When I was young I used to collect Copper Cards from the local bobbies. Based on the baseball card craze, it was one of those community relation drives to instil understanding and respect of the work of the police force in the young. You were given a wall chart with several topics and spaces for the cards – I think we obtained ours from a constable who visited our primary school – and then spent months collecting them fom police stations or PCs on the beat.
It was a pretty cool idea and as me and my mates were already big fans of Panini’s football sticker albums we all went crazy for Copper Cards. We’d seek out coppers on the beat and shout “Oi, copper! Got any copper cards?!” before trading them back in the school yard, slowly and frustratingly building our wall chart masterpiece. Of course, there was was always cards you’d never get hold of and the price of these almost mythical items rocketed. Swapping a ‘doubler’ wasn’t good enough, you’d need to add a bag of Flying Saucers and a copy of Whizzer and Chips just to begin negotiations. I’m unsure how many completed charts are out there but I remember well how I managed to finish mine – knocking on the door of the WPC’s house down the road and hounding her for weeks, my ligging skills proving successful even at an early age.
Of course this is before it became a risky business to stroll home from work if your job is a newspaper seller and your path takes you near a mob of gurning police constables that look more like stormtroopers on Red Bull than bobbies with a smile. But it seems that the Copper Card is back – with a twist.