Inspector Prime

Wednesday had been a very quiet day. The weather had been kind with a lovely sunny day so my family and I went to the lakes with a picnic. Children grow up so quickly you can never forget their first steps or their first word and I enjoyed anytime I had with them. On the way home we had stopped for ice cream and a bottle of red wine for when they were in bed of course!

I had just finished my usual bath time, story time and “good night!” cuddle routine when the telephone started ringing downstairs. I heard my wife answer.

As I came to the study door Moira stopped me, “You have a police call. A car has driven in to a shop at Beckley High Street. Can you get there as soon as possible? Oh and if you get stopped for any reason on the way, get the officer to call control room and ask for Inspector Prime, he will talk to the officer on your behalf!”

“That sounds good to me!” I said to Moira as I put my boots on.

Beckley is 20 miles away and the best route was 10 miles on motorway and then 10 miles through country lanes. I had covered about 8 miles on the motorway which was unusually quiet when a motorbike behind me flashed a blue light and moved alongside me, indicating to pull over. I stopped on the hard shoulder.

“Switch your engine off.” said the Police Officer as he came to my driver’s door “Where is the fire? In a hurry
are we?”

So I told him, “I have an emergency call to — “ He cut me off, “You will get your say when I have finished.” “but I am needed by your officers at Beckley.” I tried to explain. Again he sternly cut me off, “You just listen to me and forget about your call while I check your vehicle and papers.” With this he starts to walk around my van checking bodywork and tyres. I get out of my van and walk to where he is.

“Officer could you please call your control room and ask for Inspector Prime.” “Go back to your drivers’ seat. I will speak to you when I have finished.” I can see that this officer is not the talking kind so I go back to the cab.

Now if this incident was to happen to me today I would get out my mobile and call the Police control room and get the inspector to call the officer on his radio but this is the early 80s and I do not have a mobile. I wait for the officer to come to the cab. He opens the passenger door, “Driver’s licence? Insurance?”

I give him the documents asked for and say again, “Could you please call your control room it really would help.” Again he tells me, “You will get your chance to talk when I have finished.”

After more questions and 15 minutes later after being issued with a speeding ticket, I am asked to speak. “Now you can give me your reasons for speeding.” He says to me.

“I would like you to get on your radio and ask control to patch you through to Inspector Prime. Give him my details and see what he has to say please.”

“I have no reason to do that. You were speeding on the motorway.”

“I have tried to tell you but you would not listen that I am on call for an incident that Inspector Prime is dealing with and his instructions to me were that if I got stopped to get the officer to call the control room. Will you please call your control room.”

At this point I am beginning to get frustrated. The officer moves away from my van and I can see him using his radio. I honestly believe that in my mirror I saw him jump to attention with his radio in his hand. I do not know what was said by the Inspector but what a change in attitude! The officer replaced his handset and came back to my drivers’ door.

“I have been instructed to escort you to Beckley please follow me.” So, with blue light flashing we continued to Beckley.

On arriving at Beckley I was meet by Inspector Prime who showed me the situation. The first priority was to stop everyone from smoking because of the fuel leaking out of the car.

“The Fire Service on their way.” the Inspector told me, as I had a good look at what we had to do.

As soon as the Fire Service arrived, my friend Big Ken, who was my work partner at the time, and I placed the jacks under the front end of the car to lift it over the 12-inch brick wall that once had the wooden cill of the shop window on it.

With the Fire Service ready in case moving the car out of the shop caused a spark, we used acrow props to support the ceiling and when we gave the word that we were going to move the car out, with the jack under the car.

It moved as if it was in slow motion and moved gracefully out of the shop and rolled back the way it had came. It moved a few yards and stopped.

A Police Officer opened the drivers’ door and pulled the handbrake on. Big Ken and I now got down to the job of securing the property we were fixing the last board up when there was a loud shout of:

“LOOK OUT!”

We turned in the direction of the shout, to see the car rolling down the pathway. Slowly at first, but then gaining speed. It quickly got faster than the Police Officers chasing after it. We watched as it rolled faster and faster until it came to rest with a loud bang in the side of a Police car.

What none of us at the scene had spotted in the dark was that the very wide footpath it had travelled across had a slope and the cars hand break did not work!

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Mick Edwards

Mick Edwards

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Glazier. Builder. Proud Scouter, husband and father. Doer of things. Owner of the oldest mobile number in the UK (according to Vodafone)!