The Illness Police

*****This is intended as a humorous post***** 

The Illness Police is a squad of highly knowledgable and sympathetic individuals, working collectively for the greater good to uncover people who don’t ‘follow the rules’ with chronic illnesses (and whatever other groups they don’t like the look of). Their expertise far outstrips any medical specialists currently working in the U.K., and their infrastructure is so advanced that they have techniques such as telepathy, 100% accurate lie detection and temporary vocal paralysis at their disposal. 

In a world where we’re constantly watched and we have to frequently prove our identities, the Illness Police are even more important. At the point where people with chronic illnesses have been through various systems justifying their illnesses and conditions in order to claim benefits or rights which they are entitled to, with their doctors providing expert opinions also, the Illness Police operate on the streets to make sure no one inadvertently slips through the net. Just because you’ve been given disabled status or a blue badge doesn’t mean you’re immune from the Illness Police’s scrutiny. You need to be aware of how it can occur so you don’t get caught out:

An operative might offer a friendly warning disguised as a joke. The undertones are still there, so be warned, you’re being ‘friendlily’ cautioned. Phrases often used are:

– ‘You’re lucky you don’t look disabled enough to use the accessible bathroom.’ 

– ‘Oh I wish I could sit down on the priority seat.’

The way you can tell it’s the Illness Police and not a random passer by is the fixed grimace smile and the fact that it’s usually said loud enough for people to hear in neighbouring districts. 

Because the Illness Police tend to ‘know-all’, they’ll know if you’ve had a friendly caution in the past. A formal caution will possibly use similar phrases to above, but without the pleasantries of the smile. Instead, you’ll be subject to a fixed stare similar to that of the snake from The Jungle Book, where you really want to look away and hide but are somehow transfixed and have to keep looking back. You’ll probably lose the ability to respond in articulate sentences as well. Which is, of course, a well known Illness Police tactic, as your lack of response clearly illustrates your guilt. 


Photo: The Jungle Book, Disney

Following on from cautions is the formal charge. The accusing snake stare and foghorn volume is still present, but rather than commenting on your appearance as to being disabled, the Illness Police charge you with not actually having a disability at all. Phrases include:

– ‘You’re not disabled. You have no right to….’

– ‘That is reserved for disabled people, not you.’

– ‘Disabled people require access to that, not you.’ 

Despite popular belief, the Illness Police are actually allowed to interrogate you in public. They have the right to find out (and let everyone in the vicinity know) what your disability is, how it affects you and why you deserve the help. They’re also allowed to question any information you give them, using facts from previous encounters (because they know-all, remember) to help them win their case. This is your public trial. Phrases might include:

– ‘How come you can do X but not Y?’

– ‘Should you be doing that if you’re disabled?’

– ‘Well you were able to do X yesterday so why can’t you now?’ 

– ‘I know someone with X and they don’t make half as much fuss as you.’ 

Not responding is not an option. A failure to respond will result in the situation becoming escalated in terms of volume of interrogation or trial until you become so stressed and anxious that you give in to the Illness Police’s demands. 

The Illness Police are highly skilled detectives, so only accept certain characteristics as evidence of your disability. This includes:

– A permanent expression of glumness. Disabled people don’t have a sense of humour and aren’t allowed to laugh. 

– Drab and uncoordinated clothing. People with chronic illnesses aren’t allowed to wear nice clothes or take an interest in their appearance. 

– Being alone or with a single other person. Disabled people don’t have friends or a family. 

If you think you have what it takes to become part of the Illness Police’s ranks, applications can be made at the following locations:

– Near disabled bays in car parks. 

– By the priority seats on public transport. 

– Patrolling the disabled or accessible toilet facilities in public places.


Photo: Chrohn’s & Colitis UK


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