Prodigious Gift Fail

In relation to my post from a few days ago on an odd strategy police in England recently employed to decrease the number of residential burglaries, blogger Angelcel sent me this story also from the UK:

Police broke down a family's front door after mistaking their home for a drugs den - then handed them a bottle of beer as an apology.

Officers smashed their way into Kayleigh Hill and Anthony McVey's home in a dawn raid while they slept.

When 23-year-old ex-soldier Anthony went to investigate he was forced to get on the floor with his hands above his head - as his frightened children Kyle, two, and six-month-old Kiara screamed.

He said yesterday: "There were loads of police and they were shouting at me 'Stand back, put your hands behind your head, get on the floor, do not move'.

"I was naked at the time and so I said I was just going to put my boxer shorts on but they ran after me and held me against a wall.

"I was shaking, wondering what on earth they thought I had done. They asked me my name and when I told them they all looked at each other and realised they had the wrong place."

It later emerged the suspect had moved out of the flat in Dibden Purlieu, Hants, months earlier.

Police returned later in the day and gave Anthony and Kayleigh a single £1.79 bottle of lager and a bunch of flowers plus Easter eggs for the kids.

Kayleigh, 19, said: "They just said they were really sorry, that they felt guilty and that we were good people.

"I thought the bunch of flowers was OK but Anthony said it was funny about the beer because he doesn't drink.

"I'm really mad at them for frightening us the way they did when in fact they just got it all wrong."

Hampshire Police admitted its apology "could have been better".

A spokesman added: "It fell rather short. We put up a temporary door on the same day and we will repair or replace the original door."
Rather than discuss the mistaken entry (despite safeguards in the US, this still periodically happens here--and usually generates civil litigation against authorities), I was curious about the selected gift.

Do you think it was an executive decision made later at the pub to send a family, still recovering from being scared to death by police, one beer (to a non-drinker at that), flowers, and some Easter eggs?

I hope those responsible for the selection of presents are still running laps around the precinct building.

Authorities can take solace that their "gift" could have been worse: like perhaps deodorant for the husband and a bathroom scale for the Mrs.


Matthew Rush said...

Even though this is a terrible experience for the victims I'm sure I can't help but chuckle a little bit at the gift of the beer.

At least the police made a gesture at all, I doubt that would ever happen here in the states.

Thanks for sharing Slam Dunks!

Shameless self promotion:

If you have time please stop by, read and comment on my guest post for today over at Justine Dell's blog:

It's an interesting topic that will hopefully spark some discussion.


Audrey Allure said...

Haha, well it definitely could have been worse, but at least they did send them gifts to apologize instead of just saying sorry and leaving it at that.

AB HOME Interiors said...

I agree with Audrey, but I think I would pass out if someone mistook my home as a drug den!

J. J. in Phila said...

I do understand that mistakes happen; this was quite common in Philadelphia for a while.

I was, however, impressed that the police:

1. Apologized immediately.

2. Repaired the door quickly.

3. Offered something tangible, at least the same day.

That often times did not happen in Philadelphia.

Tara said...

Ditto to J.J!

Such an interesting blog you have here. I'll definitely be back :)

Herding Cats said...

Wow. Seriously? I'd be so pissed if I was the victim. I don't know that ONE can of beer quite covers it.

Bob G. said...

The door gets fixed, the people get some Watney's Red Barrel (hopefully, 'cause that's a great Brit beer), some very apologetic officers, some news coverage...

Not bad for being erroneously accosted by the GOOD guys.

They call it software FILE UPDATES for a reason, don't they?

Now...about those SEASON tickets to WEMBLEY...and that Range

suzicate said...

What a horrible experience for that family! I suppose the gesture of gifts was nice but the selection odd, but don't don't how they could possibly make up for the trauma they endured.

My Husband's Watching TV... said...

I would totally be freaking out if this was me and I would have sent the beer back and asked for a Reese's egg or two instead.

James (SeattleDad) said...

That's hilarious really. One beer? They should have sent no less than a case to begin with. even if he didn't drink.

Momma Fargo said...

I could use the beer. Right now I am out. LOL.

Wow. Glad that wasn't me...on the police end of it that is.

terri said...

I'm thinking that those responsible for the apology gifts did NOT seek a woman's advice ;-)

Beth said...

That's crazy. I'm pretty sure that doesn't make up for the trauma that was caused. Imagine trying to explain to those kids what happened.

Ann T. said...

Dear Slamdunk,
I must tell you I don't understand this crazy policy at all--even after your first post that explained it!

I think the same toper that sent over the beer made up the policy!

Either that, or somebody drinks beer in that house that isn't admitting it,

Ann T.

Jayne said...

It does all seem a little Keystone Cops and we were having a good giggle at it, until it struck us that really it wouldn't be funny at all if it happened to us! I still can't help but see the funny side however and I must say, I like your alternative gift suggestions! :D

gladwellmusau said...

This one made me laugh and sad at the same time. Let's just say...its the power of assumption and oversimplicity at play here. For one, its not obvious after a brief encounter with a strange to know where they drink or what their religious beliefs are. Hence the apology seems inappropriate and awkward in itself. I am not good at gifts but flowers and a card could have done the trick. And yes...sweets/goodies for the kids!



imbeingheldhostage said...

That list of gifts is hilarious... the story about the man being humiliated in front of his kids is not. That is terrible! Thanks for posting this.

Slamdunk said...

It is interesting to read so many comments that disagreed with my assertion that this was a major gift fail. Thanks everyone for providing me with some different perspectives.