British cops stopped me in my black BMW not long ago because they suspected I might be a terrorist. I was tailed by their patrol car for more than three miles before they put on the flashing blue lights and made a fog horn sound.
Three officers emerged from a jam sandwich vehicle - so called because of the red stripe running along the body work - and one of them asked me to join him on the south east London pavement. A fair-haired woman constable then told me: "We noticed that you were sticking exactly to the speed limit and then saw a wire in your back window."
She enquired: "What is that wire for?" (see photo) I ventured that it was connected to the heat element in the back window. "Oh," she intoned, before helpfully telling me that: "With all this terrorism stuff going on, we have be careful. You came to our attention because drivers who stick exactly to the speed limit, as you were doing, often have no driving licence or insurance when we pull them over."
The third officer, the shorter of the two men, asked if I had a driver's licence or any documents to identify myself. I gave him my National Union of Journalists press card with its dated, dodgy looking photo which makes me look like Carlos 'The Jackal', the once notorious international terrorist of 1975 onwards.
But the police were too young to remember him. My pride was pricked when the woman officer chided me with the words: "That picture is a bit old isn't it. When was it taken?" I mumbled that I must change it because my tactless partner had said the same thing just a few weeks ago, after I had made an innocent comment about 1990s pics of herself she had put on Facebook.
The officer with my press card sat in the patrol car and radioed my details to someone in the know. Minutes later he usefully confirmed that I was who I'd said. The tall policeman then bashfully reassured me that clearly I was going about my lawful business and apologised for holding me up on my journey. Blue lights flashing again, a wave from the woman officer, and the police sped off to catch a real criminal I hope.