Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Visit to the Police Station.

Back in school days we wrote so many essays on visit to here and there and what not but imagine a visit to a Police station. If i wrote one essay back in school days and i write it now, there won't be any connection.
Okay puzzles off. Actually last week I visited a Police station for the first time here in the Netherlands. And first thing i could thought of was just the vast difference !

Being there felt more like standing at the reception of some hotel or at some service center for some inquiry.
Ohh wait, before there are some speculations on why we were there let me clarify to make it some sense.

5th May - Libration day holiday. (Only once every 5 years and this year being that lucky one). We were at SpuiMarkt, Den Haag. There was a big open air concert going on at same place but we didn't spend much time there. When we came back to underground parking lot after a few hours, front number plate of car was missing. We were not sure if we were allowed to drive without one and unsure where and how we lost it!
So we had some knowledge enhancement
1. We were allowed to drive as long as back number plate was alright.
2. Back number plate is more important than front one.

As soon as we were out of parking at the first turn we came across police who signaled us to stop. Before they say anything we tried explaining and before we explain that we already informed police and from here we were directly going to Police Station in our town he interrupted us with that's later first Alchohol test ....yeah that open air concert i mentioned, remember? which meant lots of beer flowing and also driving after drinking !

People you are allowed to drink, but you are not allowed to drink and drive and hurt yourself or someone else.

After the test he listened to our story and surprisingly he was too cool about it, saying not a big deal, it keeps happening but we need to go to Police Station and report. And that is for our own safety as if its not lost and stolen you have a proof and you can be out of any unpleasant experiences. Agreed.

So that is how we were there... got the story now?

Now imagine standing at a police station, what will you imagine? If i hadn't been here, from my past experience i will expect some noises, some criminal, some authority voices and a kind of atmosphere which makes you feel to run away from there at the first possibility.
But here, it was no where near to my image of Police stations from my experience back home. There was a big nice sitting / waiting area on the left side as we entered and a photo of queen in the front wall. On the right side there were desks like you will see at any reception. There were 2-3 people sitting behind those desks in their uniform behind the computer screens.

They listened to us, took all the required data, put into system and printed a report.
The police officer who was mainly communicating with us started chatting with us afterwards and we chatted about almost whole world. If it was possible we would have estalished the world peace and harmony after that discussion...haha
We talked about languages, difficulties about learning languages, mother/root languages like Latin or Sanskrit, Problems with India, edge which India has over other asian countries, how British colonisation helped India, IT in world and IT in India, technical education and scopes, humanism, gods, how one god or no god and only believing in one another will help whole world ! whooaaa...so you got the idea !
In the case, If you noticed more peace and harmony prevailing around you in last week don't forget to thank us ! hehe

But seriously, it felt like talking with a friend, a long lost friend. After sometime suddenly all of us realised why were we there and we came back to the real world. He explained us all the formalities (which was nothing, just contact your dealer with a copy of that report and they will take care of everything from insurance to new number plate)
And yes, now we know what those superceded small 1 or 2 on number plates mean !

When we left we were smiling and I couldn't help but to linger upon the difference what i saw here and what i grew up with !
In India, job in police department is more about "power" (which unfortunately not all can handle very well) while here it is more about "service". It is all about helping people and that is very clear from ambiance, smiles and friendliness of people.

I know everyone is not same, and all policemen here might also won't be same or like him but i would like them to, we liked him !


EFRUTIK said...

That's definitely a different opinion than I have gathered of policemen. In Russia when where I grew up, police is brutal and mostly corrupt, underpaid, and immoral at best (my personal opinion, however harsh). In US, where I currently live, it is a bag of mixed apples. Although, even here I don't get a sense of a lot of comfort when seeing a police officer, well depending on which area of location that is that feeling changes. However, neither there nor here police stations are glamorous! Glad you guys had an easy time though.

Thank you for visiting and well wishes. I am getting better :)

Anonymous said...

In SG also, I always hv pleasure dealing with govt. Agencies n govt. Employees which surprises pleasantly to me. This pleasantness is bcos of the pathetic service we get from govt. Agencies.
More surprising for me to read that u talked with officer on everything that can be talked on earth. :)

dipali said...

unfortunately all are not same..but u had a sweet experience.......in india its really about superiority and power.......we wont dare to talk to them......hopfully we can see india in this picture

amy said...

