So the subject came up recently of “How long have you been over here?’, to which my stock answer is “Some say too long…” But when pressed I will admit to emigrating in 19___. However this time I put in an addendum of I should have flown over a week or so earlier, but was delayed at the request of the Crown Prosecution Service.
So go back a few months, it must have been late the previous year, knowing the ponderous movement of the Crown Prosecution Service. We were running a radar patrol in the town of West ___________. Over there at that time radar patrol meant finding the one person on the section actually qualified to use the approved device, which was handheld not vehicle mounted. Then picking a good spot, setting up a sign. Now it is interesting that we had to set up a sign at all, rumour control had it that a senior office had been caught in a speed trap, which was not showing any warning sign about the radar trap, and had commented that for safety or something, shouldn’t we have a warning sign. So we set up the warning sign, which could only be clearly read if you happened to be stopped where we were, not by approaching vehicles.
I have no idea why we set up in West ________, no one really sped down the main street, certainly not where we were, by the school. It was a residential area, so 35mph, bit of a hill, the few vehicles that did pass through were just normal people travelling at normal speed. We had one vehicle ready to go as a chase vehicle, but soon got very bored. So we decided to pack it in, the sign got put away, the radar gun too, then we heard the revving engine. A compact came roaring over the hill, way over the posted limit, in one of those ‘gotcha’ moments, for us when we realized the ‘chase’ vehicle operator was out of his vehicle, everyone was packing stuff up, no one was ready, the one vehicle travelling at speed the whole evening had just become ‘the one who got away’. Then just as the sound of the vehicle died away and we all looked at each other, you could hear the screech of brakes, a rapid three-point turn, and the revving of a small engine approaching. This time I was ready, got in the cruiser, warmed to coil on the diesel engine (no, really, diesel cruisers) and fired it up just in time to pull out after the speeding compact, narrowly missing my co-pilot who was making some wort of attempt to flag the vehicle down. Needless to say I was happy to not have him in the cruiser, but slightly disappointed at having missed him as I pulled out.
Of course all the other piled in their cars, but you have to be up with the ‘bandit’ vehicle to actually be chasing it, so I felt I was pretty much alone, I couldn’t even see any lights behind me. So as we get more into the center of the village, the bandit vehicle slows right down, and I get ready, knowing what is coming next. Both doors open and the drive and passenger bail out while the vehicle is still moving. Apparently they had not practiced this manoever, since the passenger got stuck slightly, then they both rolled free and started running as their stolen vehicle ran on into a few parked cars. I abandoned by cruiser in the middle fo the road, not even bothering to shut it off, knowing there was colleagues shortly behind me, and started off running after them. Needless to say they quickly got out of sight in the rabbi warren of a housing estate. So we tried to zone off the area, and kept looking for a couple of hours. I was quite happy to not get the accident report for when the abandoned vehicle ran into parked cars, and a quick check with the registered owner revealed it was stolen.
Then right around the time we were getting ready to call it off, I was called to where a colleague had come across two brothers walking through the housing estate who matched my description. So when I got there I recognized the sweaters there were wearing immediately. They now had their sleeves down, but when I had last seen them, they had their sleeves up, so I had them raise their sleeves, and you could see the marks the sleeves had left on their elbows when they had them up, and some gravel marks from where they had bailed out of the car. So I got to take them both for TWOC, which is “Taking Without Consent.” An interesting statute that was needed after the legal definition of theft was found to only cover if the suspect intended to permanently deprive the owner of the property, which these joy-riders did not, they just wanted to take it for a ride and blow through a police radar check point.
So we get them back to the nick, and it smells like they have been drinking and are underage, so I require a breathalyzer from the brother I think was the driver, and my co-pilot ( yes the one I almost ran over ) decided that when they turned the vehicle around, he thinks they also changed drivers, so he wanted the other driver for a breathalyzer test also. So we wrote up our paperwork and forgot all about it. Then weeks later CID came to me and mentioned that these two were pretty much a two-man crime spree in West ______, and they had information that they were responsible for a recent spate of car thefts in the area, despite being juveniles, and I was being congratulated for possibly bringing the case forward which could put an end to their thriving ways for a while.
While the case was being prepared, I recalled a similar even the summer before when another compact car had made off from me and other officer one afternoon, right in the same area, we thought we had it when it drove down a cul-de-sac, but once again the occupants bailed and with only the two of us, we didn’t catch them then, but they did abandon their vehicle with the keys in it. the vehicle had been purchased for cash from someone who couldn’t remember anything about the purchaser, and of course it had not been re-registered. Well, somehow the tyres lost all their air, and the lights got left on overnight, with the vehicle secured and key removed for safekeeping. So by the morning it was still there, and the neighbourhood kids spotted it at their mercy. We would go back to visit everyday, just to see how much attention the kids were giving it, which was a lot once they realized it was abandoned. A couple of times we were called to kids damaging a car down there, and we always appeared to be right the other end of the area, so ti always took us a long time to get there.
Of course the two brothers skipped bail once, so we got to go arrest them again for the same issue, which is always a pleasure, the ‘six o’clock knock’ as it was known. While we were handing them over to CID, who had finished their case and were already to take the brothers to court, a possible court date was mentioned, and I jokingly said if that was the earliest they had for a court date, then they would need to buy me an airline ticket, since I was leaving for the US. Well tha must have caused some ruckus in CID, The COD Officer in the case had put a lot of time into this one, these kids were responsible for a lot of vehicle crime, and they were hoping to clear up a lot of them in exchange for a plea deal, which would do wonders for the crime statistics. So I had to explain that not only was I leaving the Force, I was leaving the country, and would be well gone by the time the court date came through. So I didn’t hear anything for a while, except that i was no longer allowed to patrol, in case I got into anything else I might have to appear for in court, and so had to sit at the satellite station on the desk all day.
Then CID came up with a compromise, instead of the case going before juvenile court on the same day, they would have me testify on my own, then the defense would give evidence a while later. Of course the date was still after I had planned to emigrate, but only by a week, and the CPS wrote a letter to my airline compelling them to honour my ticket as I had been required for a prosecution. Of course by the time I testified I had actually left the force, and had no uniform, in fact most of my clothe’s were packed, all I had left was travelling clothes, and the first thing I had to do once I got onto the stand was to apologize for my appearance in front of the court and explain why I was dressed to casually.
Once I had given evidence, the COD officer in the case asked it i would like to know how it turned out, so I gave him my US number, and left for the last time. He called about three weeks later, we had won, they got sent down. But by then I actually don’t think I really cared, it was all so very far away.