Best "late for work" excuse
Hi Stephen and John

All I can say is that I'm glad I'm not in the job any more (more time to play the accordion !). It was often a pretty thankless task then and I can only imagine it's worse now.
Here in France there is little respect for the forces of law and order but I guess that dates back to the Revolution. I worked with their CID for 6 months as a translator and loved it even though I wasn't paid for another 6 months :lol:

Aye. The Baldy Man. IMHO , maybe not one of Gregor Fisher's best characters, but that hairstyle was brilliant!

You may have heard this one about an interpreter in Glasgow, when the old Justice of the Peace Courts were presided over by a Stipendiary Magistrate.

It was a busy Monday morning and there were a lot of cases being called. A German sailor had been jailed over the weekend for Breach of the Peace, and when he was called into the dock he indicated that he couldn't speak English.

The JP asked the Court Officer if there were any persons present who spoke fluent German, and who could translate for him. A wee half drunk Glaswegian, who was waiting for his brother to appear, piped up "Ah kin talk German".

The JP asked him how he had learned the language, and he replied that he had been a Prisoner of War in Germany during WW2 for three years. Satisfied that was his only option the JP, "swore in" the "interpreter". He then indicated he would ask the prisoner questions in English and would expect the man to translate his question, verbatim, in German.

The JP began by asking the prisoner "What is your name?", and there was silence. The Court Officer told the wee Glaswegian that he should ask the German sailor the same question in German. At that the wee Glasgow man rose as tall as he could muster and shouted out at the top of his voice "Vot is your name, you useless schwein?"

That was the end of his interpreting career, and his liberty, for the next 7 days. "Take him down immediately for contempt!"

He never received payment either!
Brilliant ! :lol:
Hi Sally,

Amen to that !!!! I (mostly) enjoyed my service, despite the inevitable clashes with certain senior colleagues.

I'm afraid that my temperament would not suit modern policing methods, as I would most certainly revert to old fashioned (but well proven) methods of controlling thugs.

It now appears that officers are expected to take on the role of "social worker", though it is my firmly held belief that police officers should only be concerned with "protecting life and property and prosecuting offenders against the crown." That is what I signed up for, and is precisely what I did.

Playing games with serious offenders is a recipe for disaster, and expecting a "softly, softly" approach to work with these mutts is seriously naïve.

There is a direct correlation between penal reform and the increase in crime. Between 1954 & 1989, there was a 1,000% increase in crime, directly related to the aforementioned reforms. Even with population growth taken into account, those figures represent a massive and unchallenged assault on the very fabric of our nation.

Many villains could cite me as the reason they were late for work, some of them being late by many years.

Kind Regards,

You'll both know the job was full of characters.

Constable Robert (Rab) Millar was one of those.

A very irate couple arrived at Livingston Police Office, and Rab strolled out to the public counter to meet them.

The couple had lost their suitcases at Edinburgh Airport as they never arrived at Baggage Reclaim. The procedure was they should have gone to a representative of their airline and reported the matter in the first instance. At that stage if the luggage couldn't be found the airline would report the matter to the Airport Police. It was basically an "in house" situation that shouldn't have involved the couple calling at Livingston at all.

Rab attempted to explain the situation and advised the couple that he was unable to take the report of a crime unless the airline reported the luggage missing.

The female got very irate and threatened Rab with every kind of action imaginable.

Rab kept his cool, until it was clear he was talking to a brick wall:-

Rab:- "You need to report the matter to your airline first, so that we know the luggage isn't still lying at Edinburgh Airport."

Lady:- "Why can't you do that?"

Rab:- " I've tried to explain the reasons why you must do it, so can you just please leave the police office and do what I ask."

Lady:- "Why?"

Rab:- "Because until the airline confirms they haven't got your luggage then we don't know whether a crime has been committed."

Lady:- "I'm going to report you and sue the police for incompetence."

Rab:- "Please yourself, but it looks to me that you haven't got a case!"

That was Rab at his best. I believe at that stage another officer had to step in to prevent a riot at the public counter.
<QUOTE author="Stephen Hawkins" post_id="61696" time="1533462048" user_id="1440"><s>
Stephen Hawkins post_id=61696 time=1533462048 user_id=1440 Wrote:There is a direct correlation between penal reform and the increase in crime. Between 1954 & 1989, there was a 1,000% increase in crime, directly related to the aforementioned reforms. Even with population growth taken into account, those figures represent a massive and unchallenged assault on the very fabric of our nation.


It's the old story of everybody wanting us to sort it all out, but nobody being prepared to back us up. Seems to be a worldwide issue.

There is simply no deterrent against anything, as evidenced by the overpopulated prisons and ineffective legal "systems" in countries the world over.

