This YouTube video shows a standoff between a British citizen and a police officer. The officer is concerned that the citizen’s walking stick is actually a ‘drinking stick’, filled with alcohol, and demands to search it.
The citizen responds that he does not want it to be searched, explaining that if you unscrew the pin it will take ages to get back together.
Cue surreal conversation. ‘It’s a walking stick’. Officer: ‘It’s not a drinking stick then?’ ‘I don’t drink’. Officer: ‘It’s unusual to see people walking along with objects like this. Sometimes they have a little dagger in it’. ‘I can assure you that one’s not got a dagger in it’.
The police officer turns his attention from the stick to its owner: ‘What’s your name?’. ‘I don’t want to try to give any kind of details’. ‘When you say that, I might think you’re trying to hide something’.
The officer takes the reluctance to give details as a de facto admission of guilt. ‘Most members of the public would be quite happy to give their name’. Answer: ‘I’m not most of them, I’m just me.’
Then even more personal questions: ‘Are you working then?’ Answer: ‘I don’t want to go into my life story’.
It seems to be all over, then the officer returns to the stick: ‘I might have to search your stick. You’re not telling me your name. You’re saying there’s something inside it’. Answer: ‘There’s nothing inside it. I said if you open it you will break it.’
The citizen is accused of being argumentative: ‘I’m not being argumentative – I’m standing my ground’ The officer: ‘How do you know the law then?’ ‘Because I study law.’ Officer: ‘Do you?’
This whole episode ends when the citizen says that he is recording the encounter. ‘I don’t want to be videoed’, says the officer.
This shows how police officials feel it within their right to hassle members of the public on the most spurious of grounds. The presumption of innocence, the right to go about your business unmolested – all these seem to have gone out of the window. The officer seems to assume that people are not familiar with the law, or their rights (how do you know the law then?).
Well done to this person for standing up to overweening and illegitimate authority – and reminding the police of the law of land.