Get your trousers on, you're nicked!
If I'm honest, my view of the police force is shaped almost entirely by The Sweeney and Life on Mars. So my illusions were completely shattered by actually spending time with some officers over the past few days.
Charlie E, Duncan and I went down to Hampshire to do some futures training with some senior policemen and women - and not only are these people very sophisticated public servants, they're also some of the most idealistic I've come across.
Their vision of the future is all about community policing - exercising their considerable powers with a much greater sense of consent from the local community. Some of them are also talking about how they improve people's quality of life by joining up their services with local authorities and using the private and voluntary sectors to provide some services.
Of course, that raises as many questions as it answers - the biggest one being about how the police become more accountable to their communities without compromising their political independence. Is this about a board of governors, an elected police commissioner, or something completely different?
It's a world away from John Thaw shouting 'shut it!' at suspects.
Charlie's working on a pamphlet that grapples with some of these themes - more on that soon.