12 SEPTEMBER 1963, Page 9

Nothing Doing

Back in London I made a polite, self-con- trolled telephone call to the police station. A day or two later I came home in the evening and found the head of the local CID in the sitting- room, taking down from my wife's dictation a list of the things the villains had thought worthy of their attention. He put away his notebook, slapped his knees, announced that he was going to be frank with us, said that the situation was impossible, that almost every second house in our district had been burgled in August, that there were no uniformed men to put on the beat, that he himself was hopelessly burdened with paper work, that such a case as ours could have no priority at all, that the police had no co- operation from the public, that nothing could or would be done, and that householders, if they had any sense, would put portable articles of value in the bank whenever they went away and leave all desks, filing cabinets and interior doors open. I see his point, of course, but don't look forward to the day when we come back to find that the villains have been along at dead of night with a van and removed all furnishings, hard and soft. (There was just such a case 200 yards away six weeks ago.) We need neither moralist nor theologian to point out to us in London the evil of possessions.