Saturday, January 29, 2005

The Long Arm Of The Law

The latest crime statistics from the UK contain mixed news. According to police statistics, violent crime is up 6%. According to the government however, those figures are unfair since they include ‘low-level thuggery’. In a move to improve the quality of crime, only ‘high-level thuggery’ will be included in future reports. In addition, 40,000 people (amongst a population of about 56 million) were surveyed about crime. The survey resulted in a reported 11% drop in ‘more serious violence’. As a show of respect, victims of violent crime were not surveyed whilst recovering in hospital or at home. There is, however, clear evidence that the government is determined to crack down further.

As a part of this single-minded campaign by the police forces of the United Kingdom, Sarah McCaffery, aged 23, from the town of Hebburn in South Tyneside, has learned that crime does not pay. She will also have the opportunity to teach that lesson to the children in the nursery where she works. That assumes, of course, that her crime spree does not disqualify her from working with children.

It all started over a year ago, when the police assembled a Major Crimes SWAT team to respond to an audacious flaunting of the laws of the realm. McCaffery was driving to work when she was observed by the police holding something up to her face just before executing a left turn. She was stopped by the police as a part of their ongoing investigation. Actually, pulling McCaffery over was relatively easy as there was no traffic and there were no pedestrians in the area; and she was driving within the speed limit on a dry road. She was obeying all of the rules of the road – except for the mobile telephone in her hand. Or at least the arresting officer assumed that she had a mobile telephone in her hand.

Upon further investigation, (it is not clear whether any forensic evaluation was performed), it was determined that the illegal object was not a mobile telephone at all. It was, it seems a rather small Golden Delicious apple - with several incriminating bites taken from it. In her defence, the suspect stated that she had: 1. missed breakfast at home, 2. taken the apple from said home, 3. placed said apple on the front car seat, 4. watched said apple roll off said car seat when she stopped before turning, 5. retrieved said apple from the car’s floor, 6. proceeded to turn with both hands on the steering wheel. She did however admit to biting into the apple and holding it with one of the hands that was on said wheel. She then protested the fairness of the traffic violation.

At this point, the story gets a bit vague. There is a possibility that the arresting officer sincerely believed that an Ipod communicating device actually is an apple. However, there is no question that when McCaffery decided to challenge the action of the police in court, the crack team of CSI:Northumberland swung into action. As it was not necessary to match DNA, do an autopsy, test the car for anthrax or subject the apple to fibre analysis, the Crime Scene Techs decided to do the next best thing. The scene of the crime (including the road leading to the left turn and the road leading away from it as well as the little part that actually turns left) were documented for the court. A helicopter and fixed wing aircraft made strafing runs on the area, recording the topography on video. A police car staffed with a sergeant and a constable made similar tapes from the ground. The estimated £10,000 cost of this in-depth investigation was worth every penny in the continuing effort to reduce crime. After a year and 10 court hearings, McCaffery was ordered to pay £160.00 in fines and costs.

This sorry tale of the wages of crime serves as a reminder to us all: An apple a day will not keep the constable away.


Blogger Denise said...

That is just SAD! I know that, last my mum and I were in England, there was a huge furor over some young girl getting pulled over for having a drink from her water bottle on the way home from the gym. I have to say that, while we are guilty of having many assinine laws here in the US, I'm glad I can still drink water in my car while driving. :)

(I got here via BE, by the way.)

12:05 AM  
Blogger Jordan said...

Found my way here thru BE. I am on a quest to comment on every blog I visit.

4:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is the funniest interpretation of the latest 'police scandel' that I've read yet. So funny, in fact, that I got over my "blogger hatred", and decided to use this anonymous posting nonsense to *tell* you how funny I found it.

Very funny.

Jem ( - surfed in via BE.

11:53 AM  
Blogger Iravan said...

Weird. I always thought the Rettop Method was the best for generating traffic. I am going to book mark this blog, nice topics discussed

By the way... I have a traffic court site. It pretty much covers Traffic related stuff.

Come and check it out if you get time :-)

10:02 PM  
Blogger Iravan said...

I would argue that Exit Traffic is actually one of the best forms of traffic generation. I am going to book mark this blog, nice topics discussed

By the way... I have a internet traffic site. It pretty much covers Traffic related stuff.

Come and check it out if you get time :-)

6:25 AM  
Blogger TxHHizIf said...

I have links on my site to Car Seat resources. Your readers might be interested in checking it out further.

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4:45 PM  

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