Sandra Dick: Lights check not best use of police time

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I’M finding there are certain joys that come with being the parent of a 14-year-old.

There’s the nimble-footedness required as you negotiate the route – like a challenge from The Cube – from bedroom door to their wardrobe.

The stomach-churning discovery of old pizza stuck inside the drawers under the bed – let’s not even imagine what other “stuff” might be there.

And the thrill of setting off at 12.30am to drive across town to pick him up after a party, hoping you don’t have to make conversation with any other parents once you get there as you are dressed in poorly co-ordinated nightwear and have serious nighttime social issues.

Anyway, that’s what I was doing recently when Scotland’s finest flashed their blue lights and pulled me over.

To be fair, the passenger side headlight on my car was out. “Thanks for pointing it out, officer,” I said politely. “I’ll fix it first thing tomorrow.”

Old enough to recall days when the local bobby would clip you around the ear for nicking apples, in my head this was a case of a warning wag of the finger and be on your way.

So I was at first bemused to learn I was being cautioned and charged. A tad over the top, I suggested, barely managing to stop myself inquiring as to how Kim Jong-Un was enjoying the holidays.

After nearly half an hour while my licence was checked and my details taken, I could hardly hear him read my rights – “You have the right to remain silent . . .” – for tut-tutting at how ludicrous (and intimidating) it was. Surely police have bigger crimes to bust?

It is entirely possible that around the same time disabled Frank Rowe of Newhaven Road was ringing 999 after catching a youth ripping wing mirrors off cars. The Evening News told how it took police an hour to respond, by which time the 65-year-old had given up and was home totting up the damage to his car.

In my case, the local MOT test centre earned a tidy fee next day for fixing my bulb and stamping a slip for my PC chum, who no doubt then had to deal with the necessary paperwork – more time consumed.

While in Mr Rowe’s case, several cars were damaged costing a fair sum to fix and a pain in the neck for their owners, and someone who needed to feel the long arm of the law on their collar headed home laughing.

Police time is precious and officers can’t be everywhere at once. And yes, idiots like me should check their lights before they set off. Guilty as charged.

But a fair cop? Well officer, I reserve the right to remain silent . . .