By Len A.Hynds

Young PC Chalmers stood on the corner near the Hilton Hotel, watching the limousine chauffeurs being called up from the basement car park, to pick up their employers and ladies waiting to leave from the grand entrance. He could see the Head porter speaking into the tannoy which sounded in the depths below where all those chauffeurs had a rest room, and no doubt had been eating some pretty nice food, apart from the occasional drink.

Young Chalmers had been posted to that particular corner, as the hotel had a special function on that night, the annual grand banquet for judges and their ladies of the criminal court at the Old Bailey.

If only it would stop raining. It was so heavy at times that it ran off his helmet onto his heavy black cape, but he dare not get under cover, as his Inspector could drive past at any time.

A judge whom he recognised and his lady came to the other side of the tall magnificent glass doors, waiting for their car to be brought from the car park below by their chauffeur, but their car never appeared, and the judge’s face became more serious at the delay, as his smile slowly disappeared. He eventually turned and said something to the Head Porter who visibly seemed to shrink at being so addressed by an Old Bailey judge. PC Chalmers watched as the judge turned and left the hotel walking towards the car park basement entrance in all that pouring rain, and thought, “ He’s had enough to drink,” as he saw the judge very slightly stagger. He could not obviously find the drivers rest room, because the judge himself drove his Rolls Royce out of the car park.

The judge went inside and brought out his lady wife, as the chauffeur came running along the pavement, apologising profusely, and after being told off, and his employers getting into the rear passenger seats, he started to drive off.

Young Chalmers stepped into the road and stopped the car, saying to the driver, “You were a long time in bringing the car up, and your boss had to do it himself. Have you been drinking?” The chauffeur nodded, saying, “Only one officer.” Chalmers held the breathalyser close to the chauffeur’s face, saying, “Please blow in this.” As the chauffeur was breathing into the equipment, the rear window lowered and the judge said, “Is there a problem officer?” Saying, “I will speak to you in a moment sir.” And after ensuring that the chauffeur was well within the legal limit for alcohol, he turned to the judge and said, “You also drove the car sir, from the car park, and I saw you stagger slightly when walking towards the car park, so I am justified in asking you to take the breath test also.” The judge’s face grew red as he stared at the officer, but he kept his cool and breathed into the offered equipment.

After studying the result, P.C Chalmers said, “You are just on the verge sir of being over the limit, but I take into account that you did not expect to drive tonight, but must warn you not to carelessly try to do anything like that again. Also there is the question of your licence and insurance. I should issue you with a HORT 1, requiring you to produce them within two days at a police station of your choice. I know that a person in your position could find this extremely annoying, especially if you do have such documents, so taking that into account, I will not issue you with the form, but remember what could happen if you do not have any such documents.” The judge was silently fuming as he prepared to close the window, but his wife stopped him by holding his arm, as she said to Chalmers, “Will you be late home tonight love,” Chalmers replied with a smile towards her, “No mum about eleven I suppose.”

As they drove away, the judge said, “What has that boy become?” She smiled and said, “He is exactly like you, a chip off the old block.”