A Policeman’s Lot 5…..Another Day, Another Norbert!

In the last post we dealt with a German national named Norbert (AKA Jina, The White Horse). In this post we will deal with yet another German called Norbert…But the differences between the two men could not be more stark. Norbert Mk. 1 treated the law with disdain and actively sought to avoid any punishments for his actions. Norbert Mk. 2 however positively welcomed the punishments that were handed out to him for his many criminal acts….Indeed, he only ever committed his crimes in order that he would be punished, preferably with periods of imprisonment…..The longer the better

For most of us the very thought of incarceration fills us with dread and is a huge deterrent to us ever committing criminal acts…There are people in our society however to whom the freedoms that normal people cherish and hold most dear, hang like a millstone around their necks. For such people, being free means having to feed and clothe and generally look after themselves….There are a great many people who are simply unable to cope with such responsibilities….For these people everything they hold most dear can be found within the close confines of our prison system….When the magistrate or judge says “I must send you to prison” such people breathe a huge sigh of relief…..For them, going to prison is like returning home to a place of safety and security.

Most criminal recidivists view being arrested by the police as an unfortunate occupational hazard that is part of their chosen career path…..Norbert Mk. 2 considered being arrested by the police as a right that he was positively entitled to….He was a very single minded creature of habit but almost completely devoid of any imagination…..There are a great many avenues that the determined and naturally curious criminal can explore to get himself arrested….But Norbert was not interested in such investigations….His sole intention was to commit sufficient criminal damage to get himself arrested….Just enough and no more!

When the world got too much for Norbert to bear he would solemnly make his way the National Westminster Bank branch that stood at the corner of Oxford Street and Wardour Street, there he would find a stone of sufficient size and weight and he would then hurl the stone through a small side window…..Always exactly the same bank, always exactly the same window…..This action would activate the alarm and Norbert would await the arrival of a police officer and surrender himself to the law…..Norbert would then be arrested for Criminal Damage to which he always pleaded guilty…..Magistrates and judges had tried everything to dissuade him from such actions….But all to no avail….I had already arrested Norbert for exactly the same offence twice before and he already had a long list of identical convictions…..On the second arrest I asked him “Why do you ALWAYS break the same window, Norbert?” His answer was disarmingly simple, “Because that is THE window!” …..And there is no arguing with that sort of logic!

The third arrest though was different….And the whole incident left Norbert feeling deeply unhappy with the service provided by police….It was a Late Turn (3pm to 11pm) shift and I had been posted to Station Security. This meant that I would be sat just inside front doors of West End Central for most of the shift….The officer posted to security must not leave his/her position for any reason other than to check the immediate outside of the building….Our relief was short staffed and those out on patrols were all being kept very busy….So when a call was received that evening to an automatic alarm operating at the Nat. West Bank in Oxford St….The call was fairly low down on the list of priorities……Meanwhile….At that very same bank, Norbert, had broken his usual window and was now waiting patiently to be arrested….And he waited, and he waited, and he waited until finally he could wait no longer…. Norbert realised he had no other option than to make his own way to West End Central….On the way he found himself a BIG stone and upon arrival he angrily lobbed it at one of the the big plate glass doors, thus smashing said plate glass panel and causing a VERY loud noise…..Unsurprisingly, this alerted me on station security to the fact that all was not well and I dashed out (Along with everyone else at the station)… And I fell on the offender….I was somewhat surprised to find the normally peaceful Norbert in such a highly animated state….”What the Hell are you playing at, Norbert?”

“This police inefficiency is simply not good enough!” He cried “For over two hours I have been waiting for the police to come and arrest me at the bank….And now you are forcing me to come and do this….This is entirely YOUR fault!”

I arrested Norbert and walked him up the steps just as the Station Sergeant emerged “I’ve just nicked him, Sarge!”

“You’re not getting off Front Security as easy as that!” He said….”You stay on the door….You can write your arrest notes while you’re here. You can go down as the arresting officer….But I’ll get one of the probationers to do the paperwork and fingerprints.”

And so it was that a combination of fate, circumstances and a busy workload forced Norbert to change the habits of his criminal lifetime…..But for Norbert, a man who was, in reality, one of this world’s great losers, the whole thing ended in a highly satisfactory way…..When he simply broke the little side window at the bank…..The class was never of any real value…..However, when totalled alongside the plate glass that he smashed at the Police Station, which was VERY expensive. It meant that his prison sentence on this occasion was significantly higher than he would normally expect….What Norbert might term in criminal jargon “A right result!”

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