Down the Docks

June 20, 2006

Met Humour

Filed under: General — ealing @ 10:42 am

How many Met officers does it take to attend a single car stop when the driver and both passengers are co-operating?

I was in the back seat of a car, getting a lift back from Bar Salsa at about 2.30 am. The driver turned from Tottenham Court Road on to Marylebone Road, and we were pulled over immediately. I wondered if he'd run a red light while we were talking. A policeman approached the car, and fairly rudely told the driver to get out and we passengers to stay in. We overheard the officer suggesting that the car had been exported. His accomplice flashed his torch into the car for a quick nose around.

A police van pulled up, disgorging four more of London's finest, who had nothing to do except make the place look untidy. The driver looked bored while the police looked at the engine; I guess they were looking for a chassis number or some such. After about ten minutes they gave up and left. Their last comment to the driver was something along the lines of, "Well, it came up wrong before, but it's fine now". Their claim was that the car registration was reported as exported ten minutes previously, but now wasn't. Well, I have a word for that claim, but some family members read this blog, so I'm not going to use it here.

"Driving while Asian" was the conclusion of the Asian driver and his Asian front-seat passenger. I'm inclined to agree, although there are alternative explanations involving incompetence. I'm not at all surprised that the Met have PR problems.



  1. I got pulled because my blue Mini came up as an orange Yugo when the policeman radioed the reg number in. I said my documents were only round the corner and why don’t I go get them so I got a ride in the police car and on the way over there they radioed the number in again and it came back as a blue Mini belonging to me. So it might not have been a “driving while asian” offence…

    But nuts to the “benefit of the doubt!” the police are all bastards!

    Comment by sweavo — June 20, 2006 @ 8:56 pm

  2. As I said, incompetence is a possibility. I'm sure you know, though, that databases don't just fix themselves. If they got the wrong answer back, it's because someone couldn't read or type.

    They might have got the benefit of the doubt if they had managed to be polite while stopping the car, to rectify their mistake in a reasonable time and to apologise.

    Comment by ealing — June 20, 2006 @ 9:15 pm

  3. Indeed. Someone at work says “never attribute to malice that which can be sufficiently explained by incompetence”… however I think they are being unduly charitable. I would add “never dismiss short-sighted selfish resentful spite”

    Comment by sweavo — June 21, 2006 @ 12:18 pm

  4. I had Hanlon's Razor in mind when I wrote the post. But whether the stop was caused by stupidity or malice, I still object to their rudeness as well.

    Comment by ealing — June 21, 2006 @ 1:03 pm

  5. Don’t they have cameras that can automatically read every number plate in front of the rozzerwagon and check it against the computer? I can’t imagine that the system is perfect.

    I should also think there’s bugger all else to do at 2.30am. You should be grateful they didn’t shoot you. I would have done.

    Comment by beest — June 24, 2006 @ 8:43 am

  6. Shooting would have been a bit inappropriate, but a quick tasering at that time of night is only fair.

    Comment by Iain — July 30, 2006 @ 8:32 pm

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