‘We had some seriously scary moments last week’, explained an officer. ‘Last Thursday this guy from Leeds told a complete stranger his name, his business, everything. A complete stranger! Even worse, he was called Alan, and people thought he was saying something about ‘Allah’ and legged it down the carriage.
The next day there were these two chaps from Warrington who wouldn’t stop chatting to strangers. By the time we got there they’d been beaten to death by the mob. Perfectly understandable. These people need to realise that a conversation isn’t our natural habitat, so we get stressed and lash out.’
The poster, to be displayed on all underground trains, depicts a young Asian man with a bomb strapped to his chest trying to avoid conversation with an overweight man eating a pie with a whippet and flat cap who’s prodding him cheerfully in the chest and obviously trying to chat. The caption reads : You’re not in the North now. We’d rather sit next to the bomber.
‘If you’re from the North and you fancy a chat, just stay where you are – that’s the message, really’ he said. ‘I’m sure you’re a fascinating person, so tell it to somebody who gives a shit. Here’s a clue, they don’t live in London.’
The poster campaign coincides with the raising of the UK chat threat level to severe, as the Metropolitan police confirmed they are ‘very anxious’ not to talk to a man called Jim who keeps telling people about his hobbies.