I’ve now been stopped twice in two days by the police while using the Tube. Is this normal? I usually go to work by bicycle but the weather’s been so awful in the past couple of days that, since there’s been no urgency to get to work, I went by Tube instead. Both times I’ve been stopped. Do I look like a potential suicide bomber or was it just the luck of the draw?
The police have been polite and efficient on both occasions and I was held up for no more than 30 seconds. The first time it happened was on Oxford Circus station. Two cops stopped me and asked what was in my backpack. “Errmm, Mars bar, newspaper, glasses case, organiser, waterproofs, wallet”, I answered before they asked to have a look to see if I was telling the truth.
The second time was this afternoon as I was about to go down the steps into Bethnal Green station. The first thing the cop asked was whether I’d already been searched today which seemed a slightly odd question. I said I hadn’t but told her I had been yesterday. She then asked to look in my bag so I opened it, lifted out my pullover to show her what was underneath and heaved a sigh of relief that the 20 thousand quid I’d just nicked from the bank was not visible1.
What surprised me most of all though was that she then asked if I wanted a little slip to show that she’d searched me. That explains the initial question. Presumably, if I’d said I’d already been searched she’d have asked to see my slip and let me pass on. I declined the slip but wish I hadn’t now as it would have given me something with which to illustrate this.
How terribly efficient of the police to come up with the idea of a certificate of having been searched. I wonder which bright spark suggested that one?
2 And that isn’t true either
Posted 28 July 2005, 23:56 BST