It's not a crime if the Police don't get involved

Posted on Wed 22 July 2009 by alex in general

We went to our (hopefully) last mortgage meeting yesterday to finalise the application so we can buy a house. The meeting went fairly well although because of my "special" employment status the application now has to go off to the banks underwriting department to ensure they don't lend out irresponsibly to people who can't afford it. Hopefully we will find out tomorrow.

On coming out of the meeting I noticed the passenger side of my car was looking a little odd. There was a streak of white across the tyres and a couple of large gouges in the front bumper. Some twat badger had obviously failed parking 101 and buggered off without leaving their insurance details. Annoyed I phoned up the Police on the non-emergency number to report the incident only to be told I had to report it in person at a Police station within 24 hours, bringing by log book/MOT with me. Helpfully the only Police station now open was in the centre of town as our local station shuts a 16:00. "They have visitor parking"* I was told as parking anywhere in Cambridge is an exercise in frustration the best of times. So at the peak of rush hour I drove into town and after circling the station twice eyeing the "No Visitor Parking" signs I finally found a free parking space up the road.

The first question the desk operative asked me was where the incident had taken place. On telling him I was parked in the HSBC customer car park he then told me it wasn't their problem. "It's a private car park see, so we won't deal with it". I was slightly credulous as even though IANAL I would think the nations finest would want to talk to me if I had damaged someones car no matter what the location was. After some to and fro discusion on the finer points of the law that neither of us are qualified to hold opinions on he finally relented and issued an Incident Number** grumbling "the system might not like it". He again reminded me the Police wouldn't do anything about it due to the private nature of the car park and helpfully reminding me as a private citizen I could do nothing about obtaining CCTV footage that may have caught the white vehicle leaving the scene between 15:25 and 16:20 on the day in question. Only the Police have the ability to collect evidence but seeing as they won't do any investigation of the matter there is no way to track down the affor mentioned miscreant who damaged my car. "After all it might have just been an accident and thats not illeagal", I had to refrain from pointing out that you couldn't assert that without invesigating the facts of the matter which as we already know wasn't going to happen. Having wasted an hour of my life I headed back home and retired to the pub to mutter about the decline of society with my friends.

So the lesson I took from yesterday is that if I ever feel like vandalising someones car I should do it on a private car park because apparently that is not a crime***.

* Quoted conversations are paraphrased and may not be verbatium.
** From what I can tell an Incident Number is just as useful from insurance purposes but I suspect carries the benefit of not showing up in any crime stats. Not that the Police would want to massage those.
*** Joke! I would not condone or incite anyone to treat the law with contempt even if it seems the Police would.