At my very unfriendly police station, I had the misfortune to walk in behind an old man, meaning that whatever he was there for, it would take at least 20 minutes to explain and about two days to process. Sure enough, he wanted some paper that looked like it would fall apart if you whistled on it faxed, and to Basel, in Switzerland, for some urgent reason. That was great to listen to but as I was amongst the parole signees I trained my ears in their direction as two of the blokes there had an actual argument about who had the worst curfew (the winner being the one with the 10pm-8am block) and when their respective sentencing dates would be.
Then the one with the better curfew was asked by way of conversation making ‘hey, shouldn’t you have been sentenced by now?’ to which he explained yes, absolutely, but his pre-trail date had been pushed back due to unforeseen delays in his ‘handwriting and fingerprint analysis’. All things going well though, he expected and clearly was looking forward to being sentenced ‘by October at the latest’. Then he decided he would come back later to do his parole signing and said goodbye to his comrade with a cheerful ‘always good isn’t it?’ whilst sauntering out the door, his baby in a buggy.
This was of course after we were all sitting there waiting about 20 minutes – there was nobody at the (bullet proof) reception area, even though the door opened, a blonde policewoman looked out at the pile of us, then calmly closed the door again. The door stayed shut and the reception area empty for another few minutes. The regulars advised NOT to bang on the window for attention, as that would mean the policepeople would wait even longer to come out. How did they know? ‘That blonde one does that all the time, sees you waiting, let’s you know they’re there, and leaves you again, so you go mad.’
One of the parolees said that he had complained one time about how he had been waiting 20 minutes, only to be told by our illustrious police force member that ‘sure we know that we have a camera on youse in the waiting area.’ Then they said ‘and being as you’re used to waiting you can keep doing so’ and walked back into the office, leaving our hapless criminal stewing in the very smelly reception.