‘What do we know about this guy?’ The negotiator entered the incident vehicle and looked round the team of twelve officers. ‘Can someone make me a coffee and brief me?’

‘He’s been on the steeple of St Saviours since six o’clock this morning. Someone saw him and rang 999 thinking he was a jumper. But he’s got a line round his waist. It’s tied to  the gargoyle. Look -to your left. He’s been up there for four hours, and we’ve not seen any placards.’

‘Has he said anything? ‘She asked.

‘We wouldn’t hear from down here,’ someone muttered.

‘Don’t be a smart arse!  

We’ve looked at the options. He’s not wearing a costume so we can count out Fathers for Justice or a student prank. It’s the wrong time of year. None of the hospitals have reported a missing patient and druggies don’t tie themselves on.’ 

‘Do we have a name?’ The negoitator had expected more information to work with by the time she arrived. 

‘Well it’s not Santa Claus. There are no reindeer. We checked.’ Laughter went round the vehicle.

‘I don’t need to remind you it’s you who’ll be picking up body parts when he goes, not me.’