The day the muggers won

Mugger caught admiring what he’d stolen

A few years ago I was wandering home at just before Midnight when a rather concerned lad in his early 20s asked if I’d seen two hoodies pass me. He was with two other lads who were looking nervously and angrily up and down Orford Road in Walthamstow. I explained I hadn’t and asked what was up. I then had described to me how the lad had just been mugged.

He had apparently passed the hoodies as they were sitting on the bench near the Ancient House and noted that they hid their faces from him, but had also noted some facts about what they were wearing. He passed the Nag’s Head realising that they were now following him. They caught up with him and kicked him to the ground and beat him around the head in order to take his bag, and ran off. The victim was only a few metres from his home, so was able to run in to get his flat mates in order to give chase. However, they came out and couldn’t work out which way the hoodies had gone. As they were looking up and down, I reached them.

Straight away I asked if the police had been called. The victim said he didn’t have his phone. It had been taken during a previous mugging only three weeks ago in more or less the same place and he’d not got round to replacing it. In fact, tonight’s muggers had only managed to run off with a near empty bag since he had nothing left of value to be stolen this time.

I offered him my phone to call the police and he thought for a moment then said it was pointless as last time they’d not been interested and told him to just go to a police station to report it the next morning. I said he really should report it, but he said they wouldn’t be interested “You know what they are like” and he was ok. He did have quite a bruise developing on his face and a lump on his head so I said “What about an ambulance?” He declined again saying he’d just go indoors, clean up and see how he felt rather than spend hours surrounded by violent drunks at the Whipps Cross A and E if it was just superficial.

His flatmates helped him home and I continued on my journey.

It concerned me that he’d not called the police. More and more victims of crime are not bothering because they know nothing happens. So, as I walked along I decided to call the local police number and explain what I’d just witnessed. I assumed that letting them know might add to some ‘intelligence’ and help them know what was going on on their patch.

From the moment I started speaking to the officer who answered I got negativity. There was no victim available for them to interview so he “couldn’t do anything”. Would they be interested in noting the details to add to intelligence or to show a possible pattern? Nope. He wasn’t going to take down any of the descriptions or react in any way, and certainly he wasn’t going to send anybody to the area to cruise around looking for a pair of suspicious looking hoodies. He didn’t want my name or anything. He just wanted me off the phone. I obliged him but felt extremely frustrated with the whole situation.

So, what the heck are we to do? On the one hand you’ve got victims knowing it’s pointless trying to inform the police of anything. On the other hand you’ve got the police dis-interested in information about what’s actually going on.

This is why the statistics can’t be believed when figures are trotted out to tell us how safe we are. The whole system is breaking down. Victims don’t trust the police, and the muggers know they’ll never get caught.


  1. OK, A few years ago I had a car to sell, it was a good useable car. I made signs for the windows that said ' Ford Escort with MOT, Everything works, £300 '.
    It was parked in Burnham, Essex one evening when a group of youths I guess saw it and saw my notices. ' Everything works eh ' They decided to change that situation by smashing both of the door mirrors off.
    I considered what to do since the car was now not roadworthy, but I needed to drive it home. I thought the best thing was to report the crime.
    Perhaps the Police had nicked some drunk youths, or perhaps someone had injured themselves breaking off the mirrors.
    Burnham Police Station was shut. A sign indicated that it was now the base of the Marine Unit and that enquiries should be directed to Southminster Police station in the next small town. So I went there.
    This Police Station was also shut, but there was an Intercom button to press and so I pressed it and found myself speaking to a woman. I told her that on the door was a big sign that said ' Together We Will Beat Car Crime '. If she would just let me in I said would give details of just such a crime.
    The woman said that she was not at Southminster, but that the Intercom was connected to Maldon Police Station, twenty miles away. I asked her to put me through to the Desk Sergeant. She could not, as the Intercom was not connected to the main switchboard. She said she would try but that in all probability I would get cut off. Before she tried she asked where I lived. I said that I lived in North London. She suggested that I drive home to London and report the crime there. Then she had a go at connecting me and indeed I was cut off.
    So, I did drive home and in the morning I went to Highgate Police Station. It was shut. A sign suggested that I might like to go to Hornsey Police Station. I gave up.
    I did sell the car but at a reduced price based on the fact that it needed two new adjustable mirror assemblies.
    Nobody was pursued for Criminal Damage, since the Police rendered it all but impossible for me to report the crime, so in effect there was no crime, It never happened.
    Fortunately I was not stopped by the Police as I was driving home in a car with no side mirrors. I would have been given a fixed penalty notice for that since I would have been the criminal and the Old Bill could have ticked off another crime solved.
    Makes you weep !

    Peter Moore.


  2. Walking home late one night, I heard an alarm going off. I used a nearby phone-box to call 999 and report it. Within two minutes, I hung up on the operator, who was very rude, unhelpful and ungrateful. I have no idea if a place was robbed, burning down, or whatever… And I don't think the 999 operator gave a flying toss.


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