Monday 13 October 2008
Things That Have Annoyed Me Recently (part 3)
Recently, in Custody.
I had arrested a woman in her late forties who had been rather silly - she was not known to Police before and basically had been caught doing something that she knew was wrong in a moment of stupidity.
We all deal with this kind of person occasionally, someone who has thus far led relatively blameless lives and suddenly they come to the attention of Police.
No, before you ask, this was not a figures arrest. In fact, there was no detection involved in this one...
We had brought her in, and the woman was obviously terrified. Unlike our usual, regular customers she felt shame at being arrested and obviously didn't want to be with us.
She also told the Custody Sergeant she suffered from claustrophobia.
Now, as any copper will no doubt attest, a huge amount of the clientelle we get in our cells will claim they have claustrophobia, or any other condition they can think of to get released, bailed, or just to wind up the coppers.
This woman was obviously not playing the system, so after a brief chat with the Custody Sergeant (and an even briefer trip to the cell door, discovering she quietly having palpatations) we brought her out of the cell and sat her on one of the metal seats opposite the Sergeant's desk, where the Skippers could keep an eye on her.
I was writing my arrest notes when our borough commander walked in, on one of his rare trips to see the troops in custody. As he went up to annoy the custody sergeants, I thought it prudent to make myself busy so decided to get the kettle on and brew up for the Sergeants.
For those of you not in the job, Custody Sergeants run on tea. Without tea on a fifteen minute cycle they will not, and in fact can not function.
I made a list of who was drinking what, and as I went past the huddled, shivering nervous woman I had arrested, I took pity and said "Tea love?"
She shook her head, and I contined on to the kitchen area.
Follwed by the Borough Commander.
Expecting a chat about the borough's "basket of ten," or possibly a bollocking for taking the prisoner out of the cell, I was surprised at the topic of conversation he chose.
A ten minute lecture on the inappropriateness of calling a female prisoner "love."
A promise that this would be mentioned to my team inspector.
And a threat that if said prisoner made a complaint against me, the borough commander would have no choice but to give evidence on her behalf due to the blatant and flagrantly open way I had chosen to use this "wholly inappropriate term in a public, CCTV recorded arena."
He then disappeared off - one of the Custody Sergeants told me later that as I was boiling the kettle (and boiling up inside) our wonderful leader went up to said suspect and offered her his apologies.
As I came back with the teas, the boss was gone from the custody area. I sat down next to the woman, and gave her a tea - yes, she had said no, but she needed a little kindness.
"You OK love?"
She smiled wanly as she took the cup.
"I'm OK, thanks for this. But who was the idiot in the hat who came in?"