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Would it kill police to say thank you every now and then?

By Devil_n_Disquiz - 22 May 2009 150

To start off with I should mention that I am a Canberra Cabbie. As such it is not uncommon (actually quite often) that we get messages on our MTData system that start off with “POLICE MESSAGE……” followed by some stolen car, person of interest, item of interest etc that they want us to look out for. And fair enough too,,with 300+ cabbies on the road at any given time it makes sense to have those extra eyes looking for things when the Police obviously can’t be everywhere.

However, now I am asking myself “It it really worth it”? Last night around 2325 I was involved in an incident where I gave assistance and copped attitude.

I was driving westbound on Isabella Dr with an intention to turn left into Ashley Dr. About 100m away from the roundabout I saw a car enter that same roundabout southbound on Ashley Dr (i.e. Wanniassa to Richardson direction). As I watched this car it was obvious that control had been lost and the car had ended up in the guard rail on the wrong side of the road and was facing oncoming traffic.

I pulled up alongside that car turned my hazards on and offered whatever assistance was needed to the visibly shocked young female driver. Another member of the public who had gone through the roundabout before her also stopped and returned to offer assistance.

A police vehicle happened by carrying a male and female officer and stopped with associated lights show, got out and the first three questions from the male were;

1) Who was driving ?

2) Are you hurt ?

3) Were you speeding ?

The last question I answered with “No, she wasn’t. She got unlucky and found herself in a slide that she could not arrest. But speed was not a factor”

(NOTE: The roads were wet at the time and I am sure that the accident was caused more by inexperience in wet conditions, that coupled with the fact that the direction she was travelling in and being in the outside lane, its not the most user friendly roundabout).

The police went about doing their thing and I just stood back waiting for what I assumed would be a request for my details being a witness to the accident and being there when the police showed up. But no request came. What I got instead was this dialogue

Female Cop ” Were you involved in the accident”

Me ” No ”

Female Cop ” Okay, well you can go now ”

Me “oh..okay”

Female Cop ” Oh..but before you go. Is your car registered”

Me (knowing it was) ” I hope so” then “Yeah, see. (pointing to rego label) thats a 6. Its only May ”

Female Cop “oh okay then”

So what my point in all of this ?

1) I believe the police were trying to find something to pin someone with as soon as they got out of their vehicle. The crash victim by asking if she was speeding and me with a friggin rego

2) No requests for my details came from either officer even though I was a witness. And in talking with a mate who is a member of the AFP, he seems to think that she will possibly face a neg drive charge !!!


1. the quality, fact, or result of being negligent; neglect: negligence in discharging one’s responsibilities.
2. an instance of being negligent: a downfall brought about by many negligences.
3. Law. the failure to exercise that degree of care that, in the circumstances, the law requires for the protection of other persons or those interests of other persons that may be injuriously affected by the want of such care.

C’mon…really ???

3) The attitude from the female police officer towards me. Rather than a “thanks for stopping and offering your assistance” I was told in a gruff manner that my presence was no longer required and oh by the way,,is your car registered. Her observational awareness is lacking it would seem.

4) Is helping the police going to make you feel better about them in general and give you warm fuzzies, or is it going to make you wonder why the blood hell you bothered in the first place when all you get in return is attitude. I think this female officers ‘bedside manner’ could be improved somewhat.

Anyway, before any one suggests I do. I have dried my eyes and Hardened TFU !!

What’s Your opinion?

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150 Responses to
Would it kill police to say thank you every now and then?
deezagood 11:59 am 22 May 09

Agree. When you put on a uniform (police, defence, fire etc…) you immediately represent the organisation that you work for and rightly or wrongly, any lack of courtesy/inappropriate behaviour reflects poorly on the organisation that you represent. Having a bad day is really no excuse for casting dispersions on the wider organisation – as has obviously been the case here. I hope this is a once-off.

Devil_n_Disquiz 11:40 am 22 May 09

deezagood. You have summed it up brilliantly in just two words. ‘Common Courtesy’. Something that seems to be lacking these days.

deezagood 11:38 am 22 May 09

I think you are right to be miffed regarding the way that you were treated, especially when you went out of your way to be helpful. Common courtesy should have prevailed and a ‘thanks’ really wouldn’t have hurt. I’m sure the young driver was enormously grateful to you though, especially if she was shaken up by the incident.

I personally have found my (few) interactions with the Feds to be extremely positive; the officers were very polite and considerate. Maybe you just got unlucky … perhaps the officers in question were having an off-day?

Deadmandrinking 11:11 am 22 May 09

Tooks said :

Yeah a thank you would’ve been nice. In answer to your question “is it really worth it?” (helping people), I would say it’s always worth doing the right thing when you’re able to.

Also, in the time it took you to write your lengthy post, you could’ve written to the station involved where the relevant people would’ve read it and responded.

So…he could have written to the station and gotten a forced apology and thanks, which would mean squat, or he could have brought this attitude to the attention of the public, where similar stories have been told, which would mean more people are made aware of this attitude and that it is being discussed by members of the public.

Deadmandrinking 11:06 am 22 May 09

Danman, the fact that this story has brought up similar stories means it is a topic worth discussing.

I understand cops are human, but they do need to understand that they are dealing with people. When people offer assistance, especially in the manner that FC did, where they put their physical safety on the line, they at least deserve to be told they did the right thing, instead of being treated like a criminal.

