In the summer of 1981, I sneaked out of my parents’ home in Altrincham to sit on the wall of a churchyard and have a smoke. A police car roared up. The officer ordered me to get indoors and stay there. You will find this hard to believe, but I was an argumentative young man. I replied that the police had no right to order a British citizen to do anything when he was not committing a crime or – and I added this caveat carefully – giving the constabulary reasonable grounds to suspect that he might commit a crime.
The copper lunged at me.