Police in the Netherlands do a good job of representing the famed tolerant Dutch attitude. I know that when my boyfriend visited Belgium alone for the first time and approached some Belgian officers to ask for directions, he was treated like a criminal! Being Dutch, he was used to police who are happy to help people, but I guess the Belgian guys were on a power trip.

~ Lopa said...

Yes, different than even opinion i had gathered so far. In India also its similar.. . underpaid, often corrupt.
Once even i had faced traffic police and he was as nice as well. So now i know i need not to run away seeing them...hehe

I am glad that you are feeling better now :o)

~ Lopa said...

@ krunalc 

Good that SG also has nice environment at Govt offices and agencies. So we can think about moving there when we feel we are done with the European life ;)
Yes, it even surprised us, i guess may be he was bored and was happy to have someone finally to talk with ! haha

~ Lopa said...

@ dipali 
Yes, all are not same but atleast if majority is like that, imagine how simple and easy life can be ! :o)

~ Lopa said...

@ amy 

Ohh... So much difference in 2 adjacent counties and both speaking same language.
Even when we were in Brussels we were surprised by number of police, police sirens on roads and the way they were treating those whom they catch on road doing something they shouldn't be ! There can be milder ways when there is nothing that serious.

Orangesplaash said...

Well, I will keep checking my car number plate more often now :) Havent had any experiences with the police in either country so cant exactly comment except from what you hear and see about them. There is surely a lot of difference culture wise.

sagarika said...

Something similar happened with me 2 years back. Accompanied a friend to the police station for her journalism project. Was against the idea of stepping into the place due to the picture I had in mind about India police stations..hehe..but it was totally different...Came across few handsome police man too :P

Guess every Indian has the same feeling about our police stations....

AmitL said...

Very nice,Lopa-from being a tense moment, it must've moved to a relaxed tete-a-tete at the police station.-here's hoping the police in the rest of the world,specially in our country, well,some of them at least become so service-oriented soon...miracles can happen,you know.:)

Swatantra said...

Very nice!! Great to know about the experience..

A Touch of Dutch said...

Thanks for sharing this! It's interesting to read about your experience! I've been to the police station as well in NL, and, like you, felt surprised by the entire atmosphere. Fortunately my experience of going to the station also was due to nothing extreme, so I was able to take it all in with a relaxed mood. It certainly is different than the overall atmosphere in an American police station, which I also have only seen thankfully in a relaxed mood.

~ Lopa said...

@ Orangesplaash 

hahaha but isn't it true...when we park the car we just come out and walk we don't look back at the number plate... so even if it's missing how are we suppose to know until it's parked in a way that's the first thing we notice !

~ Lopa said...

@ sagarika 

hehehe yeah, handsome police men, how nice is that...hehe

I have some nice funny memories too which got alive by your this mention. When we were in engineering, we took industrial training at refinery and there they had police patrolling around refinery. There were some nice uncles kind of police man who will always offers us ride from one plant to other as there were hardly any girls in the plant so they were always very concerned about us, and there were these few handsome young police men, whenever we see them passing in the jeep, we will stand aside and they will just look at us as if they didn't see us but we will spot a faint smile inside them and they wont stop for us ! haha
It was everyday scene for whole duration, kind of fun ! :oD

~ Lopa said...

@ AmitL 

Ohh yes, very relaxing, i infect felt like why were we standing there and chit-chatting we shall move to some cafe with a cup of coffee...hehe

I truly believe miracles can happen and they will just matter of time.

Problem in India is population, poverty and illiteracy, with them going down rate of miracles will start shooting up too ;o) I hope.

~ Lopa said...

@ Swatantra 

Hey Swatantra, after a long time... thanks, nice to see you here :o)

~ Lopa said...

@ A Touch of Dutch 

I haven't been to American Police station, but whatever seen on Tv and read i have an image but not sure how true it is. I think in America also it's because of burning problem of terrorism which makes them behave not as relaxed while dealing with other as here.

My Dutch colleagues certainly don't like American traffic police, They keep complaining how they treat us like criminals only for a few miles of speeding with all hands up and on your back stuff ...hehe I don't have any first -hand experience though !

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