Any long-term readers of this blog will know that I have an uneasy and often difficult relationship with the police. I’ve been warned about shouting bomb, told to control myself, and I’ve even struggled not to smack their bums.
So it came as something of a shock this morning to find myself in a conference room full of police. Don’t worry though. It wasn’t because I’d finally said the wrong thing at the wrong time – I was in fact delivering Tourettes awareness training to CID officers from the Hate Crimes Unit.
An extremely friendly officer drove Leftwing Idiot and me to a nearby police station in an unmarked car. She had some trouble getting my wheelchair into the boot and ended up having to put the parcel shelf in the front passenger seat.
“Make sure you don’t get stopped with it like that,” joked Leftwing Idiot.
“I’m a fed, I can do anything I like” she joked back.
We had some technical difficulties getting their equipment to work properly but as most of my presentation involved me talking (and ticcing) this didn’t cause much of a problem. It did nothing to stop my nerves, even though, after my TEDx talk at the Royal Albert Hall recently, I feel a lot more confident about speaking to large groups of people.
Police do worry me and they certainly have a unique way of setting my tics off, but by being able to acknowledge this and share the humour with them, it felt much easier. The presentation seemed to go down well and the feedback was positive.
I told them at the start I’d know whether it’d been a success by whether I’d been arrested or not. So it was a relief that on the way out, when they said they might want me to come back, it would be to share the training with other units – and not for ‘further questioning.’
As we drove back to the castle I felt really pleased that the police I spoke to today were receptive and open to learning more about Tourettes. With a bit of luck this’ll help them to be more understanding when they come across noisy superheroes squealing and trying to smack their backsides.
If you’ve had any interesting or difficult experiences with the police, please feel free to share them below.