The Secret Policeman's Ball were a series of benefit shows.

However, is the phrase "buying a ticket to the Secret Policeman's Ball" an allusion to paying a bribe?

  • 1
    What do you base the allusion on? Because of the word "secret"?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Aug 1, 2020 at 11:54
  • 2
    @mari-lou A No, that you would pay an officer for a ticket to a non-existent event and that payment is the bribe.
    – StuperUser
    Commented Aug 1, 2020 at 11:55
  • Maybe it's not an allusion, maybe it's a code or a shibboleth.
    – StuperUser
    Commented Aug 1, 2020 at 11:57
  • 1
    aadl.org/aapd/truecrimes/4 It appears that the Policeman's ball was always a fundraising event. I imagine one must be familiar with the Month Python sketch, if there is one... to grasp the meaning behind the British TV shows. P.S More details you add, the better, and explain why you think it was originally a standin for a bribe. IN the question, not in comments. it's +1 from me if you!
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Aug 1, 2020 at 12:04
  • Secret policeman, means precisely that, someone who belongs the secret police of a tyrant, dictator or authoritarian leader. A ball is a gathering of people who pay to eat a meal and dance to a live band, I found nothing that supports your idea. Maybe someone else will.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Aug 1, 2020 at 12:22

1 Answer 1


Yes. Although you might be confusing two different uses.

The Secret Policeman's Ball was an Amnesty International show, like a Broadway show.

It got its name from a running joke in British culture at the time that said if you got pulled over by the police, you could offer to buy a couple of tickets to the Policeman's Ball and bribe your way out of the infraction.

See this article for more information.

  • AHA! I KNEW IT!!
    – StuperUser
    Commented Mar 18, 2021 at 16:44

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.