So we phoned ‘999’

We were daydreaming around the station yesterday when we became aware of an alarm going off repeatedly. Between the bursts of sound, an amplified voice from this G4S van kept announcing: ‘Driver needs assistance, please call the police’. A bit puzzlingly, someone was sitting in the driver’s seat, apparently unperturbed by the racket.

So we did what any sensible person would do – we ignored the commotion! But then we guiltily thought that we ought to do something about it, so we did as the amplified voice commanded. Our phonecall was answered promptly and efficiently; we described the scene and we walked away. A minute or two later we received a return call; apparently the transport police are responsible for policing on station premises, and they had been alerted.

More than that we cannot say. In the end, the alarm stopped. We don’t know why it started. (And we forgot why we were there in the first place! More of which another time.)

If you can add to the story, please do so…

14 thoughts on “So we phoned ‘999’

  1. Part of the joys of outsourcing essential services to monolithic organisations who are responsible for everything from unemployment to prisons

    • True. But doing things in-house can bring its own problems. I reckon the ‘best’ (least worst) approach is to switch from one regime to the other and back again all the time. It sounds chaotic to do that, but it does create opportunities to spring-clean the operation.

  2. I wonder where the nearest transport policeperson was and how long it took them to get to Camberley Station. This information could be useful next time I’m planning a heist…

  3. I came across an almost identical situation while in Tiverton high street last week: different security company van, somebody inside (driver?), but the van shouting the same message! My reaction was precisely the same as yours: reported the situation to 999 operator, but heard nothing since. About ten minutes later I came by the same spot, and the van had gone.
    Interesting though that I appeared to be the only person that acted, amongst some half-dozen other onlookers.

    • So we’ll never know if the incidents were false alarms. Frustrating! But you’re not surprised by the lack of action by others, I’m sure. Alarms are usually ignored. Sociology predicts that if one person ignores an alarm, the rest are likely to do the same. Baa!

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