Monday, October 10, 2005

Don't Shake Their Hand

Over the weekend I went out to dinner with a group of parents from my daughter's school. As we sat chatting I spoke with one particular parent who works as a Special Constable. Our conversation consisted of having little digs at each other in terms of Clients being apprehended by the Police and me doing my utmost to defend them. We did not agree on much.

There was one subject that the did agree on, and that was no one should ever shake the hand of a person detained at the Police Station unless the person greeting the detained person is wearing rubber gloves.

The Special Constable explained to me one of her recent experiences whilst working in an Essex town during the late hours of a Friday night. She stated that she had arrested a female for drunk and disorderly and this person had been handcuffed and placed in a Police van (affectionately known to the passengers as a meat wagon). The Special Constable then left the female under the supervision of another Police Officer and returned within a number of minutes to find the female masturbating in the back of the van! The handcuffs were quickly moved from being at the front of the female to the rear.

I then told the story of a colleague. My firm had received a call about one of our regular Clients one night who was to be interviewed in the morning. We were warned on the telephone that the Client was acting a bit mental and had also been arrested for criminal damage as he had daubed excrement around his cell. My colleague who attended at the Police Station made the fatal error of walking in to a consultation room and then shaking the hand of this Client without even questioning whether the Client had washed his hand or not!

Despite the fact that a welcoming firm handshake can act as a very good introduction to inspire confidence in Clients it is rarely a good idea to do it unless you know what they have been doing with their hands.

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