Albert World had wanted to be a policeman ever since he had first read Noddy as a lad. Other potential careers had passed periodically across his radar – polar explorer, steeplejack, deep sea diver, water diviner, brassiere researcher – but he had swatted each one away like just so many pesky blowflies, given that none of them provided him with either a suitably cool uniform or the propensity for officially-sanctioned violence. His father – not renowned for his law-abiding qualities – saw Albert’s vocation as a betrayal of his heritage. His mother, who had over the years spent more time in children’s shoe shops than any self-respecting thrifty mum should, merely proclaimed that he had the feet for the job.
Over the years of his adolescence his passion for becoming a policeman waned not one jot, his role model being PC McGarry from Camberwick Green, whose life as a village bobby, far from the manors of protection racketeers, football yobs and serious criminals, was the stuff of ambition. It was a happy day when young Albert pursued it to fruition. He never saw his Dad again – but at least that saved him the embarrassment of having to nick him. The environment of Stonking suits him admirably, with much of his time spent investigating minor nuisances. There are the old dears who fabricate stolen cats or phantom trespassers just to get him around for a cuppa and a chat, and odd occasions of raucous late-night parties or wilful littering. But Stonking is not a place beset by mass murder, hostage-taking, kidnapping or indiscriminate loud shirts, so World’s world is a low profile sort of place. Not for him the allure of ACPO rank or awards for bravery. A friendly wave or a quiet thank you for a blind eye are all the rewards this people’s policeman needs. And as far as the majority of the villagers are concerned (at least those who frequent Thelma Phelps‘ salon) he is a not altogether unattractive man whose uniform fits in all the right places and whose firm stride and composed demeanour create a flutter or two in the bosoms of some of those he is bound to serve.
He also has a responsibility for visiting the local school to warn of the perils of such social issues as traffic, drugs, underage sex and rickets (it is a rural school, after all). He is considered to be a good speaker – inasmuch as no-one falls asleep during his presentations – and the kids happily point and wave when they see him in the village. True, some of them wave with only two fingers, but this Albert puts down to inherited digital defects resulting from the years of inbreeding inherent in such a close-knit rural community.