A few months ago my car was subject to criminal damage. The passenger in a brand new four-by-four, very deliberately and maliciously slammed his door into mine, not once, but three times, denting my car and cracking the paintwork.
When I challenged him he told me it was in retaliation for the fact that my car door had touched his when I got out.
“This is an eighty grand car,” he said. “Yours isn’t worth two hundred.”
I told him that I thought he had anger management problems and that I would ring the police.
A young officer came to see me. I showed him the damage and told him the story. He went to see if there was any CCTV footage. Unfortunately there wasn’t.
I said he should take a look at the other car, whose registration number I gave him. He could do an analysis of the paint residue on their door. He said that would be too expensive.
After that the investigation lingered on for months. I was given vague updates every so often.
The young man I was accusing was ill and couldn’t be interviewed. The car had since been moved to Essex.
In the end the officer rang me and told me he was dropping the case.
“It’s your word against his,” he said. I lost my temper. It wasn’t my word against his on the day. There was evidence on the other guy’s car.
It seemed that I’d been strung along and that he’d let the perpetrator get away with it.
If the damage had been done to a rich person’s property, would he have been so lackadaisical?
It wasn’t that I wanted to punish the offender: it was that I wanted him to be given a warning, to stop him from doing it again. Instead of which the police reinforced him in his attitude, telling him, in effect, that criminal behaviour by a person with money is acceptable.