Brian's Brief Encounters

This is an Unofficial Kaffe Fassett fanzine. Brought to you from a Leafy Suburb of the Throbbing Metropolis.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

A Word To The Wise

It is generally considered to be the worst office job going.

So I’m told, I’ve never done it myself.

Sat behind a computer in a windowless, smelly, noisy place somewhere in the bowels of most large Police stations there lurks a guardian of naughty peoples’ rights.

If you ever get arrested then you’ll be meeting one very soon too. No, not a social worker or legal representative; they come along a little bit later. I’m talking about the caring, sharing Custody Sergeant. Unfortunately the publishers of Debrett’s have failed to include a section for this meeting. I’m sure this is just an oversight and I have sent them the following for inclusion in their next edition.

Brian’s Handy Etiquette Guide For Arrestees©

The Custody Sergeant has three main roles:

1. To make sure you leave the station in the same physical state as you entered it. Albeit more sober in most cases.

2. To ensure we don’t do anything illegal.

3. To gather statistics for the Home Office.

You may be feeling a little bit hard done by and slightly aggrieved. Please don’t vent these emotions on them. It’s not that they don’t care (I’m sure there may be one, somewhere, who does). It’s just not their job. Screaming and swearing at them isn’t going to get you very far. Neither is crying, ladies.

Once the nasty officer who arrested you has satisfied the Custody Sergeant that you deserve to be there you’ll be asked a series of questions. How you choose to answer them will determine how long your stay with us will be. We’ve tried to make them as simple as possible so you shouldn’t need to phone a friend.


Now I appreciate that we’ve started with the trickiest of them all. Giving us your real name isn’t really playing the game. You’ll have to see if you can remember the one you told the nasty officer. If you can’t then try ‘Mickey Mouse’, we haven’t heard it before. If you’ve fibbed, please don’t later sign the custody record using the name on your birth certificate. Using a false one that you can actually spell helps too.


Believe it or not we’ll check. Until we have your real one you’ll be staying with us. If you’re found to have given us the wrong one and aren’t going anywhere then don’t be surprised if you still aren’t leaving after we’ve found out where you really live. We’re a bit funny like that.

Date of birth:-

If you’ve got a three day stubble growth, it’s unlikely that we’ll be fooled when you tell us you’re only fourteen. Please bear in mind that the follow up question will be ‘How old are you?’. That’s not because we can’t count, it’s so that we can catch out those fibbers who have difficulty with mathematics. Which is most of them.

How would you describe your ethnic background:-

I know I said they were simple questions. This one isn’t one of ours. Our simple way of describing your appearance that’s been in use for years is far too basic for the Home Office. They’ve come up with a far better way. You get to choose one of seventeen descriptions. Pick whatever you like, you don’t have to be accurate as they’re for government statistics and we have no wish to buck the trend.

Yes, I realise that you may consider yourself to be British but not ‘white’. Like I said, this isn’t one of our questions and you’re only allowed to describe yourself as British if you also describe yourself as ‘white’ because the Home Office says so. Even if your ancestors have been in Britain for multiple generations or you’ve passed the citizenship test.

Cockney and Geordie aren’t on there either.

(…to be continued…)


At 1/11/05 5:42 AM, Blogger gonorr said...

Im sure these little gems of information will be of use to someone somewhere, or rather, a lot of people, somewhere.

keeps me laughing though...

At 1/11/05 7:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope your readers see why 'having a sense of humour' is a major accessory to a police officers personality portfolio.
Wonderful stuff and all the more relevant if the readers is or was a police officer.
Please keep up the good work, your future as a writer is assured I reckon.

Tim (Ex-Job)

At 1/11/05 8:59 AM, Anonymous A non mouse said...

I love the fact that on the back of our crime reports is the 'Self Classification" markers for ethnicity, however, for W1 they have left out the word 'White'. Thus, when I show the list to IPs and ask "Which best describes your ethnic background?", as told to in our 300 hour long training day, most IPs, regardless of colour state "W1". Which I then record, even if it is obviously incorrect, as told to in aforementioned training program.

At 1/11/05 2:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

excellent thread Brian. As a custody officer I always enjoy the battle of filling in the 57. Sometimes I take the risk of writing unemployed in the occupation box before asking. It's a little game I play, I rarely have to make use of the delete key. "Do you have any illnesses, medical or mental health conditions apart from stupidity ?" Is another all time classic. along with "Put me in a cell then you fat c£*t...... Guv any chance of a fag?"

At 1/11/05 3:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymouse said...

Nice one Brian...
but my name IS Mickey Mouse.

At 1/11/05 4:48 PM, Blogger Scully said...

Ooh how true this is...The false names were made all the better when the photo image technology got added to the systems. They'd give you a name that didn't match their face and still insist we'd got it wrong

At 2/11/05 10:35 AM, Blogger Riddari said...

Uhm. I can see why you want their name and details but what has their ethnic background to do with it at all?

I'm as Caucasian as you can be, snowy white and can trace my lineage back to the 700's (not 1700's) but I'd consider it rude to be asked about my ethnic background, do you also ask their sexual preferences, religion and dietary preferences?

I'm just stumped at why it should be a factor... perhaps there's a blindingly obvious reason for it...

At 2/11/05 12:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Riddari -

In theory, the home office wants to check what proportion of each ethnic group is being arrested to check for racism in the police. Suppose in a certain area only 1% of the population was black, but 50% of those arrested were black. It would sugest racism in that areas police.

At 2/11/05 10:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Suppose in a certain area only 1% of the population was black, but 50% of those arrested were black. It would sugest racism in that areas police.

Or it could suggest.....

No, lets not go there hey ;o)


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