For police blogger NightJack, it wasn’t a fair cop | Media | The Guardian
Horton was reprimanded by his local constabulary, and though he is understood still to be a serving officer, yesterday neither his lawyer nor Lancashire police would confirm his current role. He has not penned a word since. “Once I get the taste of hubris out of my mouth, I may get back to writing but I’m not doing anything at the moment,” he told the Guardian in 2009. “I’d like to write a novel but the fun and enjoyment went out of it with the Times thing and I lost the flavour for doing the book.”
It’s a shame, because his prose was pithy, witty and informative. “Lee takes Mike’s watch and wallet as trophies,” he wrote of one case. “Stamps on Mike’s head more for the sake of completeness than anything. I mean, that’s just what you do, you stamp the head when they are down. Everyone does that. It’s soft not to.”
Horton is especially unlucky given that most other police bloggers have evaded the dubious methods of email-hacking journalists. “Inspector Gadget”, whom Horton cites as an inspiration, has been going since 2006. Now his site has received nearly 9m hits, he sells merchandise from “Ruralshire” (his pseudonym for the area he works in), and he is one of several police bloggers to have published a book: Perverting the Course of Justice. In fact, Gadget has become so popular that when Tim Godwin, former deputy commissioner of the Met, set up his own police blog, he felt it necessary to qualify it with: “I’m not quite Inspector Gadget.”
Gadget is himself predated by PC David Copperfield, who is believed to be the first police blogger. The Observer’s Nick Cohen called his spinoff book one of the three “most important political books” of the day – and it was only in the subsequent media melee that Copperfield’s true identity was uncovered. Unlike Horton, Copperfield had a taste for the spotlight, did one-too-many barely disguised broadcast interviews, and was unmasked as one PC Stuart Davidson of Staffordshire police. He now works in Canada.