Following the surge of interest in my ‘interaction’ with an officer of London’s Met Police, I have an up-date and some interesting information for anyone troubled by such issues.
Powered by the energy of thousands of global readers connecting with my trifling strife with woman “officer” Snell (No: TL7449), I cranked up the one man revolution and took it to my local cop shop. The desk sergeant quickly informed me that a complaint against the police can only be dealt with by an Inspector – and the one Inspector for the borough was not available. He was in with the “Chief”. Oh, OK, do get him to call me, thank you. I left not expecting to hear anything too soon.
After a stroll through the sales – Joseph, Conran, Harrods – I headed back, empty-handed, to HQ at the gasworks to continue developing the empire. Then the phone rang out: an Inspector called.
I will not provide his name, but suffice to say that our ensuing 25 minute conversation helped reaffirm my life-long belief that the police are, in the main, good and fair and deserve our support. This chap was open, articulate, understanding and wise.
Inspector X listened to my little tale and agreed whole-heartedly that I had a worthy complaint. It was not piffle, he said, but important for all concerned to get these things right. He was aghast at the conduct of the officer and lambasted her as “arrogant” “not good enough” and “infantile”. “This is not the way we should be treating people and is not of the high standards that we expect” he added.
More importantly Insp X outlined a few facts that you all might find worth knowing:
1. It is most definitely NOT against the law to take a photo of a policeman in the UK. “We should carry on our duty irrespective of how many cameras flash away.”
2. There is no law to say that you MUST give a policeman your name and address if they stop you. It is only required if you are suspected of an offence.
3. He revealed that the “Stop and Account” forms are likely to be scrapped in the coming months because they are unpopular with the police and proving counter productive in terms of public relations. Yep, they sure are.
4. Snell is not – as she claimed to me – a fully loaded police woman. Although full time, she is in fact a Community Support Officer (The number “7” in front of an officer’s lapel code denotes this).
5. Most interestingly, Snell acted improperly by demanding to look through my phone files. This constitutes a “Search” and in her Support Officer capacity she does NOT hold the power to do this without instruction and observation by a PC. At the time of looking at my phone, her colleague (a proper copper) was busy “busting” the cyclist.
OK, so where does all this lead? Well, Inspector X was happy to relay an official complaint to the West End police where Snell is based, which would ultimately lead to her getting bollocked. Or, he suggested he personally haul her in and do it himself. “I could get her in, no problem, and shout at her, then let you know how it goes,” he said. Oh, how civilised. “It might be that this is one of a number of complaints and might be the hair that breaks the camel’s back…”
Well, there you have it. The obnoxious, officious, small-minded Snell is in the doo-da. The police, G’awd bless ’em, are on to her. They are there to fight for us I’m sure, even if it doesn’t always feel like it.
I will report back. The ‘Not Guilty One of Oxford Street’ is nearly free.