Whoo! Whoo! Is the sound of the police

First and most obvious, I sincerely hope that no‐one who reads this lost any friends or family in the bombings yesterday. I’m not going to dwell on what happened yesterday because it’s not in my scope for this blog (you can read my take on it if you really want to in my other blog), but suffice it to say that it was a great tragedy and my deepest sympathies lie with the families of the victims.

Ok, on to more local matters. I was glad when the decision was made to run a service out of Camberwell Police station, but after this morning I’m not so happy. Background first: yesterday I found out that my debit card had been cloned, and £950 stolen from my account. Thinking back, I believe that the cloning took place at Oxford Street on Saturday; it wasn’t obvious at the time, but now I think the cashpoint had a card reader/camera installed on the front. I feel pretty stupid now, because if I’d given it a moment’s thought, I would have realised.

So I phoned my bank and cancelled my card when I found out, and went into the branch today to fill out a report. They can only refund the stolen money if they have a crime number, so I went down to the police station to report the theft. The doors were closed, and a sign informed me that I had to call on the intercom. I did so and a voice responded, but when I spoke it was obvious they couldn’t hear me so they hung up. I tried again; the same. Again. And again. This time it just kept ringing and no‐one answered.

I walked around for a few minutes trying to find a policeman, but none were around so I went back and tried again. Same story. I stood there feeling frustrated for a minute, then a man appeared from the front door. I asked if anyone was inside and he replied ‘no’, so I explained what the problem was. He told me he was going back inside in a minute and would tell someone, then he went into Sophocles before returning inside. So I waited for a few minutes, and nothing happened. I rang the intercom again three times before giving up.

I spotted a couple of Community Wardens on the Green, so ran over to them and explained the problem. They couldn’t report it for me, but said either to go to Peckham station or wait for the Camberwell office to open at 1pm (it’s open Wednesdays and Fridays, 1pm to 5pm). So I came home, where I sit now waiting for 1pm.

For me it’s an inconvenience rather than anything more serious, but what if you really needed to get hold of a policeman in a hurry, but didn’t want to call 999? More to the point, where’s the logic in offering a service that doesn’t work? Or am I just being grumpy?

Update: Ok, it was me being grumpy. The opening hours were stated on a sign near the door, and the people were very helpful. I’m glad it’s there. They really need to fix the intercom, though.

Author: Peter

Long-time resident of Camberwell, author of this blog since July 2004.

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