to recruit Special Constables to the Metropolitan Police. These are the people who get into policing because they like it and don't mind the fact that they don't get paid.
The ad in question shows a constable in action. He's on the mean streets of the city, where a drug deal is in progress. A girl in an alleyway is getting her regular fix from a fat bloke in a hat. It's a sickening sight, designed to make the blood of any law-abiding citizen run stone cold. The dope-peddler is a vicious bruiser with a cavalier disregard for the victims of his trade and the junkie is an exploited wretch who finds herself enslaved to an addiction that she's unable or unwilling to kick.
But never fear.
The activity is being meticulously observed by our 'special' hero, who is dressed in plain clothes and peering around the corner with all the subtlety of John Prescott in a china shop. His hand is raised to his mouth, but I haven't yet got close enough to the posters to see what he's actually doing. I think he may be radioing for assistance, which in my view would be a serious mistake, as he's almost certainly within hearing distance of the dealer. A faint crackle of the wireless and the villain will have pulled out his shooter quicker than the part-time copper can say tango whiskey. But perhaps he's not worried. After all, he's leaning so far round the corner during his surveillance operation that the dealer can probably see him anyway.
I've never been trained as a police officer, but my gut instinct tells me that if you're visible to the person you're trailing, you make yourself ever so slightly vulnerable.
On the other hand, this whole Special Constable business does look very exciting.