July 26th, 2012

Moments of serendipity

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

I was reading something about complaints about police recently, can’t remember what it was, it might have been about the numbers of complaints we get.

I had very few complaints in my 30 years. I was never disciplined and all complaints against me were found in my favour.

Some years ago I got a call to a block of flats, an elderly gentleman had been assaulted by the paper boy after an altercation on the doorstep when the chap had not been satisified with the way the local paper had been screwed up into his letterbox. I got the impression that the old boy was having a go at the lad who, for whatever reason, had enough, punched him in the mouth and walked off.

When I arrived I was met by someone who was not the typical vulnerable old boy you might think whilst on route to a report of an elderly male who’d been bested by a teenager.

For a start he was around 6’1 tall, he had a choice turn of phrase, a handlebar moustache and was quite large in stature, not fat but wll built with a large chest which he puffed out at every opportunity. He said he was an ex-para and there were mementos around his flat which suggested this might be true. He was around 70, as I recall.

The paper boy had split the man’s lip. I took a statement and left, promising I would do what I could to trace the lad and bring him to justice.

A phonecall to the local newspaper distributor revealed the address of the lad who was arrested 15 minutes after I left the chap’s flat. I then spent the next four hours in custody interviewing the lad and sorting out the various reports and papers, fingerprinting & photographing, etc etc.

When I got back to the nick having taken the hapless teenager and his mother home, I was told that Mr Para had made an official complaint that I had not updated him on what progress I was making with his case.

The reason I hadn’t was obvious; I’d been dealing with the offender since leaving the victim’s house. Needless to say the¬†complaint¬†went nowhere, but it was registered in that year’s stats.

Some months later I had a¬†strange¬†sense of karma¬†regarding¬†the old man. I was out shopping one afternoon when I happened to go into my local branch of John ¬†Menzies. Who should I spy behind the chocolate display rapidly trying t force a really expensive box of chocolates into a plain ‘elderly person’s’ shopping bag, but Mr Para.

They say what goes around comes around.

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