Just like Bonnie Tyler, I'm in need of a hero. Not so much writer's block as researcher's block. My rescue can only be secured with the assistance of a member of the British Constabulary - I need a hero!
I've tried my local police station but was met with the voice of civilian officialdom - the receptionist presumably sworn to uphold the privacy of the local officers. I explained my dilemma - I'm working on the new novel and need to check some details with the police to ensure I give an accurate portrayal of events. I'd expected to be asked to wait, or jot down an outline of what I wanted to know - or maybe even get a phone number. No - not a bit of it!
"Your best bet would be to write to the Chief Constable at Surrey Police Headquarters," he said, while his female colleague just stared at me. I should point out that Surrey Police Headquarters is some distance away
"There's no-one I can just talk to?"
"No. The uniform officers are out on patrol. This is a working station."
The place is massive - I can't believe there's no-one to ask. I wasn't planning on a full scale interview - just a few questions and maybe a follow up discussion - or an appointment.
"So there's no one you could just phone and ask?"
"No. Apart from the detectives, they're all out."
A detective is exactly what I need. My heroine has been surprised by an intruder who ends up falling down the stairs and breaking his neck. I want to know what would happen once she notifies the police. I'm pretty sure uniform officers come first, followed by forensics, the pathologist and someone from CID - it's just what happens next that I want to get right.
I persisted but was told to write to the Chief Constable.
"Can I contact someone by email?" I asked.
"The address is on the website." And that was it - someone else came in and I'd apparently ceased to exist.
So I've emailed the customer services address on the website - that was three weeks ago. It's disappointing - advice on writers' websites say that people usually love to talk and it wouldn't take that long. Maybe I'll trek over to HQ and see if I get any further, meantime:
If anyone knows any friendly policemen or women in the UK - I'm still holding out for my hero......
Causes Deja Whitehouse Supports
MacMillan Nurses, Princess Alice Hospices, Cancer Research, Centrepoint (all UK based charities)