The other day I saw a police woman speaking to a man in the street. She was asking him about something that had happened just down the way and taking notes in her book.
Now, I know from experience that police officers often have to take down information in their pocket books. This isn’t just notes – it’s vital information that could one day be used in court as evidence. That’s right, it’s something that could eventually lead to somebody being sent to jail or going free.
That’s why everything that’s written in those pocket books has to be 100 per cent accurate. Officers might have to refer back to their pocket books up to a year after they wrote in it, by which their recollection of the event will have faded, and they can’t rely on their notes to trigger parts of their memories.
This is where shorthand could be incredibly useful for the police force. With an accurate system of note-taking they would be able to record long statements from witnesses at a crime scene. This could then be used when that person or another suspect is interviewed at the police station.
In a busy and stressful situation, police officers are likely to forget things that were said outside by the time they return to base. But with detailed shorthand notes in their notepads and pocketbooks they could refer back to what was said. This might then give them new ideas for lines of questioning. It could even lead to a breakthrough in a case.
So if you thought that shorthand was just for journalists, think again. It can be used in any walk of life.