Once, when I was about 15, I was out getting up to what 15 year olds do. Namely out drinking. Being honest, we weren’t causing trouble, we weren’t particulary loud, and it wasn’t very late, no later than 21:00. Other than the alcohol, our worst infraction was someone let off a firecracker
However we did have a fair haul of alcohol with us, and we were a group of around 10 lads, around the highstreet area of town. It didn’t take long for a policeman to stop us. This was back when there were police out on the streets, rather than locked up in their offices forced to try and remember and report what happened last time they were allowed outside.
“Evening lads, out having a good time are we?”
This is greeted with general murmurings in the affirmitive. Yes we were, but you have somewhat soured the mood if we’re honest. I’m sure you’re a nice guy, we dont’ mean any offence, but you’re not invited to the party.
“Expensive trainers?” he asked motioning to one of our group. “Latest fashion?”
Again, more murmurrings, we’re not really sure where this is going to be honest.
“I bet you’re not as fast in them as I am in my uniform shoes.”
Is he serious? Is this police office actually trying to make a wager with us, or is this his subtle way of saying “don’t run, there’s no point”. And what did he mean by are they expensive? Were some trainers stolen? It’s certainly nothing to do with us.
“Can you tell me what happened in 19:23?”
Dammit, that’s a very specific time to be asking about. Something’s happened nearby and we’re being fingered for it. Do we run? He’s already said he can outrun us, but we can split up, ok, the kid carrying the booze is weighed down and will be in proper trouble, what do we do? As a group we shuffle and reply that we don’t know what happened at precisely 19:23.
“No, not the time 19:23, the year 1923, I am speaking of course of the explosives act of 1923.”
Is it just me or did this officer go out of his way to make his life harder? I’m guessing he had just learnt about the explosives act of 1923, but probably not in depth. I am not familiar with the law myself, but I’m fairly sure it wasn’t intended to cover the detonation of novelty firecrackers that you can purchase at the novelty shop. It seems to cover employer liability and precautions and employment regulations for working with explosives.
In case you were wondering, one of the lads owned up and turned over his remaining firecracker. The officer entirely failed to look in any of the large clinking bags, or he would have found enough alcohol to get all of us drunk out of our minds. So about 10 bottles then.
Of course, if he had said 1875, he would have been 1) right in his citations of the law (the explosives act of 1875), and 2) avoided the whole time confusion. He still would have failed to find the alcohol.