AS a child, did you think you might be arrested for the most trivial of things? Here’s why a distant siren put the fear of God into you.
Stealing a sweet
Once, while you were in the newsagent’s buying a copy of Look-in, you stuck a penny chew down your sock when the shopkeeper wasn’t looking. On the way home you saw a police car, and were so scared they’d come for you that you wet yourself a bit.
Riding on the pavement
Practising rudimentary bunny hops and fakies on your Raleigh Burner carried the threat of being stopped by the police. Fleeing the scene was pointless as they could call a helicopter, so your only legal avenue would have been to claim you couldn’t ride on the road because you hadn’t passed your cycling proficiency test.
Records used to carry the Home Taping is Killing Music logo, so getting your mate to tape you a copy of Thriller carried with it a whiff of danger. In reality, the police had much bigger fish to fry and were strangely more concerned about burglars, murderers, armed robbers and the IRA.
When you discovered your parents’ stash of weird alcoholic drinks people gave them as souvenirs from foreign holidays, you grabbed a bottle with the aim of drinking it in the park with your friends. It’s probably for the best you chickened out, scared a local busybody would phone the police, just to avoid advocaat-coloured vomit all down your sweater.
You watched a cheery movie double-bill of Threads and When The Wind Blows with your politically aware older brother, prompting your dad to jokingly label you ‘CND communists’. The thought that you may have committed treason, along with nightmares about the nuclear apocalypse, resulted in your worst night’s sleep ever.