mardi, décembre 28, 2004

3 hours stay in the police station of Chartres.

I went to the police station in Chartres on the Saturday after I lost my wallet and mobile phone to file a stolen report. Seb and I arrived at 10am. There was a young police officer at the reception to welcome us. When he was explained of what we need to do, he ushered us to the counter. Before us, there was an elderly man who was there to complain about his neighbour or someone who was haressing him. When it was our turn, the police chief explained to us that we lacked some information and had to come back later. Also, he was busy as the "hotel" was full. Apparently, they had 3 cells (little rooms) and they were occupied due to a good "harvest" from the night before.

So, we went to the bank to get the numbers we need and to cancel all our GIRO transactions. When that was done, we went back at 3pm in the afternoon. As the young police officer recongised us, he told us to sit and wait. While waiting during the one and a half hour before our turn, I saw the "All in a day's work" in a police station on an average Saturday.

1. An old granny came to report that her house had been broken in. While she was waiting with us, her other old friends came and joined her and during their discussion, we overheard a comment "It must be done by the gang of blacks".

2. There was a couple who came and was told to come back another day as the police station was understaffed and there were too many waiting to lodge a complain. The couple were not happy as earlier they came, they were rejected and told to go to the Gendarmerie. And at the Gendarmerie, they were told to go back to the police and now, they were informed to come back another day preferably a weekday. For your info, in France, there are the police and gendarmerie. Usually, the gendarmerie takes care of road traffic related incident.

3. Another couple came and were rejected.

4. A man came and informed the police officer at the reception that someone misused his credit card number and purchased items in Turkey. Fortunately, the bank had blocked the credit card now and he was there to make a formal report. The police officer explained that the police station was understaffed and overcrowded with complains and asked the man to come back another day if he considered the money lost was not a big sum. The man replied the sum was about 3000 euro and he did not mind coming back another day.

5. A man came to ask for his son who was locked up over the night.

6. A woman came to ask for a man who was locked up over the night.

7. A woman who wanted to talk to a detective and not to the police officer at the reception as the complain was too personal.

8. Another man who was before us and waiting and waiting.

Now we know the job of the young police officer at the reception. His job was to filter the complains. At each complain he received, he maintained a cool look. I believe he must have heard of broken-in houses, stolen wallets and mobile phones, complains of neighbours, traffic accidents so many times that he was just so unaffected by it.

Finally, it was our turn. We were met with another police chief. He explained that usually it was not his place to be typing out complains but that day, they were understaffed. We explained briefly what we need to report and spent the next 45 minutes following his 2 index fingers on the keyboard. Yes, he is a 2 finger man. But at least he was nice. He asked "What is your country?" I replied "Singapour". And he asked "What is the city?" I replied "Singapour". That really surprised him. Guess it was the first time in his life that he heard of Singapore, Singapore. Of course when he asked for my nationality, we all laughed. "Singapourienne". How difficult can that be.

Voilà, voilà. That was my 3 hours stay in the police station of Chartres.

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