Quite a contrast

PUBLISHED: 16:19 04 December 2008 | UPDATED: 13:46 06 May 2010

SIR, — I would like to bring to the attention of you and your readers two events concerning myself and members of my family that I think illustrate why decent, law-abiding people in this country have lost faith with public servants. In April of this year

SIR, - I would like to bring to the attention of you and your readers two events concerning myself and members of my family that I think illustrate why decent, law-abiding people in this country have lost faith with public servants.

In April of this year I was travelling home on a very crowded First Capital Connect train consisting of only four carriages from Farringdon back to St Albans. As the train was so busy I entered the first-class compartment and sat down. At St Pancras Station a ticket inspector came in to the compartment and despite my offer of paying the first-class fare to St Albans insisted I had to pay an on-the-spot fine. I refused to do this and left the compartment squeezing into an overcrowded regular-class compartment for the rest of the journey.

At St Albans Station there was a police officer waiting ready to take my details. The journey time from St Pancras is less than 20 minutes which I'm sure you'll agree is a speedy response on behalf of the police. Despite spending almost £3.000 a year on travel to London with FCC, I was made to feel like a criminal for daring to sit for a few minutes on a crowded train of short formation - technically in the wrong, I know, but I was more than willing to pay the correct fare to make amends.

The contrasting story happened on Monday night this week. My 13-year-old nephew had his bicycle stolen from an alleyway beside his friend's house in the Fleetville area of St Albans.. His friend's mother phoned the police immediately and was given a crime number "for claiming on insurance" - but there was no speedy response, no police officer coming to talk to my nephew, no details taken of the four youths who were hanging around outside the house before the bike was stolen, no police officers drove around the area, perhaps talking to any youths still hanging around to ask if they saw anything. In short, nothing was done at all save the suggestion that they claim on insurance.

I know that the stealing of a bicycle isn't a great crime but surely it deserves some kind of response or do the police feel that responding to a tired commuter sitting in the wrong compartment is more important than the theft of a young boy's bicycle. In a relatively-low crime area like St Albans I can't believe there weren't the resources available to at least make some kind of effort to find the culprits or at least make a show of investigating a crime.

Is it any wonder that respect for the police is disappearing from all sections of society?

P. FIELD,

Grimthorpe Close, St Albans.

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