Witness to a storm in a teacup
This particular car park was on my beat, and I was just taking a passing interest when a member of the public confronted me.
“Officer, there’s a car blocking the alleyway.”
“Right, I’ll come and take a look.” Said I.
Sure enough, there’s one of those little short wheelbase Jeep thingy’s resting stern first against a grey people carrier blocking the main aisle and access. A silly person had parked their pride and joy without apparently engaging the handbrake. Said rinky dinky little 4x4 had subsequently rolled very gently backwards a distance of some fifteen feet and fetched up against the front of a grey people carrier with the slightest of bumps. No real damage done because the bumpers appeared to have absorbed all the impact energy. Member of public, having drawn my attention to the matter, swans off, leaving me scratching my head. What should I do? Book the vehicle on a code 86 (Parked beyond the bay markings) and leave it there, or do the decent thing and roll it back from whence it came? I opted (Possibly foolishly) for the latter.
Now I’m a big strong chap, and pushing one of these little things back into place isn’t really much of a problem, but there was the issue of being able to steer it as well. Not to mention holding it in place while finding something to stop it rolling back again. Fortunately, another gentleman volunteered his services to watch over things while I found something to chock the wheels in place. Ten minutes and a bit of grunting later, we’d pushed the vehicle back into place, chocked the wheels and left a note on the windscreens of both vehicles, letting the drivers know what happened. I couldn’t see any damage apart from a couple of dusty scratches on the People Carriers number plate. Tell you the truth; I thought no more about it.
That afternoon I was talking to one of the lads on the late shift;
“Hey Bill, did you leave a note on the windscreen of a 4x4?”
“Yeah, it’d rolled across the car park and fetched up against a grey people carrier. No damage. Stupid person had forgotten to put their handbrake on, that’s all.”
“Yeah mate, the driver came back and got all snotty with me.”
“Gave me a right mouthful she did. Saying how she never put the handbrake on and her vehicle hadn’t moved.”
“Sounds like I should have left the bloody thing where it was.”
“Yeah mate, you should have just booked it for out of bay.” He added. “I told her ‘madam, he left you that note to let you know you’d left your handbrake off’ – it just made her worse.” He grinned. “She wasn’t having any of it and even when I pointed out where you’d chocked the wheels in place to stop it moving she went off in a right frump. The other lady was all right about it though.”
“Tell you the truth I could hardly see any damage.” I shrugged.
“Fancy leaving your car parked without the handbrake on. Dipshit.” He scoffed.
“Gordon Bennett, just when you think people can’t get any thicker.” I replied with a heavy sigh. We laughed at the idiocy of the 4x4 driver and left it at that.
Two weeks later Kerry, my line manager, called me to the front office. “Bill, did you deal with that 4x4 in the car park a couple of weeks ago?”
“If it’s the one I’m thinking of, yes. The one that had rolled across the gangway?”
“Here you go. They want a witness statement.” She handed me a brown A5 envelope.
“Bugger.” I vouchsafed as I saw the insurance company form inside. “Oh all right.”
“Cheers Kerry.” I said with a cheerfulness I really didn’t feel. Kerry smirked at me; she knows how I detest form filling. Notwithstanding, I checked out the details and filled out the witness statement form, thinking that was that. A month later another witness form was handed to me, this time from another insurance company. This too got the same treatment. Form filled in, exactly the same information – returned to the insurance company.
One month ago I received yet another form to fill in, this time from the Police. WTF? A car rolls backwards because some idiot can’t stick a handbrake on in a council car park, hardly any visible damage, and all of a sudden the Police want a report? So this gets ‘crimed’ and listed as a ‘detection’? Bloody hell. Oh well, another day, another bloody form. I looked at it for the best part of a week, all sorts of things going through my head. Had the driver of the vehicle we had pushed back into a vacant bay and chocked in place said that her vehicle had been vandalised and blamed me because I’d had the common decency to leave a note on her windscreen telling her what had happened? Wouldn’t surprise me. Or was this a case of someone looking for a statistic? Well, do you know what I did with their bloody form?
Reader, I filled it in.