I spent a big chunk of yesterday visiting Broadmoor Special Hospital, in my capacity as Chair of the Independent Advisory Panel on Deaths in Custody.  The visit was fascinating, staff were very generous with their time and I learned a lot.

I also enjoyed the security arrangements, which are rather more rigorous than most that I have encountered.  You need a photo-ID, you provide two fingerprints for matching on entering and leaving the hospital, most electronic items have to be left in lockers outside the hospital, and you need to go through a metal detector as well as being searched.  When all that is completed you are issued with a visitors’ identity badge, which carries your photograph, your name and job title or designation.

Presumably, when it came to a job title, only a certain number of characters could be entered on the badge and “Chair of the Independent Advisory Panel on Deaths in Custody (Ministry of Justice)” obviously didn’t fit.  I found myself bearing the label: “Lord Toby Harris, Minister of Death”.

Fortunately, the font size was quite small, so I think (hope?) that none of the patients could read it ….

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