Saturday, August 08, 2009

Police 2.0

Just got back from two weeks working in Barcelona, from where comes this heartwarming story of modern day technology in action...

One of the participants on the course I was teaching was a Chinese bloke from Xi'an ("A small city. Only about 8 million people"). One day while going back to where he was staying he had his pocket picked on the Metro. He felt something but thought nothing off it until he realised, too late, that his wallet was gone. Not only was there a fair aount of cash in it but various other things which were of no little importance. He called a friend and asked what he should do, and whether he should maybe go to the police. To which his friend responded that he could if he needed the report for insurance purposes but otherwise he would be completely wasting his time.

Less than 24 hours later, though, to his (and to be honest everyone else's) surprise, the police sent him an email letting him know that they had his wallet - with everything in, including the cash - and he could come in and collect it.

Apparently two plain clothes policemen had witnessed the initial pickpocketing, and had followed and arrested the thief (with Peng's wallet as incontrovertible proof). So far, so good, but of course they also needed to reunite Peng and the wallet. A wallet which contained some forms of ID but which of course were of no great help in finding him in Barcelona (not to mention that they were all in Chinese anyway). A Chinese speaker in the Barcelona police was found, and having found his name, they eventually located him - on Facebook. From which it was a fairly quick process to get an email to him.

Not only was I extremely happy for Peng that he got all his money and cards and everything back, but I have to say I'm very impressed by the attention to detail and resourcefulness of the Barcelona police force. I guess, deep down, that it's not really all that amazing, but it is one of those things that seems very unexpected, and therefore notable.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have learned to always give the police in a foreign country the benefit of the doubt. However, that being said, if you fall for it once, it's their fault. if you fall for it twice, it's yours. nice!