Tab Tries: Getting Arrested

Tom Fraser spends a night at Her Majesty’s pleasure.

For most of us, the enduring experience of Cambridge Police is watching them hover around in high-vis jackets when Cindies gets overexcited.

In case you were curious, this is what happens when you piss them off.

Location: 2 stars

Peterborough: a place that makes prison look quite ok

Due to the high levels of crime in Cambridge that evening the Police were forced to take me to Peterborough Police station. Upon release I realised that the inside of my police cell was probably preferable to the town itself.

Travel: 1 star

my ride

Being bundled into the back of a police van outside a nightclub is not the ideal way to start a trip. I had no seatbelt, no real seat, and no idea where I was being taken.
The music choice of the driver was also abysmal.

Service: 4 stars

Breakfast a la catflap

Upon arrival my belongings were taken remarkably swiftly. Indeed, they even managed to remove my ring, something that I have not managed since. Thankfully the rumours about other forms of ring fiddling did not ring true. I was then shown to my room and given five blankets as opposed to the normal two.
My insistence of my innocence was noted, and with the extra blankets I was rather comfortable. I was also provided with reading materials on request, and handed a fried breakfast through a hatch in my door- you don’t get that in college.

Sleep: 5 stars
A combo of being ludicrously drunk and those extra blankets meant that I had a lovely sleep. The minimalist aesthetic also paid off, and I found the absence of modern day distractions rather therapeutic. The mattress could have been comfier, but I managed to cover up most of the blue plastic mattress cover and thus avoided too much skin-to-plastic contact.

Room: 3 stars

Could be worse

The room was large and airy. It could definitely have been improved by removing the large CCTV camera in the corner, which I must confess was a tad disconcerting. It was, however, larger than my college room, and with a toilet in the corner it was effectively en suite.

Cost: 4 stars
For what was effectively bed and breakfast, I definitely feel that getting arrested was relatively good value. The fifteen hours of mind numbing boredom and fear of conviction – not to mention the missed supervision and a full day of lectures – were perhaps an inconvenience I could have done without, but very few trips in the past have been so easy on the wallet, so I really can’t complain.

Atmosphere: 2 stars

I met all kinds of colourful characters. It was exactly like Orange is the New Black.

My first impression of the place was rather good. A jovial man in a tiger onesie asked the staff if he would be getting his normal room. With a healthy contingent of regulars, who all seemed to be in high spirits, it seemed I was in for a treat.

I also enjoyed the small talk about rugby while my mugshot was being taken. The man was woefully ill-informed but I nodded along to his bullshit so as not to appear rude. I had made it this far without handcuffs, and while I was hoping for the truly authentic police experience, this was one occasion where I was glad not to have been given complimentary jewellery. The interview room was fairly dingy, Taggart-esque in style with hard chairs and few smiles.

Return Journey: 5 stars

They see me rollin

Yes it did take them until 5pm to take me home, but when they did, boy was it in style. I rode shotgun in a police car and had a great chat with the driver. We spoke about travel, his family, the English Defence League and the likelihood of my getting my meerkat t-shirt back that they had taken for testing.

Apparently the police are still needed for EDL rallies even when the antifascists don’t show up due to a penchant for fighting that means they will simply fight each other if no one else arrives. I was allowed to keep the T-shirt they gave me (sadly blue, not stripy), and eventually got my meerkat shirt back! I finished my day with a celebratory viewing of Shawshank redemption and can honestly say that a film has never resonated with me in the same way.

Overall experience: 3 stars

Getting arrested was definitely a once in a lifetime experience, and not one that I would do again. Just as my friend predicted as I was being escorted into the police van, it has surfaced in every game of ‘never have I ever’ since, which also gives me the ‘bad boy’ image I have been craving since arriving at university. Despite this, the free food, and the free clothing, I do prefer to end my nights out with cheesy chips.

Call me boring, but spontaneous trips to police stations are something I will avoid in future.

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