Friday, 18 May 2012

Police Harassment?

Driving home up the Dual Carriageway last night at 23:00, and a car with very bright headlights pulled into the slow lane behind me. I was doing the speed limit of 70mph or a bit less and most cars therefore go around me, but this particular car just got very close behind me instead. As the car headlights were dazzling me, I thought I would slow to 60mph, to encourage them to go around me and ahead. However, the car behind slowed aswell, so I slowed to 50mph, but the car behind slowed aswell and continued to follow me.

At this point I started to worry, is this some person who thinks I have slighted them in some way, maybe he thinks I cut up him up, and now he's out to harass me, although I couldn't remember any such event. Then I saw one of these
so I thought to myself I will pull into the parking spot along the side of the carriageway and surely he will go past me then! So I indicated left and then realised I wasn't as close to the parking space as I thought I was, so I cancelled my signal again for a second or two, until I could see the space.

Well then, yes I'm sure you may have guessed it, the blue lights lit up on top of the car behind and I realised it was a police car and now they also wanted me to pull over. I wasn't sure if I should pull over immediately, but as there was no hard shoulder at that point, I thought it might be safer if I pulled into the parking spot I was already looking for. Needless to say it was slightly further on than I was anticipating, so I also got a further flash of those already dazzling headlights, but thankfully it then appeared on my left and I pulled safely in.

A policewoman got out and approached my window which I rolled down, asked me to remove my keys from the ignition and get out of my car and into the back of hers. Now I must admit my DH's advice never to get into a strange vehicle, even one potentially "posing" as a policecar did go through my head, but when you're actually confronted with someone in their full regalia, giving you orders, you don't really want to appear confrontational and say "No, I'm not getting out, you might be a fake". It didn't seem wise, as she already seemed a bit narked. So I duly got out and climbed in the back of the police car.

The conversation then proceeded like this:

Policeman: "Has my colleague explained why we've stopped you?"
Me: "No".
Policeman: (frostily) "Well we were following you for some time and you were driving erratically, weaving in your lane and driving near to the rumble strip, can you expalin this behaviour?"
Me: "I'm sorry officer, but I'm not aware that I was weaving in my lane, until you flashed your lights at me and I did pull close to the rumble strip, as I was uncertain whether to stop exactly where I was, or wait for somewhere safer to pull over."
Policeman: "Your speed was also varying dramatically, what was the reason for this?"
Me: "I was aware of a car quite close behind me with very bright headlights and I found it intimidating, so I slowed to let it go past me, when it didn't I was a bit frightened so I slowed some more."
Policeman: "What is your name and date of birth?"
Me: (very obliging) Gave my name and date of birth. Policewoman gets on the radio to 'check me out' and policeman writes me in his little black book.
Policeman: "Who is the car registered to?"
Me: "It's in my husband's name."
Policman: "That's right I've already checked the car is 'clean'. "
Ladies voice on radio: "That lady is 'clean', she holds a full UK driving licence with no points".

Me, my heart racing, thinking: "Phew I'm glad I washed the car today and my hair, we're both 'clean'."

Policeman: "Do you often drive at night?"
Me: "Yes, every Monday and Thursday and other times".
Policeman: "Do you need to wear glasses?"
Me, thinking: "Hang on a minute, why are you insulting my eyesight" Me: "No, I don't".
Policeman: "Do you need an eyetest?"
Me: "What?". Me: "No I don't, I have good eyesight."
Policeman: "I have the right to breathalise you as you were driving erratically, but I can't smell any alcohol on you."
Me: "I haven't had any alcohol."
Policeman: "Have you taken any drugs?"
Me: "Oh My Word." Me: "No" (emphatically).
Policeman: "Are you on any prescription medication?"
Me: "Oh, here we go." Me: "Yes, anti-depressants."
Policewoman: (suspiciously): "What are they called?"
Me: Gave the name.
Policeman: "Are you allowed to drive when you've taken them?"
Me: "Yes."
Policeman: "When did you last take them?"
Me "22:00".
Policewoman: "Don't the instructions say they can cause drowsiness?"
Me: "They say they MAY cause drowsiness and IF you are affected you shouldn't drive, but they have never made me feel sleepy". 
Me, thinking: "Hang on a second, my driving was not erratic until you started tailgating me, oh and have you had your headlights checked lately".
Policewoman: "How long have you been taking them?".
Me, thinking: "Hey, is it a crime in this country to take anti-depressants?". Me: "9 months."
Policeman: "Have you changed your dose lately?"
Me: "No."
Policeman: "Where have you been and where are you going to?"
Me: "I've been to my Church Homegroup at a friend's house in P and now I'm on my way home".
Policeman: "Where is home?"
Me: Gave the name.
Policeman: "Well in future I suggest you wait until you get home to take your medication, you've still got a little way to go, so please be careful."
Policewoman: "Are your anti-depressants working?"
Me, thinking: "What? do you want to be my counsellor now?" Me, (hesitant): "Mostly"
Policewoman: "You sound a bit upset, I don't want you driving off with tears in your eyes, you need to compose yourself."
Me, "Sorry?". Me: "I'm fine, I've just never been stopped by the Police before, in my life".
Policeman: "What make and model is your car?"
Me, thinking: "Do you need glasses or maybe en eyesight test, it's right there in front of you!"
Me: "A Mazda MX5."
Polieman writes it down in his little black book while I think, "Is that an oddly random last question or was my car the reason for stopping me?".
Policeman: "Just take a moment when you get to your car".
Policewoman lets me out as child locks are obviously on.
Policewoman: "Be careful when you pull out, this is a busy road."
Me, thinking: "I do know how to drive you know, I am a fully grown woman not a teenager, and there was nothing wrong with my driving until you came along." Me: (meekly), "Yes Officer, thank you".