Generations of politicians have sat back and watched it happen, knowing they can blame the police for it all. Every good guy might have an ally or two, usually a close friend and/or family member. Every bad guy has at least 20, who will usually include a lawyer, a politician, and a whole "team" of do-gooders, determined not to allow their country to turn into a police state.

There's no harm in not wanting a police state, because they are in a big enough state already!

Glad it was all over for me 14 years ago.
While I remember Rab Millar, here are two of his priceless ones. I know this whole thread is getting a bit stale and is well off its intended path, but couldn't resist these.

Rab moved to CID and eventually ended up working with less experienced types as their "mentor". As luck would have it, one such pairing was Rab Millar with Symon Miller, and Symon was very much your well spoken type, unlike Rab, who was from Harthill, and spoke like I did.

They were continually getting mixed up on account of their surnames, and Rab used to tell people to remember he was the Millar with an "a".

Symon latched onto this identification lark, and was in the middle of a telephone call to a member of the public when he became aware that the Chief Superintendent had entered the room. Rab had his back to the door and was blissfully innocent of the fact. Symon ended his call by saying "Remember that's Symon with a "y" and Miller with an "e"." Rab blurted out, "Aye and "tit" wi' two f*****g tees!" Enter the Chief Superintendent who asked Rab what he was playing at. Rab shrugged his shoulders and said he was only being honest. Turns out he was right as Symon was about to be told he was going back on uniform duties the following week following an unsuccessful attachment.

The other one was when yet again Winchburgh Primary School was almost burned down, with the usual suspect being Wullie "The Torch" Crawford. Wullie wasn't the brightest, but was well used to police questioning. We were sent to Winchburgh to detain him, and there was still a faint smell of petrol on him. We took him to Broxburn police office where Rab and another detective (not Symon) met us.

Rab immediately asked Wullie what type of jacket he was wearing and Wullie said it was a bomber jacket. Rab retorted by saying he thought a guy like Wullie should be wearing a "blazer." The laughter obviously annoyed Wullie who became pretty belligerent. Rab thought for a moment then said "We'll just have to put him on the lie detecting machine, then" .

Wullie was then taken to a big table sized photocopying machine, and Rab put Wullie's hand down on the glass for a few seconds. He asked Wullie if he had started the fire at Winchburgh Primary School, and Wullie vehemently denied it. Rab then went to the paper tray and pulled out a single A4 sheet, which bore the typed words "William James Crawford is a liar. Caution and charge him with Wilful Fireraising." Rab had typed the sheet off and printed it at Livingston before he came to Broxburn. Wullie told Rab he had been conned and was going to plead not guilty. Wullie's lawyer point blank refused to believe that such a thing had happened and advised him to plead guilty, which he did. Traces of accelerant (petrol) were found on his bomber jacket, so no admission of guilt was required.

With the Scottish system verbal admissions/confessions often amounted to next to nothing, and if there was no "real" evidence, there wasn't much of a case. The old English Question and Answer type of interview was avoided wherever possible in Scotland, although it became more common in the years immediately before I retired, usually in more serious cases.

Scottish "Interview":- "Did you break the window?" "Aye."= caution and charge. "Naw",or "Nae comment" = consider what evidence is available and either charge or release.

Rab was obviously an early exponent of "Trial by lie detector" , and as far as I know he never did it again, for fear of ending up in the same jail as his accused.
Hi Sally & John,

You will both be aware of the procedure regarding duty solicitors, and the occasional abuse of that system.

I will not be specific in any way, but ask you to imagine a scenario in which a prisoner has asked for the duty solicitor. Shortly after this request, a very smart and well dressed man enters the cell and introduces himself as Mr. Gerrard. (or whatever)

The prisoner is put at his ease by Mr Gerrard, who asks him about the crime he has committed. Mr Gerrard assures the prisoner that he can be honest with him, and that he will fight the case on his behalf.

After extracting any information he can about accomplices and the whereabouts of any stolen property or drugs, Mr Gerrard leaves the cell, never to be seen again.

I know that can't happen these days, but it sure as hell worked in days of yore.

Kind Regards,

I like that one, Stephen but the custody sheet would have been ripped to shreds !!

John - did you ever come across a Glasgow lawyer named Beltrami ??? The neds' cry "Get me Beltrami" was never a welcome sound.
Stephen - We had a white doctor's coat so that prisoners could be pronounced "fit to be detained", presumably by "Dr. Gerrard".

Sally - Beltrami's staff occasionally attended at Livingston, and he was a fairly regular feature in big trials in Edinburgh.

