The time I drove a Rolls Royce


So back in the day, while I was still a “proby” or probationer Police Officer in Maidstone, Kent, we were on patrol, day shift, not assigned any particular detail, just roving around taking whatever calls would be good training points, like shoplifter. Well one weekday afternoon, a disgruntled barman at the local golf-club called in, it was a fancy place, they would call it a country club over here. Apparently he had a rather arrogant customer in the bar, drinking heavily and insulting the barman, and would be driving a rather recognizable vehicle when he left for his home, some two miles away.

So we ‘sat-up’ on him, the barman kindly called to confirm when he was leaving the bar, and we were waiting half-way to his home. Now over there, under the Road Traffic Act, an uniformed Police Officer in a fully marked and liveried police car may stop and inspect the driving documents of any vehicle and driver on a public road. Not like over here where you have to wait for the driver to commit a moving violation. The advantage is quite obvious, UK police can choose a safe place to pull the vehicle over at a time completely under their control.

So anyway we pulled the good old boy over, in his older model Rolls Royce and he was definitely feeling no pain. I haven’t seen many Roll’s being driven in person, but form the parades you see on TV, I expect one drives a Roller fairly sedately, which is what this guy was doing, which may have had more to do with his state of intoxication more than any sedate driving technique.

Again the differences over there, no Field Sobriety Test, actually we did not have the Lion Handheld Intoximeter, of which only a couple were available at the station. Instead we had the old glass tube and bag, there is a crystal form of something or other in the glass tube, you cut off either end and insert it int he tube for the bag, the driver fills the bag, the crystals turn color. If enough of the crystal turns, up to a line, you have suspicion of intoxication.


So obviously he blew well over the line, he was a fairly happy drunk, quite happy to blow, did a good job of it, not trying to blow around the tube, or giving up half-way through. So he got nicked, but then there was the problem of what do you do with the car? I mean, you’re not going to leave a Roller sitting at the side of the road.

Well he only lived a mile or so down the road, where his car would be garaged in a secured yard, so I hopped in the Roller, while my Field Training Officer drove behind with the drunk in custody, and drove it to the guy’s house.

It was of course a totally sweet ride, it was an older model Roller, the interior seemed to be a time capsule from the 1970’s, a lot of beige, nothing really very special. But then I suppose I was sitting in the chauffeur’s seat, the real luxury would have been in the rear seats where the owner would sit. Which is odd because this guy drove himself, or at least he had been driving himself, perhaps he would have to get a chauffeur for a while

He was still quite merry on the ride to the nick, and during the booking in process. part of the process is to list the possessions of the prisoner, which, reaching into various pockets, proved to be over 7,000 pounds sterling just in petty cash on his person, spending money for the weekend. I forget what he had done for work, but it had been pretty good to him I guess, he was certainly good mannered with us, although he may have been saving his ire for the barman later on.


About limey6

Father of four, husband of one, Ex-pat ex cop Englishman living in rural Maine
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