Now I know slowing down may be suspicious and I'd much rather they stopped drink drivers and annoyed the odd innocent person, but it's quite a scary experience. I've seen all the movies of innocent people being falsly accused of heinous crimes. In fact it's one of my nightmares that, like Harrison Ford in the Fugitive, I'll be arrested for a serious crime that I didn't commit and being unable to prove that to anyone. It's a good job I hadn't been speeding or else I'm sure he would have delighted in upping his quota of tickets issued. It was obviously a quiet night. Thankfully, slowing down on a dual carriageway isn't a crime I could correctly or falsly be accused of, nor a fineable traffic offence. However, all that excitement, did brighten up another otherwise uneventful day!!  

Hope you've never had a brush with the law.

Lots of Love Arwedd xx


  1. You poor thing! The Police obviously didn't have enough to do that night.
    I recently had to call the Police for something and they took one and a half hours to arrive! I think perhaps their time management needs looking at!
    Have a lovely day.

    1. That's what my DH said, they were just bored!!

      Arwedd xx

  2. Ohhhhh!!!
    I have said for a LONG time now, when driving late in the evening: I'd just LOVE to be breathalysed, as I don't like alcohol (or rather it doesn't like me at all), so don't usually bother at all.
    But having read this, I'm now not so sure.
    What a horrible, horrible experience. :-(

    While it is SO important for the "folk in blue" to keep up as safe on the roads, what you went through last night borders on harassment, surely?
    What business is it what time you take your meds? And of course you were tearful - I'd have had soggy wellies by then.

    I'm sending you the (((((((biggest)))))) hug I can muster. X mwah X

    1. Thank you I need plenty of hugs. I would have loved him to search my boot as I had my Bible and Crochet in there!! A sad old lady with her Bible and Crochet doing 50mph, they would really have had a real catch!!

      Just glad you are still prepared to be seen out with such a hardened criminal as me.

      Arwedd xx

  3. Sending you the biggest hug as well.I feel guilty as soon as a police car pulls behind me.
    I was stopped last summer driving home from a BBQ apparently i had jumped a light.if i had he definitely had.i was lectured and told i was going to get a fine for being so stupid and jumping a light.This night in question was one of the worst nights this country had seen with the rioting in London,what i wanted to say and what came out were 2 completely different things.I was let off but it has made me nervous approaching lights now.

  4. Never happened to me,but to my Mum . She was in her 70s at the time, and quite frail. She was just about to cross the lights when they changed, she had already committed to going over just as the lights changed. A police car was right behind her...and pulled her over, Questioning like yours followed. Mum explained that if she had slammed the brakes on the (police) car would have hit her. They were not impressed, and gave her a little lecture before being allowed on her way.
    HUGS...big Canadian ones!!
    Jane x

    1. Thank you, hugs keep me going. It's come to something when we're so busy catching 70 year olds, we can't contain a football match or a riot.

      ((Hugs, back at ya!))

      Arwedd xx

  5. I remember one dreadful rainy winter night when we were coming home from relatives on the m25. The car had a fault in the petrol line, and we realised we were almost out of fuel. We came off the motorway- and ran out on the slip road. Bob left me and 2 toddlers in the car, and walked down the slip road to the petrol station at the bottom. Meanwhile a policecar stopped and said we were still technically on the m25. And he should have walked back onto the carriageway to the nearest phone. I pointed out that was a far more dangerous place for him to go than down to the garage where he could get things sorted out quickly. Policeman raised voice to argue, children woke up and screamed at sight of him. "Go away and explain things to my husband, you are distressing my children" I said in teacher-voice [feeling very scared inside!] In the grace of God he went back to his car and drove away.
    NOT nice. I do empathise with you!! blessings x