My elderly neighbour comes to see me this afternoon, looking like he's had a shock. It turns out that during a shopping trip to Sainsburys, some builder type in a pickup truck got angry with him for not giving way even when my neighbour had priority, and got out of his truck and threatened to smash his face in. That's a bit off, given that my neighbour is 4 years older than dirt. He asks me what he should do about it, and I tell him there's only one thing to do - go to the police.
So off to the police station we go, me driving because he's too shaken up, him clutching the bit of paper that his wife had written down the orangutan's reg number on.
We get to the station and he tells the woman behind the counter that he wants to make a report of some threatening him with physical assault, to which she asks:
"And are you taking the threat seriously or do you think maybe he was joking?"
WTF, I think to myself, who comes to a police station to tell about a "joke" threat? My neighbour replies that he's taking it very seriously. He tells the woman what happened, that the man jabbed him in the face with his keys and said twice that he was going to smash his face in.
Then, the woman asks, again, "So are you saying you want to take the threat seriously rather than just a joke or a throwaway comment?".
At this point I lose it a little as it's clear she's hoping that by persuading my neighbour not to go ahead with the complaint she can save herself some typing, and I reply for my neighbour:
"I don't understand your question, what is it about a threat of physical violence that YOU think can be treated as a joke!?!"
"But but but... he said he doesn't know the man who threatended him so I I I..." she stammers, realising we're on to her little game.
"And I don't know YOU either" I reply, "but if I were to say to you that I'm going bash you, would you laugh it off? No, you'd press your alarm button and in 30 seconds I'd have 6 police officers lying on top of me trying to bend my arms in direction they don't go. So, where's the joke element in what my friend is explaining to you?!"
Finally, she pulls her keyboard towards her and actually starts taking down some details. What a numpty.
(We're still waiting for the police to come round and actually take a proper interest, BTW).