Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Police Systems: Trivial

Do the police want our help, are there systems and/or the people they employ just absolutely crap?

Let me tell you a wee story about a trivial occurrence.

A week or so ago I’d gone on one of my regular trips to Ikea and on the way I saw a van parked entirely on the pavement blocking it totally to the extent that a mother with a child in a buggy had to step onto a busy road to get past.  I’m sure this happens everywhere every day and I’ve never before  been bothered to anything about it.  But when I passed the van a couple of hours later still in the same place I decided to phone the police.

I stopped in a safe and legal place – honestly, constable, phoned and got through to Lothian & Borders Police Central switchboard.

Voice 1: “Do you have the van registration number?”

Me: “No, but I can tell you exactly where the van is.”

Voice 1: “We need the registration number.  All I can do is put you through to PoliceAssist”.

Me: “I want to report a van that is park very illegally. [OK, I know, it’s either legal or not]

Voice 2: (at PoliceAssist): Do you have the registration number?

Me: “No, but I can tell you exactly where the van is.”

Voice 2: “I’m sorry but we need the registration number.”

Me: “But I can tell you where it is.”

Voice 2: “We need the registration number because the first thing we would do is to contact the registered owner.”

Me: (in utter frustration) But I can tell you exactly where it is.  But if the police aren’t interested in using this information then that’s their decision.  I can’t do any more.”

Voice 2: “Where is the van parked?”

I won’t bother you with any more direct quotes but, after all this, I was able to pass on the information.

I know it wasn’t crime of the century and that, in all probability, my info wasn’t followed up but why did I have to go through that rigmarole?

In the “old days” a policeman would have scribbled down some notes and within a few minutes a PC (police constable, you fool) would have been there.  The old days were much simpler before systems were invented.


  1. And in those days the Constable would probably have known the miscreant (no, not 'perp', they hadn't been invented!) by name. Times change.

  2. What was the van's registration?

  3. Probably, I should go to the pub and find out if anyone has access to the DVLC database.

  4. No one can think any more. It's all proceed by numbers.

  5. I had the same run around when my car was broken into some time ago!