The community support officers reacted immediately. They behaved as if they had never seen a penknife before, pulling out the bottle-opener, the corkscrew, the thing that gets stones out of horses' hooves.
"This device has a locking blade," said the constable.
The policeman said: "That is a racist comment, sir." Then the van appeared.
I was locked in the back and ferried to Charing Cross.
I often hear people outside the house at night and I feel more comfortable with the baton inside the front door.
A week or so before, I had discovered my young daughters playing with it and had locked it in my briefcase for safekeeping.
Their task, according to Sir John Stevens, is to "perform the vital role of security patrols in central London, deterring criminals and providing intelligence to police officers"."We are conducting random stop and search under current anti-terrorist legislation," began the constable, addressing me through my open side window. We're training these new community support officers."Although a little worried about being late for my meeting, I agreed to the search.
I live in a rural part of Suffolk that, although relatively crime-free, is policed very sparsely.The scruffy, overweight, badly turned-out, ill-mannered policemen I encountered at Charing Cross police station were desperately in need of decent leadership.So I was not surprised when I was brought back before the desk sergeant and told that the CPS had decided to charge me with possessing an offensive weapon and carrying a bladed instrument in public.My goodwill towards the police began to give way to alarm.I reached for my mobile to call the lawyers and explain that I was going to be late but the constable stopped me. "You're about to be arrested for possessing offensive weapons and carrying a bladed instrument in public.