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

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?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Foundation Teacher

£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Would you like to have a ni...

year 5 teacher

£21000 - £32000 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Would you like to wo...

Maths Teacher

£120 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you an enthusiastic Maths Tea...

Urgently looking for Qualified Teachers and NQT's

£110 - £120 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Urgently looking for Qua...

Day In a Page

Read Next

Palestinian natural resources lie beneath this terrible conflict

Shawan Jabarin

The daily catch-up: heatwave update; duck tape and market socialism

John Rentoul
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform