I have been trying to speak to a representative of London's Merton Borough Police today.
My efforts have been thwarted at every turn.
First, I called the main switchboard and asked for Merton Borough's press officer.
I was immediately put through to an answer phone with the helpful message:
"This is Officer Fictitious' phone, please do not leave a message on this answer machine, my new number is 00000."
I don't think it really matters, for sake of this blog, what the real names and numbers are but the message is pretty much word for word.
So I called the new number and got a message saying 'this number is no longer in use'.
I called the switchboard back, explained, and they put me through to the same answer phone again...and again.
I tried asking for different people but, as soon as I said press or journalist, the big red button was pushed and my call was sucked into the telecommunications equivalent of the basement at the bottom of the dark stairs, where only cobwebs and skittering things abide.
Eventually someone at the national press office actually spoke to me and gave me the number of the South London press officer, who, you guessed it, was unavailable.
At least I was able to leave a message on her answer machine. What do you think the chances of her getting back to me are?
So I am going to try again, and probably again and again to get a comment from anyone in the police.
And I am not even asking about anything controversial or detrimental to the Police's reputation.
Gotta love the boys in blue, so helpful, open and approachable.
Oh well, back to the phone-calls. Wish me luck.