Thursday, October 17, 2013
My students got an official police presentation the other day, and while I knew most of what he said (except that jaywalking is a $66 fine ... not leaving a pub when asked is $550 ... and selling alcohol to minors is $5500), I came to the realization that the Australian 000 is a little more ... relaxed ... than the American 911. It's not that 000 doesn't get you help fast (I've never called, but from what I hear, it does), but that you can call it a bit more liberally. The way the officer phrased it was that if anything bad's currently happening, you can go ahead and call. So, if someone snatches your bag and runs down the street with it, you should definitely call. If you're an employee in a bakery and someone is stealing a donut, you can call. And so on. Maybe these weren't the best examples, but I felt like it was definitely okay to call 000 for much more trivial matters than I had been taught to in America -- where it's strictly for emergencies, and there are penalties for calling in cases of non-emergency. Here, the officer said as long as you're calling in good faith (he did say people calling up to complain about leaves in their driveway was a call they'd received that was not considered an emergency and that was wrong), there aren't any repercussions.