I was talking to my friends at taekwondo the other evening and shamelessly ranting on about my new novel. It’s called ‘The Policeman Who Was Afraid of the Dark.’ That’s called self-promotion that is.
I was pestering my policeman friend because I wanted him to show me around the police station he works in. Apart from the invaluable background research that seeing a busy a police station would give me, including the cells, there would be men in uniform and let’s face it, no man in uniform would be safe from me! C’mon ladies, it’s the only time a heterosexual man looks truly well dressed. He tried his best to tactfully fob me off by saying that the police force were not that keen on writers and journalists, and we all joked that the best way to see the inside of a police cell would be to get arrested. But then I remembered that in my wild early twenties, I had been arrested.
It happened twenty years ago when I was at university in London. You may have images of me being at a protest march, chaining myself to the railings of Number 10 and crying ‘you’ll never take me alive!’ as the rozzers drag me into the back of a police van. ‘Fraid not. I was arrested for failing to stop and report an accident. It didn’t even happen in London.
In the Fenland town that my parents live in, there is a high security prison called Whitemoor. About three prison officers moved in opposite my house, and I apologise to the hard working and brave members of Her Majesty’s prison service, but they were a bunch of uptight tossers who hated the hippy, happy go lucky student who lived opposite them. One weekend I borrowed my mum’s white Fiat Uno and took it down to London to move into my new student house. The prison officers had the habit of parking their car at the foot of our drive; I must have backed out of the drive, clipped their car and then driven off to London. I had no idea what I’d done but apparently I chipped some paint on their car, leaving some white Fiat-like paint as telling evidence.
I returned a couple of days later to a screaming banshee at the foot of our drive accusing me of criminal damage, and my parents as white as sheets wondering what on earth I had been up to now. I offered to apologise and pay for the damage out of my meagre student grant. Student grants, remember them? But a few minutes later, the fuzz were at my door asking who was responsible and when I stepped forward, they arrested me for the grievous crime of ‘failing to stop and report an accident.’
I got a ride in the back of a police car but that was the extent of my custody as unfortunately for the police officers, they hadn’t counted on a few things. One; that I can be incredibly annoying and I wanted to know why I wasn’t being put in handcuffs and why couldn’t I sit in a police cell. Also my best friend was a police officer based in the same local station, and my father. Imagine the scene; I was in a room with an embarrassed looking police officer and another officer, my pal, sternly wanting to know what on earth they were doing arresting an innocent student and my father demanding to know, ‘what the bloody hell are you doing with my daughter!’ I think the police officer wanted me out of the station as quickly as possible so I got off with a caution, well I was hardly going to prison, and an apology for wasting my time. I don’t think the prison officers crowned themselves in glory that day.
I went back to London with a great story and a very, very minor criminal record. I can’t say it’s ever held me back. Funnily enough, the prison officers moved out shortly afterwards. Apparently at Christmas there were some very loud carol singers who kept tipping their bins over in their front garden. No idea how that happened.
Well that’s my brush with the law, what’s yours? My new novel (have I mentioned that yet?) is out soon and it’s called ‘The Policeman Who Was Afraid of the Dark’ – it’s got police and law stuff in it too. Check out the front cover, it’ll be available on Amazon 16th April.
I've also been kindly interviewed by my pal Julia Hughes on her blog, you can read it here:
But if you can’t wait that long to read one of my stories, you can always buy one of my other stories here:
Click here for Amazon UK
Click here for Amazon US