I used to be a libertarian. But then someone stole my gold clubs.

Wanting the state to intrude less in our personal lives is all well and good until a lack of CCTV cameras lets a man walk off with your prized belongings

Share
Related Topics

How difficult it is to stick to one's firmly held beliefs once the realities of life intrude. I listened to Chris Grayling get tough on burglary and thought that it was little more than a charter for anyone to have a shotgun under their pillow in readiness to blast an intruder to kingdom come.

Similarly, my view of the police has been coloured by recent events. Do they do anything other than have posh dinners with senior members of News International? That is, of course, when they're not in the spa at Champneys, or kettling students, or bungling investigations.

And what have I thought about CCTV? Like all libertarians, I am alarmed by the proliferation of these cameras, believing their ubiquity to be another example of how the State intrudes into our personal lives.

Then yesterday, I had my car broken into. My immediate thoughts ran somewhat contrary to my considered mindset. First, if I had a weapon, I would cheerfully have wielded it – possibly even with grossly disproportionate force – against the person who stole my golf clubs. And second, why the hell was there no CCTV camera nearby to record this violation?

Another preconception was shifted when I began dealing with the police. Unlike my insurance company (who, it seemed, were interested only in telling me what they wouldn't pay, and why they wouldn't pay it), the police couldn't have been more helpful, and were assiduous in making me feel that they took me seriously as a victim of crime, even though, in the wider scheme of things, this was one of the Met's least important investigations.

If I had a weapon, I would cheerfully have wielded it

It turns out, according to the constable who visited me, that the borough in which I live – Kensington & Chelsea – has the lowest number of CCTV cameras of any borough in London. Although it is an area that can well afford a few more cameras, he said, it is also home to many of those who oppose them, either for personal political reasons, or because they feel they're too rich and/or famous to have their movements recorded.

So I was left simply with a Victim Care Card, which explained the next steps of the investigation and pledged to treat me "with dignity and respect". I felt something of an impostor being treated as a "victim", given the relatively trivial nature of this crime, but this direct experience did make me question my overriding feelings about the police.

I have always admired those who stick to their principles even in the face of terrible personal tragedy – the parent whose child has been murdered, yet who speaks of compassion and understanding and not simply revenge – and yet, here was I, in the face of a minor infraction, prepared to compromise my beliefs.

I suppose that's what life teaches you: don't box yourself into a corner with your views, and if you do, be prepared to stick with them come what may. In the meantime, if anyone offers you a set of golf clubs with my name on them, you know where to come. Have a nice weekend, and, as my police officer might have said, be careful out there.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Technical Author / Multimedia Writer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This recognized leader in providing software s...

Recruitment Genius: Clinical Lead / RGN

£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: IT Sales Consultant

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...

Recruitment Genius: Works Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

I don't blame parents who move to get their child into a good school

Chris Blackhurst
William Hague, addresses delegates at the Conservative party conference for the last time in his political career in Birmingham  

It’s only natural for politicians like William Hague to end up as journalists

Simon Kelner
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent