Normally the exchange starts when you catch their vehicle on a restriction which they don’t want to move off. Today’s offering is from the driver of a car I found on plonked saucily on a single yellow line. I’m still punching in details when the driver arrives.
“You aren’t booking me are you?” He asked plaintively.
“I will do if you’re still here in four minutes sir.” Come on, come on, if you don’t want a ticket – shift your arse.
“I’ll move it, I’ll move it!”
“All right sir, quickly now please.”
“You could have knocked on my door you know.”
“Not allowed to sir.”
“What, just as a courtesy?”
“Not even as that sir, or I’d be forever knocking on doors.”
“Surely you could use your discretion?”
“Don’t have any discretionary powers sir. Besides, I’m not allowed to enter peoples property.”
“Come off it!”
“Absolutely true sir. Mainly because I’m an officer of the Civil as opposed to the Criminal law. A PCSO or a proper copper can knock on your door, but I’m actually not allowed to.”
“I mean you could actually ignore that couldn’t you?”
“And get my backside kicked into low earth orbit by my management sir? No thanks.” And whoever's door I knocked on while they were sleeping / shagging etc.
“Surely you could, say when you get up in the morning, decide to exercise a little discretion on the day?”
“I can use my initiative sir, but that’s not the same. Still doesn’t give me discretionary powers. That’s outside my part of the 1991 Road Traffic Act.”
“Yes but surely..”
“Look sir, I move ‘em or book ‘em. Don’t care which.” Speaking of which, Are you going to move?
“You know I’d like nothing better than to buy you a coffee and argue this through some time.” Oh God.
“Wouldn’t make any odds sir, you’d be better off talking to the politicians and civil servants who framed the legislation.”
“Yeah but couldn’t you..”
“Do it for one sir, I’d have to do it for everyone. Got to be fair.” Now move it sunshine.
“Okay, I’m going, I’m going.” He goes to close the car door. “Are you sure you don’t have any discretion?”
“No sir.” Move, sunbeam!
“I’m going.” He finally starts the car engine and drives away. Thank goodness for that. I’ve got another six hours patrol and fifteen streets to cover and I just don’t have time for conversations that go round and round before disappearing down their own circular logic.