Friday, 19 October 2007

Down at the Police Station

I am just back from the Police Station and the experience there was as dismal as I expected it to be.

This was the third time I had set foot in a Police Station. The first time had been to report problems I had had with a friend of my first landlord (I might blog about this someday - I don't seem to already have) and the second time was to report the theft of my wallet on a bus. The theft report had been quite uneventful but during my first visit, I had not been taken seriously (despite the seriousness of what I was reported) and nothing came of it.

As I got to the bus stop to start my way home earlier today, I found a battered mobile phone. Being the good Samaritan that my mother taught me to be, I picked the thing up and decided to bring it to the Police. The owner might be glad to get it back.

I went to Vauxhall Police Station which is one I know of and close to where I live. When I entered the place I found myself in a small hallway with only two seats and several people already waiting. The space faces a glass wall with electric doors behind which is a counter also protected by a glass wall. This was as unwelcoming as it could be.

There was no one at the counter. The clerk in attendance was busy with two women in another similar space on the side. After a while the clerk opened our glass door and most of the people who were waiting before me walked up to the counter, gave their names, signed a piece of paper and left(presumably something to do with probation). I walked in too and when I stated my reason for being there, I was told that I would have to fill in forms and that the clerk would be "a while" yet. That was about 17:25.

I didn't get out of the darn place until 19:00. In the meantime, the other person in the room behind the counter stopped surfing the net and left the building, presumably to go home. Other people came in and out having signed in. Two young women came in to pick a young boy who had been arrested. the next person in line after me was a young (cute-ish) French man who came in to report the loss of his wallet. He had a discreet little cry about it and when I left I wished him "bonne chance".

The deposition of the found phone itself took about 2 min. The clerk who eventually filled in the form (a different one from when I arrive as the first one finished her shift at 19:00) didn't even bother to take the details of the location where I found the phone properly.

In all, I spent about 1.45min there and to be honest, I think the next time I find something I will think twice about picking the thing up and reporting it. The media are full of calls for closer social bonds, for people to be more good citizens, to be more civically minded. But it seems that very little is done to actually encourage people who are trying to do something in this direction.

Still, looking on the bright side, I could find myself the happy owner of a tattered red Samsung mobile phone within four weeks if the rightful owner is not found by then and if I can be bothered to claim the thing!

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