Once or twice a month we (at least I assume it happens to other locksmiths) get a call along the lines of, “I’m abroad at the moment. There are some xs I’ve left in my flat. Will you go and let my friend in so’s he can y them to me.”
I’m afraid we won’t. Like the “constitution” of the UK, the law about what locksmiths can or can’t do isn’t written down. We spend most of our time in an arrestable state. Simply carrying the tools of our trade could be interpreted as going equipped to steal. Carrying a knife of any size is an offense unless it can fold and chop your finger off. (Knives with locking blades, even those shorter than the time-honoured three inches, currently count as fixed blade weapons.) Now of course any citizen of the UK can be arrested at any time for a whole raft of offenses, so we’re used to this. Even if you’ve ensured you have straw under the seat of your taxi, even if you did your archery practice last Sunday, you can still always be arrested for a Breach of the Peace, which means whatever the officer wants it to mean. (OK, I think the straw and the archery laws are no longer on the books, but they were there for a long time.) And of course as of the last few weeks, you can be arrested for photographing anything an officer deems sensitive. I’m slightly astonished that the footage (and photographers) of the events preceding the death of Ian Tomlinson at the recent London G20 protests saw the light of day.
So I’m certainly not going to aid and abet anyone other than the rightful occupant in getting into their premises.
Naturally, there will be occasions when such a request is genuine. There are also occasions where a landlord by any reasonable judgement ought to be admitted to their premises. But I’m afraid the ice gets even thinner in these circumstances and our skates are not light.
What do you think?