Otherwise, if this is how people who make sacrifices to help others for no personal gain are treated, then what sort of society are we contributing to making? We do need to understand policing is a difficult job, but cops need to understand that they deal with people in some difficult times.

Tooks 10:58 am 22 May 09

Yeah a thank you would’ve been nice. In answer to your question “is it really worth it?” (helping people), I would say it’s always worth doing the right thing when you’re able to.

Also, in the time it took you to write your lengthy post, you could’ve written to the station involved where the relevant people would’ve read it and responded.

Devil_n_Disquiz 10:53 am 22 May 09


I am aware of the decent coppers in our community. I have dealt with them often. This event was not and is not ombudsman worthy. It was an observation I wanted to share. I’m not looking for pats on the back from random rioters.
However, some kind of acknowledgment at the time of the incident would have been far more appreciative than just being blown off.
Maybe this copper could have patted me on the back and said “Well done you did the right thing” But I would have been happy with a simple “thanks”

Danman 10:26 am 22 May 09

Coppers are people in jobs too, everyone wants them to be everywhere all the time.

I am not denying that they may have treated you untoward, but does RA really need more police bashing..I can assure you that there are a lot of decent coppers in the community who go about their day to day in exceedingly good fashion for years and only get noticed when they stuff up. Like any job really, but becaus ethey are in the public eye, they cop it a lot.

My first step would be consulting the ombudsman, instead you chose to look for strangers on a forum to pat you on the back and say well done, you did the right thing.

astrojax 10:22 am 22 May 09

even in wet conditions (especially in wet conditions!) cars don’t drive themselves, on or off the road. unless the roundabout was adversely affected by some foreign substance (oil, etc) that this young lady couldn’t have foreseen, then of course she is ‘negligent’ and will cop a ticket. what if someone had been waiting to cross the roadway where she ditched the car?

otherwise, i agree that the ‘act policing’ respect for your assistance was well underdone… but don’t try to defend such grossly and obviously negligent driving.

another example where we need, as motorists, to take responsibility. the car didn’t lose control; she did.

TP 3000 9:48 am 22 May 09

You should of told the female cop “yeah this lady was speeding, I was following her & my speedo showed we were doing 600k’s per hour.”

But accident victim, was driving too fast for the conditions & her car may of had some faults. I say this as when my front wheel drive car’s tyres start to loose tread, in the wet the wheels want to keep turning right on a roundabout, while the car body wants to go straight ahead. This is rectified with my slowing right down then normal in the wet.

But heading southbound on Ashley Drive on that Isabella Drive roundabout is quite a sharp turn & if you aren’t careful, you can end up loosing control.

FC 9:44 am 22 May 09

I can understand where you are coming from. You try and help the police out as much as you can, and go out of your way to assist someone in need and provide information regarding an accident and instead of being treated with thanks, you were treated as criminal.
I had a similar experience when I was younger and catching the buses to my friends house on a friday evening I stopped a young girl from being beating up in the interchange. (I intervened and held the people who were hitting her away from her and protected her behind me while I negotiated with them and explained that it wasn’t tough of them to be ganging up on a single person blah blah blah. Now they could have easily attacked me but being naturally tall and the fact that I intervented, maybe they thought I secretly knew karate or something so they didn’t start up with me.
Point of the story:
The police arrived while I was still keeping myself between the girl and the group. They asked what was going on and said “break it up”, by which stage most of the offending group disbanded and I began to exlpain to the officer what had happened. He was shaking his head and didn’t seem to listen to a word I said, instead he acted like I was a trouble maker, involved in a “brawl” instead of a community member who had intervened to protect a young girl. They would have been dealing with a much messier scene if I hadn’t been there so I was pretty annoyed at this. It would have been different if I was still in my work suit and not in my ‘party clothes’.The way he spoke and treated me left me feeling pretty terrible. Anyway the girl was at least thankful.

Moral of the story – this cop was just a self rightous jerk.
He was a cop, yes.
But primarily – he was a jerk.

I think its just dependent on the attitude of each individual policeman you deal with. As in all situations. I’m sure another policeman, another day and we would have both got very different responses.
Don’t be disheartened. Just keep being the helpful citizen you are 🙂

Devil_n_Disquiz 9:35 am 22 May 09

Danman. Ah, my bad. Got the HTFU bit, got the dry my eyes bit. Totally forgot about the classic storm, teacup thing. Thankyou.

PB. Unfortunately the written word can’t show ‘how’ something was said. Believe me this officer was far from polite.

sepi 9:34 am 22 May 09

I’d be annoyed too.

I used to live near some shops and we used to get doorknocked by police asking if we’d seen/heard anything. So they were happy to ask for our help. Yet if we ever rang them to report dodgy goings-on at the shops they were rude and dismissive over the phone and always too busy to repond. I gave up trying.

Good on you for stopping to help out anyway. I”m sure the poor girl appreciates it, even if the police didn’t.

paperboy 9:30 am 22 May 09

Sounds perfectly reasonable to me.

Maybe the police could have asked if the driver was hurt first before asking who was driving, but that’s just a personal view, and they probably have a specific order to work through.

As for their dealing with you, they probably got the cab number, and the female officer seems to have been very polite.

And the third point, you don’t have to be speeding to face a neg driving charge. If you put other people at risk through your driving, the charge sticks.

Danman 9:28 am 22 May 09

storm, teacup, you….

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