A ride in a cop van

by Alex on Nov.24, 2009, under Blog

So I’m sitting in the eaty room of the hostel at about 11 pm and a guy wanders past, having come in from the street, wearing no shirt. I made a witless comment that probably had an edge of derision to it and was promptly informed that he’d just been jumped by 3 guys and lost his shirt in the ensuing melee. He’d also lost a shoe. We’d been talking about robbings and I’m sure my getting robbed story came out.

So four of us went out for a stroll to look for the shoe, armed (for purposes of defence only) with batons and a hefty piece of wood. We saw nothing as we approached where the incident had occurred and a brief chat with two late-night street sweepers illicited nothing interesting. What was interesting was the response of the police when we got to the party venue where it had happened. Whereas they, as is the norm, took little interest when the mugging had been initially reported, they seemed to consider the search for a shoe a pretty high priority task. After a few minutes of chatting we were invited into the police van to go for a drive, to look for the shoe. It seemed very odd, it was genuine friendliness and helpfulness but then you’ve the whole dichotomy to deal with when you compare this reaction to the laissez-faireosity encountered on recounting getting jumped on and punched etc.

From the outside, I’d not realised that a Colombian police van has three key areas. The first is the driver’s bit, the second, as you might expect is the bit in the back where more police might sit. The third, which I’d not seen before, it the little locky up bit where they put people. I’ve no idea how long these guys had been there but they seemed quite settled and indifferent to our presence as they chatted away in animated drunkenness as I looked at them with interest through the glass and metal grille. I’m sure they had no idea nor care for our quest for the shoe…

After a few blocks, a further chat with the street sweepers and a call over the radio, it was obvious that we’d not find it but happily we were very close to where we were staying. The police seemed a little concerned when I got out of the van, thinking that I intended to walk on alone, not knowing that the other guys were coming too. I told him I’d be OK and showed him my baton. With a smile he told me in an almost avuncular manner that ‘when I hit them, hit them round the legs, not round the head’. ‘Of course’ I replied with a knowing grin, ‘you could kill someone hitting them round the head with a baton’. I can’t quite imagine a cop in the UK advising me as to where best hit someone with a metal bar…

:, ,

1 Comment for this entry

  • Steve

    On that amazing anecdote, I'll made sure I'm wearing shin pads and knee braces next time I plan on a brawl with Bogota's finest… glad you're having fun over there! :o )

Leave a Reply