Wednesday, April 23, 2008

My first hand experience of Australia Police service

I need to "Applaud" the service of the Australia Police force. It is only up to this day which I can finally understand all the crap jokes from radio stations and papers etc about how they never really do much...

You see, this is my first hand encounter.

I had to get some finger printing done and be mailed overseas. After being well immersed into the "australian" service culture, I am smart enough not to assume anything now, especially if it has anything to improve my quality of time. So before I hoped on a train, I googled and call the downtown station and asked if they indeed provide such a service.

To my "surprise", I was politely informed that I need to get the service from the police station that served my suburban. The fact that I do not drive makes it hassle to go to the "designated" office and so i tried my luck, asking if i could just go to the one in townhall (city area). The response was "No. Otherwise everyone will come to city station and we will have to do the job for other stations." THAT honesty surprises me. So much for "PUBLIC SERVICE" at THEIR convenience. Knowing how "calculative" and clear the line was, I didnt push it and asked for the service charges and other procedures.

Afterall, one must now know, nothing is free in Australia. NO PUBLIC SERVICE is free. I was informed, its costs A$42 for some guy to take my print.

WTF right? $42 for fingerprints? Ok, so i asked if i needed 2 sets, is it $42 for whole process or $42 x2sets. I was told $42 for the whole set. Not willing to believe, i called the station at Rosebay that serves my district and I was informed the same. I was told to bring cash.

The next day, I went to the bus terminal, waited for 40mins for a bus, that brings me to my Rosebay police station. Bus ride = 7mins.

When I went in, the police constable now tell me it cost $42 EACH set, so i have to pay a whopping A$64 for my fingerprints done. All this, just to prove I have no criminal records in singapore and Hong Kong for my visa application.

Great, the story doesnt end there. Being prepared for such australian surprises, i took out A$65. The police guy looked at me and said, "Sorry, we do not have change. It has to be exact." Now, no one told me that when i called the 2 stations.

I dug my wallet and no luck, i didnt have $4 coins. So I asked him "Do you have $5 on u that I can break for change?" The guy didnt even bother to check his wallet and said "No can't do." My annoyance was rising as u can tell. So i asked him if he could check with this non uniformed idling woman behind the table, seeming his boss or colleague. He paused with strained look and said "Its her call." I said "can you check at least?"

The constable asked and without even looking through her bag, she said no without looking up from whatever she was reading. I was pissed. So the constable said "Well you have to come back another day" What the fk right? To him, I have a choice, either i forgo the extra $1, or come back another day. There were no shops nearby. I said tersely " You are not giving me any options are you?" The police guy shrugged his shoulder as if to tell me its really not his job to help me at all.

I walked out, crossed the road and asked the lady waiting for a bus to change my $5 into coins. I absoluetly refuse to be ripped by the police anymore than necessary. In 30 secs, I walked back into the Rosebay Police station. The guy looked almost weary that he finally had to do some work instead of idling under the fan. His stupidity didnt end there by the way.

After taking my fingertip prints, THEN he told me he need to take my palm, the whole fingers print. I was pissed because I had my ring band on and I wasnt going to dirty it. Thanks for advance notice cop! I said, could u help me take off the ring. He went "oops. i didnt realise u had a ring." Great, after holding my hand for the last 5 mins, you didnt even notice such detail even after i told u i was married. What a great sleuth you are. So i said impatiently to him, just use the tape and cover the inked fingers. He didnt get it. I had to DEMONSTRATE to the police guy, on using the tape to tape over my printed finger tip before sliding the ring out. The guy actually went "OOOOOHHHH..that is a SMART IDEA" I rolled my eyes and snapped "Well that was what i was paid to do in my old jobs, solve problems."

As we progressed to the palm, he obviously had problem trying to get the table-taped black ink paper to coverd my palm. Pretty obvious isnt it why. My palm is fleshy and there is a vaccum in the middle part and no matter how hard he tried to press my palm down, the ink wont catch.

I got fed up and without even bothering to explain the solution, i started removing the taped black ink paper off the table. The police guy started protesting and said "no No no...." until i stared at him in the eye, slapped the ink paper onto my palm and PRessed the paper ONTO my palm. Presto. My palm is black with ink. He went "OH" and went quiet. I think I have demonstrated my point pretty clearly. And what pisses me off, I am paying A$64 for a bunch of morons to WATCH me take my prints. Afterthat, it was another 30mins wait for the bus to take me home.

Thanks Australia Police. You really know how to brighten my day. By the way, I google their website and there was absolutely no information on finger print service nor the actual correct cost. I could have been cheated by the police for all i know.

I am not being smug. I am just being disappointed at the service provided, not forgetting the ridiculous charge. When i relate this story to my Oz friends, my guy friend told me. "Day to day, you probably have been lucky to be in contact with the population which is representive of 10% of the ice berg above the water, welcome to the 90% of stupid people below the water."

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