What is this curious tense that the police use when
talking about criminal or suspected criminal activity?
Preliminary research suggests that it’s the past passive.
They will say, for instance, ‘The suspect has driven off at
high speed’ rather than ‘The suspect drove off at high
speed.’ There are more examples in today’s paper, eg,
from Western Australia, ‘He has attempted to sit on its
back and the croc has taken offence to that.’ I know of
no other sphere in which language is used this way. It
lends what the police say a stilted, formal quality—
which may indeed be why they use it. It puts just a little
distance between them and the event; makes the
description just that little bit less absolute. I think. I
dunno, really. The blog has been written in a state of