A man who interrupted the conversation of two community police officers as they strolled down Clapham High Street, can expect a custodial sentence, a south London magistrate said last night.
Giving evidence against Michael Moran (46), community police officer Bill Smith told how he was shocked into silence when accosted by Moran.
‘I was proceeding in a southerly direction down Clapham High Street,’ PC Smith told the court, ‘strolling in a community policing manner while carrying out my duty of engaging in an exchange of essential pleasantries with my colleague PC Sheila Cornwall, by describing to her how last weekend myself and the lads had had a good night out and were planning a little fishing trip this weekend off the coast of Wales; and PC Cornwall was responding by telling me how she was contemplating returning a three-piece suite to DFS because she and her husband weren’t sure if the colour, red, really matched the lounge curtains, which are patterned; when I became aware of another voice impinging on our conversation.’
‘Oh, it broke the thread of what I was telling PC Smith,’ PC Cornwall said. ‘It’s hard enough strolling in pairs down the street – ‘on the beat’ as they say – and having a natter, without members of the public intruding and making you lose your thread.’
‘This individual was asking me if I had the right time and could I please tell him how to get to Clapham Common. And he may have said something about a bank robbery in progress across the road. For a moment I was at a loss for words and was about to call for back-up, but PC Cornwall had already snapped a gag on the offender.’
Magistrate John Brown said that bobbies on the beat deserved the public’s support. He said:
‘The defendant seriously obstructed the police in the course of their conversation and he can expect a custodial sentence.’
A Met spokesman said the two police officers had acted with bravery in the face of provocation.
‘We shall be congratulating them,’ he said, ‘as soon, that is, we can get a word in edgeways.’