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Statutory Demands - Thursday 30/06/11

Another trip into town. Emma had an appointment with the mid-wife, and I had a Statutory Demand to serve and a certain Police Receptionist to bring a peg down or two.

To get straight to the juicy part, I strode up to reception and, as no-one else was present, to some deep breaths to calm and focus myself. I was in the dragons lair. Receptionists are no problem, ego-charged policemen can be tricky.
I rang the bell.
She emerged. And immediately became defensive blurting out that the Chief Inspector himself had written back and deemed it a civil, not criminal matter. What?! How the hell did she know the contents of his reply?
I calmly told her I was not concerned about the letter. She again blurted she was just a receptionist, to which I emphatically agreed and I pointed out that, in my view, she was acting outside and above her job role and qualifications.
She jumped for a complaint form and threw it in the box underneath the screen. I thanked her and asked for her name and lapel number. She flat out refused to give them to me. So I asked "Who do I refer to in the complaint then?"
"The receptionist" she replied "I will own up that it was me". I declined her offer on the grounds I would be required to trust her and I was certain that she was not the only receptionist. She faltered. I pointed out that she appeared to be dressed in a uniform not unlike that of a police officer. She exploded. I didn't even have to cite The Police Act 1996, section 90, Paragraphs 1-4

"(1)Any person who with intent to deceive impersonates a member of a police force or special constable, or makes any statement or does any act calculated falsely to suggest that he is such a member or constable, shall be guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale, or to both.
(2)Any person who, not being a constable, wears any article of police uniform in circumstances where it gives him an appearance so nearly resembling that of a member of a police force as to be calculated to deceive shall be guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale.
(3)Any person who, not being a member of a police force or special constable, has in his possession any article of police uniform shall, unless he proves that he obtained possession of that article lawfully and has possession of it for a lawful purpose, be guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 1 on the standard scale.
(4)In this section—
(a)article of police uniform” means any article of uniform or any distinctive badge or mark or document of identification usually issued to members of police forces or special constables, or anything having the appearance of such an article, badge, mark or document..."

She threatened that if I did not leave immediately of my own accord, I would be escorted out.
Thankfully a real police woman (I think), PC Emma Beard #1695, appeared and asked what the issue was.
The receptionist unleashed a barrage of accusations, including that of harassment which I thought ironic. I stood calmly and watched. When her tirade had ended, I looked the policewoman in the eye and said "I dispute that". I matter of factly told the policewoman how I had requested the receptionists name in order to file a complaint and she had refused. I asked for the police womans details and visibly noted them in my ready prepared notebook. Very shortly she gestured for me to walk with her. As we descended the stairs she quietly told me the receptionist was known to "have issues" and to behave like this. Around the time the policewoman said "high horse" the receptionist shouted down, in a rather shaky voice, from the top of the stairs where she had been eavesdropping that the letter had been dealt with and deemed not to be a police matter. I shouted back my thanks and winced at the police woman. Grinning broadly, I expressed my hope she didn't get in trouble for what she'd said. She assured me it'd be ok. She then agreed and made it clear that I had every right not to speak to a receptionist and instead request to speak to a police person who, unlike the receptionist, had training in legal matters.
I shook the police lady's hand and expressed my sincerest gratitude. God bless her and that receptionist. They teamed up to give me a wonderful and rich experience.

M Jones

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