We had our own hard core cop hating lawyers in Edinburgh who were determined to undermine the reputation of any police witnesses. They had the legal aid system off to a tee. They'd turn up with cigarettes, food, and cash for the prisoners and offer them lifts to and from court. Every trial was an advertising plug for them and even if there was no hope of an acquittal they would try and belittle the police witnesses for the entertainment of the public gallery.
Discredit the witness ... it was the game they played. We were well-coached for court - I once had to restrain a giggle when after 3 replies of "I don't recall" the lawyer said "You seem to have a selective memory" - I peered over my half moon glasses, raised my eyebrows and didn't reply. He didn't pursue that line of enquiry ! Once the sarcasm starts, you know they're going nowhere. It's the quiet smooth talkers you have to watch ... and never let them get hold of your notebook unless non-relevant pages are glued down ....
I was never very good in court, as I was OK at writing English but terrible at speaking it.

In one silly District Court trial the lawyer caught me out with two words I never knew the meaning of. He then began a tirade of cop bashing inferring I was not very clever. At that point I said "That's correct, I'm not very clever at all sir." His face was beaming and he said "Did you write the police report yourself?" I replied that I had not, and he almost jumped for joy. He said "Well then Constable if you didn't write the report who did?"

I said, "The custody officers at the Central Charge Office write the reports for all the arrests presented to them within the city centre area, as the police officers who work that area aren't very clever, as you have pointed out." We just gave verbal statements to the custody officers, cautioned and charged the accused, then went back out onto the street again for the next round).

The court gallery erupted and I thought I was a goner. There were three Justices of the Peace presiding, and two of them reached for their handkerchiefs. The third one, a very stern lady, addressed me, "Constable, why did you make such a satirical comment directed at the defence?" I replied, "I'm sorry my Lady, but I left school when I was 15, and don't know what "satirical" means."

She shook her head in despair and said " Case proved. The accused is fined £200 with no time to pay." (he was sent down for 14 days).

I learned that "stupid cop" routine from an old Irish cop, Paddy McMahon, who told me never to try and play lawyers at their own game in court. He knew I was 3/4 Irish and advised me to just play "Paddy doesn't know that word, sir." Maybe not recommended in a higher level court, but it worked fine most of the time.
Hi Guys,

I loved court, as it gave me the opportunity to sneak up on the defence brief's blind side. In the old days, we didn't always have prosecuting lawyers, and experienced officers would be called upon to prosecute.

I'm sure that you both had annual appraisals, and am equally sure that they would have been more than satisfactory.

My arrest record was staggeringly large, a fact which was mentioned on my annual appraisal. Our Ch Supt just couldn't leave it at that, and asked for a written explanation for my success. My Inspector wrote just three words in response, and they were: "Low Animal Cunning."

I rather liked that.

Kind Regards,

<QUOTE author="Stephen Hawkins"><s>
Stephen Hawkins Wrote:My arrest record was staggeringly large, a fact which was mentioned on my annual appraisal. Our Ch Supt just couldn't leave it at that, and asked for a written explanation for my success. My Inspector wrote just three words in response, and they were: "Low Animal Cunning."

<QUOTE author="Maugein"><s>
Maugein Wrote:I learned that "stupid cop" routine from an old Irish cop, Paddy McMahon, who told me never to try and play lawyers at their own game in court.
Absolutely right. The dumb cop thing is a useful tool.

I once pulled a Mini that looked very overloaded, the chassis was almost on the ground. At that time I was on rural patrol on my own which was quite normal in rural areas. I asked the driver for his papers and he said he didn't have his licence with him.

I started writing a HORTI and when he gave me his name, I recognised it from the list of disqualified drivers. I continued writing then made as if my biro was running out. "Hang on a sec, my biro is running out, I'll have to get another one". I went back to my car and tried to look as if I was rummaging for a biro though I was actually using the car radio to call the station for assistance. I went back to the driver with a different biro and continued filling out the horti. Five minutes later my sergeant turned up and the man was nicked.
You sometimes need to be inventive if you're out and about on your own and I've used that trick several times with great success !
In another trial at Linlithgow Sheriff Court the defence counsel had gone through all the usual cop traps like "How far", "How long", "What colour" etc., etc, to no avail, but still had an Ace to play.

"Constable, the alleged incident happened in East Main Street, Broxburn, yet when my agent carried out his precognition you clearly stated you were in Greendykes Road, Broxburn, when you witnessed it. Are you telling the court that you can see round corners?" "Yes sir, that's correct, I can". "Would you please care to demonstrate the manner in which you are able to accomplish such a superhuman feat?"

At that the police witness asked permission to temporarily leave the courtroom, which was granted. He went to the door, opened it, and stood out in the corridor leaving the door open. The police witness concealed his body in the corridor, but placed his head and shoulders so that he was peering through the door aperture. He then called out to the defence counsel, "Imagine the corridor is Greendykes Road, and the courtroom is East Main Street. I can see you quite clearly sir, can you see me? I was hiding in Greendykes Road, so that the accused couldn't see me, but your precognition agent never asked me that."

