The Royal Dorset Constabulary found itself in the dock today as it was forced to admit that yesterday’s April Fool - which it had hoped might “lift the spirits” of a dispirited county and spread jocularity amongst hard-pressed CONTRIK-69 assault units - had instead badly misfired. Described, by a major newspaper as both “inappropriate and ill judged”, the prank was widely condemned by several official organisations including Help the Decrepit which campaigns on behalf of the physically and emotionally incontinent - especially those too far gone to notice when they are being traduced.
Several members of the general public were, later editions reported, "left stunned by the announcement" - purporting to come from Chief Constable Sir Rising Crimewave - which had suggested that not only was lockdown likely to end before 2024 but that those senior citizens currently in gaol or under house arrest were being considered either for amnesty or for early parole in early 2022 under a targeted programme of geriatric hostage exchange.
Announcing that the force had now referred itself to the DPCA (Dorset Police Complaints Authority - Chair Mrs Amanda J Threadbone] a spokesperson for the Deputy Chief Constable went on to say that it had become increasingly clear that what had been meant as an innocent joke and thought to be so obviously far-fetched as to be quickly discountable had in fact been taken seriously by some members of the public. She also accepted that the statement had cruelly and needlessly distressed many families by raising the unwelcome prospect of a reunion with unwanted relatives whose demise as a result of police brutality whilst incarcerated had been reasonably presumed and eagerly anticipated.
Speaking on behalf of many of the affected families, Ms Ava Rishous said she had nearly fainted when she heard that her mother was likely to be released since “we had already located the will and were looking forward eagerly to disbursing the estate”. She described the realisation that it was “all a sick joke” as “a body blow to her hopes of a Caribbean cruise and an on-deck encounter with a gender-fluid or, at the very least, openly bi-curious sailing companion”.
In the meantime the RDC - which has form in such matters [readers will recall last year’s “off-colour” announcement that capital punishment was about to be reinstated for those convicted - under CONTRIK-69 emergency control measures - of participating in unlicensed family barbecues*) - has vowed to offer full recompense to anyone affected by their ill-advised jocundity. “Any family which can prove actual distress is invited to submit the name of their incarcerated relative to the RDC’s April Fool’s Remediation hotline. We will then do our utmost to press trumped-up charges to ensure that they are never released even if lockdown ends before 2036". "It might even be possible to lose one or two altogether as long as it's done quietly and with the full consent of beneficiaries", the spokesperson added.
* The RDC later claimed that their announcement has been designed to "test the water of public opinion and that since that had proved divided on the matter, no further steps towards implementation had been taken" [Ed]