Yesterday I got a call from Mrs Sane who was out on the road asking me to phone the police for her and tell them that some clever person had lobbed a traffic cone off an island onto the dual carriageway below and that just after the cone was a broken down and the two were causing a danger.
I phoned West Mercia police and asked to be put through to the control room at Telford and they duly put me through to the communications centre in Worcester. I explained which dual carriageway it was (the A442) in Telford and which interchange had the problem.
“Would you say it was Shifnal to Telford or Shifnal to Bridgnorth?” Completely different bit of road, not a dual carriageway and miles away from where I said it was. I explained, yet again, where it was and that it was only a quarter of the way from the police station and that the local police will know exactly where I’m talking about.
“What’s nearby, so I can tell them?” Arrrrgh! I told him to trust me, just to put down what I had told him and the local police who, as I’d just mentioned, were only a quarter of a mile away, would know where I was talking about.
He finally accepted it and after a couple of minutes taking my home address and phone number and asking me if I wanted a reference number for the call I managed to get him off the phone. All in all it took me a good 10 minutes to report a dangerous obstruction on the main arterial route through a busy town at rush hour and all because it’s no longer possible to speak to your local police station thanks to pointless regionalisation of public services.