The usual uproar ensued and yet another cocky defence lawyer got his come-uppance. I would have to say that most defence lawyers in the county areas were pretty reasonable types. They had a job to do and so had we. They had the benefit of a law degree over most of us, but had no real clue about what actually happened on the streets.

Stephen, In Scotland before almost every trial the defence lawyers send out "precognition agents" to interview all the prosecution witnesses, and clear up any doubts they may have regarding certain key points in the evidence. Whilst this may appear to be giving the defence an unfair advantage in any forthcoming trial, the Procurator Fiscal also has the same right to interview both prosecution and defence witnesses, although they usually reserve that right for the more serious cases. The outcome of such "precognitions" is often that the defence will advise their client to plead guilty based on overwhelming evidence, and thereby save having to go to trial. Similarly the Fiscal may decide that a case isn't worth pursuing, or maybe does a plea bargain with the defence. The good thing about all that is the police are absolved of all responsibility over whether to prosecute a case or not.

I believe the Crown Prosecution Service now does something similar in Englandshire, although there was no such agency when I worked south of the border. Road Traffic cases were prosecuted by Traffic Sergeants at Brighton, and other cases were either done by police solicitors or Inspectors with legal training. Individual officers never prosecuted minor cases themselves, as was the case in the "Met" and some other areas.
One last funny court story before I call it a day with these.

A local hooligan in Linlithgow had been arrested for assault and transferred to Livingston Police office one Friday night, either for "release when sober" or for court on Monday.

The arresting officer, "Davy P", had gone off duty at 0200 hours and was walking the short distance to his car, when the elder brother of the arrested man ran towards him wielding a stick, shouting he was going to kill Davy.

Davy promptly punched the guy in the mouth and laid him out before he could strike him with the stick. The nightshift men had heard the commotion and arrested him.

At the trial Davy was in the witness box.

"Constable I put it to you that you assaulted my client."

Davy:- "That's correct sir"

"Can you explain to the court why you never tried to speak to my client and attempted to reason with him before you summarily lashed out and hit him?"

Davy:- "With respect sir, I have arrested your client on several previous occasions, and each time he has punched or kicked me during the arrest. He was wielding a large stick at the time."

"Did you not consider merely drawing your police baton?"

Davy:- "I was off duty and we're not allowed to carry them when off duty".

"So that gave you licence to knock my client out and dislodge two of his upper teeth? Can you please tell the court what "police logic" you applied so that we are in no doubt whatsoever as to what your "rules of engagement were?"

Davy:- " Well, Sir, have you ever looked out of the window and thought it might rain, decided not to wear a raincoat, then a few minutes later you end up soaked to the skin? I've done that loads of times, so on this occasion I thought it would be best to apply the "Better safe than sorry logic!"

End of coss examination due to major outburst of laughter in the courtroom. Accused found guilty and got 3 months. I was the court officer that day.
I once had a real dummy up at the Magistrates Court, and he was absolutely banged to rights. His Mother demanded an opportunity to question me in the witness box, and the bench decided to humour her.

Her attempts to emulate Perry Mason were let down by the fact that she was as dumb as a brick, but she persevered for some considerable time.

Finally, whilst pointing her finger at me, she started to sum up. She said, and I quote: "He has alligated against my son." "He is the alligator."

The Clerk of the court slid under his desk in an uncontrolled fit of laughter, while the bench all lent forward with their heads in their hands and laughed out loud. They tried their best to stifle their laughter, but that only seemed to make it worse. Everyone else in the courtroom was in pleats, and the Magistrates were forced to retreat to their room for about ten minutes.

When the sitting reconvened, my prisoner was found guilty as charged.

Kind Regards,

The Alligator.
:lol: I've just read that out to my husband who creased up as much as I did !
In fact this whole topic has had me in stitches.
Stephen, you and John should be writing novels, they'd make you millions ! Eat your hearts out Ian Rankin and Peter Robinson !!!
Hi Sally,

I have written a novel, but have been unable to get it published. It is 66,000 words, and took me over a year to write. It is not autobiographical, though it does contain well disguised but true accounts of policing and crime. The characters are an amalgam of people I have worked with, though none are identifiable from the novel.

I suppose that I have strayed from the exact to the possible on occasions, mainly in order to show the reader a better outcome than the law currently allows. I begin by describing a dystopian community, but develop the story in a way which promotes hope and reason.

Kind Regards,

Hi Stephen

I hear that self-publishing is an avenue to consider but I don't know how successful it is. Apparently you can spend more time trying to sell a book than it took to write it !
Otherwise there's always a blog though I don't know whether that can bring in any earnings.

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