Elderly crime victim let down by the police
Who steals my purse steals trash… (Shakespeare, Othello, act 3 scene 3). It was some time between 10.30 and 11 o’clock last Friday evening when a woman of some 60-plus years was walking along Elwick Road past Debenhams.
She was suddenly confronted by a young man. ‘Late teens, early twenties I think’ she said.
‘He was white, he was English, he was wearing a bright, newlooking white shirt and he seemed to appear from nowhere’.
He told her that he had no money to get back to Maidstone and if she didn’t hand over her purse, he would ‘hurt her’.
Sensibly, the woman did as she was told and handed this particular apple of some mother’s eye her purse. It contained £30 in notes, to which our hero helped himself before heading off towards the railway station.
Arriving home, the woman phoned her daughter who immediately called the police.
She was told that some officers would be on the way. About four hours later another call was made, to the 101 number, to say that, since no police had turned up and, since the woman had to go to work in four hours’ time and since it was unlikely that the thief would be apprehended, could the officers call some other time.
‘He told her if she didn’t hand over her purse, he would ‘hurt her’.’
As the phone call finished, a male policeman and a lady policeman arrived on the doorstep. They asked her what had happened, where, when, description of the thief, what had been said and how much money had been taken. They then left.
The next day (Saturday), the woman was phoned at work. She was asked had anyone taken a statement and had she been told to put her purse in a plastic bag to preserve any possible fingerprints.
The answer was no and no. The following morning (Sunday) a charming lady policeman called and asked about the purse.
She decided that, since it had been often handled, there was no point in taking it for forensic examination.
I had hoped to have a word with our Police Commissioner to discuss the somewhat fragmented manner in which this lady’s case had been dealt with, particularly since there seemed no way in which it could be successfully concluded.
I don’t think she wanted to talk to me.