Day 22 – The long arm of the law

22 02 2010

My address? Yes it's 999, Letsby Avenue

Who said abiding by the rules wasn’t exciting? Today I saw and reported a crime!

Yes indeed, like the valiant defender after justice that I am, I called the police when I saw someone sawing through a bike lock round the corner from the office. I contemplated making a citizen’s arrest but a) I had no idea of the rules on that and b) the only other person I’ve heard of doing that was Graham Taylor and that’s not a club I’m itching to join.

The whole event was actually pretty interesting from a rules point of view. It’s the first real evidence of a flagrant breach of the rules that I’ve seen since I started the project. It made me think that really, we live in a pretty law abiding society. Secondly it opened up a can of worms in terms of what to do. Pretty obviously calling the police is recommended but there’s also advice that I should have ensured my own safety before doing so and then a real grey area around what to do if tackling a villain. Essentially I could have been done for kidnap if I didn’t get it right. It all comes down to the word ‘reasonable’ which I think is a perfect bedfellow for ‘regular’. Open to broad interpretation and ultimately unhelpful.

Anyway, after getting the 999 answer machine I was advised to call the Met if the crime didn’t require urgent police attention. It’s been a good 22 days since I’ve had to use my judgement like that, so this was tough. I figured that as the police were obviously busy, my report could prevent someone calling in about an ill timed rug beating or the confirmation of the legitimate death of a Welshman in Chester so I hung up and went through to the Met. Quick and efficient, but I had the sneaking suspicion that nothing would get done. Maybe I’m too much of a cynic.

After fleeing the scene of the crime I went for dinner with Liz and some friends. I enjoyed a limit-jeopardising steak and chips and managed to catch up with my GP friend about my supposed depression. If you remember I took an NHS online quiz that suggested I may have depression and to contact my GP. Em was surprised that this quiz existed. There are some relatively sophisticated tools for assessing depression and this wasn’t one of them. She was pretty horrified that it suggested I contact a GP, something she saw as a needless use of a scarce resource. She also felt that the bigger problem was the danger of medicalising something that could have just been a bad day. She mentioned a silly rule of her own. Doctors are required to test people formally for depression according to a set of guidelines. They then have to repeat the test 12 weeks later and only get paid if the patient completes it. So the ones that don’t are fine, have used up resources and have cost the doctor money and the ones that do have gone an extra twelve weeks without the right care and attention. What a great way to reward failure!

In general then a big thumbs down from the qualified doctor for the recommended depression quiz. I think there’s a danger to rules and guidelines of this sort. They make something official and formal when it simply doesn’t need to be. We both agreed that there really needs to be more thought and care applied to the commission or setting of these kind of rules and guidelines. The negative impact has to be considered alongside any positive.


Weight: 13st 11lb

Body fat 17.4%

Frustration 6 (busy day at work made screen breaks irritating)

Infractions 10.5

Wellbeing 8 (people keep saying how well I look so I’m taking an extra point for that)

No new rules today




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