Old Bilbo Baggins: Scots cops fans of Lord of the Rings

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SCOTTISH Police appear to have let slip that they are big fans of the Lord of the Rings saga.

The force has named an operation “Mithril” – the magical armour donned by actor Elijah Wood who plays Frodo Baggins in the blockbuster movies.

But anyone expecting a titanic struggle between good and evil, is likely to be disappointed by Operation Mithril.

The force named an operation 'Mithril'
The force named an operation ‘Mithril’

 

The operation, launched on January 16, will restructure command areas and shift patterns in the Tayside area of the force.

The glamorous, mythical choice of operation name is all the more surprising given the low-key monikers normally selected.

Recent operations have had a distinctly “wooden” theme, such as Operation Oak against vandalism, Operation Maple which involved drug search warrants and Operation Cedar involving vehicle stop checks.

Operation Mithril, despite the Hollywood connotations, is important but may struggle to set pulses racing.

Mithril, according to the official announcement, will “mean more resources are available for local community policing and will ensure that the optimum numbers of officers are on duty at the right time, as well as improving the work-life balance for police officers”.

In the fantasy world, Mithril is a precious silvery metal which was mined by dwarves and made into a protective coat.

Recent operations have had a distinctly 'wooden' theme
Recent operations have had a distinctly ‘wooden’ theme

 

Mithril saved Frodo’s life as he was nearly skewered by an Orc.

In JRR Tolkien’s novels, Mithril is described as “worth ten times that of gold”.

In The Hobbit, Mithril is retrieved from the hoard of a dragon and given to Bilbo Baggins, played by Martin Freeman in the film adaptation.

The armour is described as “light as a feather, and hard as dragon’s scales”.

Back in the real world, Police Scotland have occasionally shown a liking of more macho operation names.

Operation Wolf was an Edinburgh-based drugs recovery campaign while Operation Archerfish targeted individuals involved in the supply of drugs into the local community.

There was some amusement in 2013 when police in Scotland and across the border in Northumberland called their vehicle stop search Operation Overlord – the name used for Allied landings in Normandy during the Second World War.

In 2008 it was reported that police forces across the UK pick operations names off a previously approved list, which means that in theory they will have no connection to the case.

The previous system, which dated from the 1980s, threw up questionable names such as Operation Zoomania, Operation Bagel and even Operation Poodle.

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