Thursday, 18 November 2010

An unlikely match.

The Police. La Policia. The LAPD. The NYPD. The Feds. The Coppers. The Po-Pos. The Pigs. The Fuzz.
The list goes on. Not the general public's favourite group of people, although possibly that only applies to those with a guilty conscience, which I probably have. Especially when driving.
Monday night saw me apprehended once again for what the officer considered to be evasive driving. In reality, I was out picking mates up at 3am on popular student night in Eastbourne. Having picked two people up, I wasn't sure about what to do with the others, who seemed to have gone elsewhere. I pulled up at some traffic lights at a crossroad, and saw one of the people I thought I was picking up on the other side of the road. When the lights turned green, I turned right, then instantly pulled up on the side of the road to speak to Jamie. After he explained that he was off to find Henry, I moved away. A car had been waiting behind me at the traffic lights, on the road that I had just joined. It wasn't long before I had the dreaded blue flashes filling up my rear-view mirror. Over I pulled. I quickly made sure I knew where my phone was, and put it out of sight, before winding the window down.
"Allo mate, dya wana step out a minute." Out I got, not really knowing what I'd done, other than perhaps blocking the road when I spoke to Jamie.
"Right, basically mate, we've seen you pull over at the side of the road, possibly having just seen us. If you have any reason you shouldn't be on the road, or you don't wana get caught, it'd be fairly common to pull over in the hope that we'd pass you by, dya understand?"
"Yeah yeah, sure, but no, I duno if you saw me speaking to a guy at the side of the road?"
"Oh ok, well I'm just out picking a few mates up, I've got a couple of them already, but the others have disappeared, so we're just trying to find them."
"Right OK, well I'm gona have to breathalise you anyway, have you had anything to drink tonight?"
"And no mouthwash, cos that stuff can tamper with the device."
"No, only a McDonald's and a Fanta."
"Good, OK well take a deep breath and blow when you're ready. Keep going, keep going. OK." He looked at his fellow officer who also saw the reading.
"OK, thanks, I'll let you go, have a good night."
"Cheers, you too."
I got back into the car and was met by howls of laughter by Scott, who may or may not have realised that that was the third time I'd been breathalised in my life, and probably eleventh or twelfth time I'd been pulled over, and so I wasn't really bothered. Indeed. Not really something to be proud of, but I've been stopped for some fairly mundane things, like having rear lights out, having a dodgy-looking car, and just random stop checks.
I've also been done for doing 60 in a 40, however, as it was 2am on a Sunday night, and I was all alone on a dual carriageway, they said be careful and let me go. On the other end of the scale, I got caught doing almost double a 30 limit, on the wrong side of the road. I thought I was for it, it has to be said. Before you think I'm a complete nutter, here's a brief explanation.
In Eastbourne there is one of the widest roads I've ever come across. Cars can comfortably park on either side of it, and when vans are delivering goods or whatever, they even sometimes park next to cars that have already parked, as there's still plenty of room for moving traffic. Despite the width of the road, it's only a 30-limit as there are houses all along it, and the general weight of traffic means gaining much speed is often impossible. However, it was about 10pm, and there were very few cars out. Adam and I had been playing pool, and were making the mile-long journey back home. As there weren't many cars about, I decided not to waste time, and got up to about 45mph, when a car pulled out directly in front of me. I could easily have braked, but I could see there was no traffic coming in the opposite direction, so I overtook the car and went on the wrong side of a bollard before pulling back in.
Unfortunately for me, a police car had appeared behind me just as I carried out the manoeuvre, and was quickly up my backside with its flashers going. I feared the worst. Thankfully, the officer explained that as he had no camera in the car to record my speed, I couldn't be done for speeding, but I did get a serious telling-off, a fine, and a Section 59 warning. The warning equated to anti-social behaviour in a car and, if coupled with another one within a year, would give the police the power to seize my car on the spot, until I paid a substantial fine to release it.
So really, some of the things I've been caught doing, let alone not caught doing, make the things I got banned for pale into insignificance. Firstly, a 30-limit dual carriageway. Yes, you saw that right. How ridiculous. Southampton town centre, completely lost, in the dark and rain, looking for the Uni. Got up through the gears, didn't think I was going fast at all, didn't see the camera as I concentrating so hard on reading signs, bang, got me. Not happy.
Secondly, again lost, this time in Polegate high street, on my way to pick Adam up from playing squash. It was about 5pm, and the road was rammed. No-one moving anywhere. I phoned Adam to try and get directions for when I finally got moving. Undercover BMW going the other way saw me, and smashed me up. You need to have been on the road for 24 months for your six point limit to be turned into 12. I'd been on the road 23 months and a week. Cheers for that.
I was told that I was allowed to continue driving until I received a letter from the DVLA. That was on October 2nd. The letter arrived on February 27th. Fantastic work by them. Four-and-a-half months it took me to get back on the road, what a pain it was too.
So you'd think that with all this experience on the wrong side of the police that I'd hate them with a passion. In fact the opposite is true, and it is my ambition to become a police officer when I leave Uni. There are fewer things I'd rather do for a job than drive around in a beasty car, pulling over scum like me. I like to think I can take banter well, and have a knack for words, which might help me fit in with the cool guys when I try to find out what shit they're up to. I believe that if you're a policeman that is approachable and can be seen to have a laugh with any member of the public, people, criminal or innocent, will be more inclined to go along with what you ask.
Bit of an average blog, that, but I fancied it so there you go. Now for some sleep before lectures this afternoon. Cya.

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