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« What Eeyore learnt about London Police and Magistrates 6.2.07 | Main | PlameGate: 'Slate' is the best. »

Eeyore visits London CrimeStoppers 5.2.07

Do you remember my surprise at the London (Metropolitan) Police's diligent handling of the theft of my property, in December?

- For once not giving in to my cynicism, born from a series of sad experiences with bureaucracies in general, and with bureaucracies of law and order in particular, I opted for a sunny view. Couldn't it be a real start of a humanistic revolution, fruit of Blairite moralism and inspiring accomplishments of London Mayor Livingstone? I gave it a full chance to be true. (Remember, it was Christmas).

Source: Daily Mail 2007.02.06
Since the first one, I had several international telephonic conversations with Hotel CrimeStopper, Detective C., with his light cockney accent. And an enthusiastic officer of the Victim and Witness Care Unit, Officer F., came also on the telephone, urging me to accept the hospitality of the Westminster Borough Law authorities and come over to witness at the trial of the culprit. Hotel, and travel Brussels-London on the house.

Meanwhile, a Southwest England reader of 'Huibs UrbLog' put a hair in the ever more heating soup of my enthusiasm, writing:

"I must say I am astonished at the amount of resources that the police are putting into your case (into your case!), compared with the daily debate about whether they have enough resources to catch terrorists and murderers. Our own social systems are as mysterious as the stars."
[The "stars" refer to the e-urban city-stars in its website banner, HR]

Suddenly, all my traditional and darkest suspicions came into life: They were about to lure me into a TRAP! On arriving at Waterloo International, they would take me into an interrogation room and subject me to a "Zaanstad" treatment*). That is why they are so eager to have me on British soil!

But then, I heard again the already familiar Cockney voice of Detective C. on the phone, and I departed from my paranoia. "They are just common officers, I reassured myself, trying to get a condemnation of a felon. Surely, it seems that it doesn't happen all too often. That is why they are so excited... Do not let them down, brooding continental coward!"


I imagined a lone, weathered detective in the Conelly style, braving his superiors, persecuting the evil ones out of conviction, not out of eagerness to rise in the CrimeStopper's hired consultant's statistics. I would not let them down, my new friends C. and F., a couple of lone revengers in the midst of an uninterested mass of routinists and ostriches!

So, I did two things:

  1. Taking a closer look at the UK debate about police efficiency and the issues coming up about that, and
  2. Go to London on trial day, to see for myself, how things were going to work out.

I stuck to my decision, even when, at the last moment the prosecutors' office decided that my presence in person as a witness, was not necessary at this moment, so that the promised free trip turned into an empty box.

There he was, the so cared-for Victim and Witness, with a deflated balloon in an empty box.

Eeyore's birthday!

*) The "Zaanstad" method of interrogation was, in Holland, until it was forbidden, a 'robust' set of techniques to destabilise the interrogated person, until he or she was ready to confess anything suggested by the interrogators. It produced, when it was applied in the right setting (in an optimally bare police room, duration minimum 5 hours without interruption nor refreshments, absence of lawyer or other support for the client), delirious self-accusations, which led to a series of misjudgments and long imprisonments of innocent people, that are slowly being undone at this moment by a special independent commission of academic jurists.

 This post is the first of three ones, drawn from an article that originally appeared in Huib's UrbLog at e-urban ThinkTank website on February 5, 2007. It was updated for publication in huibslog on March 20, 2007.

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