8. Cop a load of these bastards

London police almost daily put up road blocks for despatch riders. In important thoroughfares like Newgate street, Soho square or Pall Mall the police would stop and harass all couriers while allowing other traffic to pass freely.

This is very frustrating and time consuming and costs couriers money because they are delayed and miss jobs. Officially the road blocks are to check road worthiness of motorbikes hence the euphemism “Free MOT’s”, but the police use the checks to search for other things e.g. drugs, tax disks, immigration etc and generally to assert their nagging authority over couriers.

The funny thing is, that through the courier grapevine, via the radios, within minutes of a road block being set up hundreds of couriers know about it and avoid it like the plague. This will leave. the hapless rozzers scratching their helmets at the road blocks and saying to themselves, “This is strange, usually there are loads of couriers down this road.”

John: cyclists too were stopped and bike frame numbers checked against a stolen list. This caused resentment as most cycle couriers have at least two bikes stolen in as many years, yet the police make no effort to recover them. I caught a couple of kiddies trying to nick my bike one day, I scared them off and said to a passing copper that he ought to keep his eyes open: “No point, “he replied.

On the pretext of checking for stolen cycles the police also searched couriers for drugs. Myself and a couple of others at First Courier were plotted up (waiting) at Bow Church Yard in the city, when plain clothes coppers swooped down on us, (well sort of), and before we knew it they had us face against the wall assuming "the position" and were saying things like, "I see you smoke tobacco, what else do you smoke?"

After terrorist attacks around Westminster, couriers were unable to plot up around the area; when they did they weren't simply moved on. I’d stopped on the corner of The Mall and Birdcage Walk, which runs behind Downing Street. This is just minutes from the West End or SWI. I’d been there an hour waiting for a job, and a copper had been walking up and down opposite me for some time. He kept looking over, I could hear his brain slowly churning over so I started to stare at him. Eventually he came over and searched my despatch bag, while eyeing my bike suspiciously. Then he asked why I had a radio. I was tempted to say it was for launching lorry mounted mortars but I think he would have believed me. As luck would have it a job came across the radio, so I just rode off