As I was quietly contemplating today’s first new blog post, one literally popped into my head. Well, ‘pop’ is not quite the right word, more like ‘screeched’.
I’m not joking. On the little housing estate where I live, it is quite sedate so loud noises really ring out. I heard the screeching of tyres, twice. Rushing to the window, like the neighbour from hell, I thought ‘right, I’ll clock who that was and talk to them or their parents’. I’m afraid I thought it was a young person going far too fast in a residential area.
As I live on a corner, I do get a lot of kids playing football outside as it’s very spacious. I don’t mind, makes the place sound lively but cars do need to be careful.
But I was wrong. A blue car shrieked round the corner and stopped at right angles to my home, right across the road and a guy opened the door and ran off, a second shimmied over from the driver’s side and ran after him. I thought ‘bloody hell, they’re leaving their car in the middle of the road’. Both men were black and, I’m ashamed to say, I thought ‘is it drugs?’ as I realised I was witnessing the aftermath of a crime of some sort.
Then I heard more shrieking brakes and two police cars came and a police community support officer came belting round the corner shouting. I could hear other voices so I assume that another police car had come the other way – a classic pincer movement on my doorstep.
A few seconds later, the running police officer came back with a man in handcuffs – the other one was nowhere in sight, worryingly. Then followed a long time of talking, sitting, on the radio, gathering and chatting, back slapping by police officers and PCSOs. I watched them do a cursory search of the car but nothing was found as far as I could see.
Now as a journalist, did I take pictures! You bet I did, as soon as I realised this was a little bit of drama. Then I thought can I use them? I itch to use them. They’re not that exciting, I have to say as the two men had run off before I had time to even think ‘camera’.
Should I use them?
Let’s think about it. These two men could be innocent of any crime. Unlikely as innocent people don’t shriek away from police cars, abandon their ‘own’ car in the middle of a street and run off. But they could be. Is there likely to be a court case? Who knows? Would my showing the pictures prejudice that case? Possibly if one defendant’s case was that he wasn’t there I suppose? Or that the car wasn’t his? Or he wasn’t in the car?
The pictures clearly identify the car, and one of the men, so should I use them? They do show that this is a nice street and give the impression that such an event is highly unusual and quite exciting. But then that would be the case for most of us. They show that the police acted quickly to deal with it, with the minimum of fuss although there was quite a bit of hanging around afterwards.
On balance, I’ve decided not to publish some of the pictures in case the police decide to knock on my door, or the suspect (or his mate) does the same! But what I’m telling you is true, even if slightly pointless!