Saturday, 31 January 2009

An unexpected thing.

This is so difficult to explain to people.

I went to a sudden death about a week ago, 80+ year old lady who passed away in front of family members. Paramedics called and unfortunately pronounced that she was life extinct. We were called as per normal for a sudden death. After arriving and re-assuring the family that just because the police were there, they had no cause for concern.

The lady was very old, had been very ill and had only been allowed out of hospital a few days ago. The family were devastated. It was a large family, her oldest grand daughter was her primary carer and had moved with her own family to live with her. Her oldest daughter lived next door and was at the scene. Normally we turn up, ascertain that there are no suspicious circumstances and request the removal of the deceased to the mortuary. In this case all of her nine children were on their way to the address to see her at home for one last time. These were nice people, a rarity where I work and worthy of some empathy. It took two and a half hours for all of her grown up children to arrive and we waited outside despite numerous calls asking why we were delayed from the control room.

After satisfying ourselves that nothing dubious had occurred the grand daughter asked if she could arrange her gran to look more dignified as her death throes and the paramedics had made a bit of a mess. As this would be the last time her family would see her in her home I agreed. She thanked me profusely, offered to make me another coffee, which I refused and went to clear the mess. Normally you should ensure the deceased is undisturbed but I just had a "feeling" that this was right.

Eventually all the family had paid their respects and I requested that the on call funeral directors attend. I had explained the whole procedure about the removal of the deceased and the calls they had to make to the coroner. I really went out of my way to help these people. When the funeral directors arrived they were formally dressed and exuded an air of professionalism that really assisted in the upset of the day for this family. I am grateful to them.

As she was taken on the trolley from the house to the van I gave the family my details and told them that if they had any questions I finished at X PM and they could contact me any time.

I was astounded today to find a sealed letter to me containing a personal request had been left at the station asking if I could attend the funeral along with my colleague as we had supported the family so much on the day. This has never happened to me before and doubt that it ever will again. I am on duty at the time of the ceremony but will move heaven and high water to go.

Not sure that the three hours we spent on the day will greatly impact on crime figures but inwardly gives me a greater glow than any PWITS/GBH even murder arrest that I have ever made. I only met this family at the time of great sadness and loss to them but they remembered me. What other job do you get this from?

Friday, 30 January 2009

Incase you were wondering.

Just to explain the photo in my profile.

I am singly crewed on a Sunday afternoon at about half past one in the afternoon. An IRIR comes in about a domestic between mother and son at an address. I am the only patrol available and subsequently call up for the job. Blue lights and everything on the way and as I turn into the road there is a male on my right on the pavement. I at scene as I turn into the road (can't forget to hit the tag) and all of a sudden there is an enormous crash as the driver's window gets smashed and I feel something tear the sleeve of my shirt. I quickly re-assess and see that there is a young lad with a mace still swinging it looking where to strike next. I'll be honest I'm covered in broken glass and not entirely sure what has happened, another bang and thankfully the windscreen has stood up but what is going to happen next? I drive towards the subject (on the pavement) and he jumps over a garden wall to avoid being run over. I get out and challenge him (figure the words out yourself) and he then produces a knife and a crowbar. These are both decorated in various colours of insulation tape similar to the mace in the picture.
He continues trying to swing the mace at me it has various screws and nails sticking out of it and I decide that I need some help. I try to do this without the orange panic button but am getting drowned out by other radio traffic. I press it and explain the situation. I am re-assured that help is on the way. The male continues to walk backwards issuing threats and challenges towards a busy main road. Once on the road the situation changes. There are other MOP's on the pavement and I am screaming at them to move out of the way. One clown in a car slows down and the passenger produces a mobile phone and starts filming this (still can't find it on Youtube). I can now hear sirens in the distance and know that the gang are on the way. We walk for about another 2-300 yards with me communicating tactically all the way. All the possible police response options are explained and how much better it would be to just give up. Guess what, he didn't. Eventually other patrols arrive and to cut a long story short he was surrounded. He started circling to get an escape route and once when he had his back to me, in the best home office approved method, I struck him to his right leg at the same time 3 colleagues let go with C.S. Work out if you can who also got a dose. Snotting and with eyes streaming I see the male being handcuffed and aftercare being administered. I then realise that there is a fully liveried police car still running in the street with a broken window and more importantly my cigarettes are still inside it. A late comer to the job secures the car and thankfully it is still there along with my cigarettes.
A brief smoke later and off to custody. As we both stand in the holding cell with red eyes and the adrenaline wearing of he says words to the effect that he is sorry and it all started with an argument with his mum. It then becomes apparent that this is the son in question in the original job. This had been forgotten by me (for obvious reasons) and the radio room, it all was made clear then and things made sense. The mum was safe and well and the son locked up for S.4 POA, off weapon and crim dam. Charged with all three and received some sort of silly referral order in court. All jolly worthwhile, not.
It makes me wonder why the country is in the state it's in.
Just as a disclaimer I do not endorse smoking and yes the appropriate form was subsequently filled in.
This post should hopefully explain to people just how fluid a seemingly routine call can be. If subjects similar have been posted previously then I apologise but I do still squeak when typing as I am still new to this.

Saturday, 24 January 2009

How loud do you have to cry for help?

Picture the scene if you will,
it's a Friday morning in the spring at about 7 in the morning. I am in the parade room with the rest of the crew. The airwaves springs to life with the usual " a patrol please able to make to" a pause and then "oh my god, a patrol able to make to xxxxx cemetery, report of a female in the ground digging a grave up and there are chunks of wood coming out the ground".

Responding to this call with blue lights and everything, turn them off once inside in the grounds and after the caller has been phoned back directed to the right area of the cemetery. Sure enough there is a female in a hole in the ground with a shovel with bits of wood around her. How do we approach this one?

Casually stroll up to her and introduce ourselves. It transpires that the poor soul has recently had her 2 children taken from her due to mental health issues. We get that out of the way whilst she furiously continues digging. Eventually she pulls a plastic bag from the grave and shouts "I've got you back mum". Sideways glance at colleague and the reality of the situation dawns. Here we have a lonely female who's life has been turned upside down. She clutches the plastic bag and says that she is taking her mum back home where she belongs. There is nothing worse than taking remains from consecrated ground other than the issues of getting them back there. It is still one of the most serious offences that can be committed in the UK.

For 20 minutes we try and reason with this person about her actions but all to no effect. Once it has become apparent that speech alone won't work, action is required. Slowly approaching her we tell her that this can't happen. She instinctively ducks and backs against a nearby wall still clutching the bag of ashes. She turns away from us briefly and when she turns back she has a razor blade in her hand and starts slicing her arms and hands. She is urging her deceased mother to feel the warm blood and come back. My colleague gets close enough to her to try to stop this madness but is rewarded with a swipe and a slash to his left arm. I draw my baton and prepare to strike the arm holding the razor blade. I can't remember which it was. She huddles down continuing to hurt herself and it quickly becomes apparent the baton will be ineffective. In her confused state she has already injured my colleague and is still cutting herself. CS is drawn and a single burst sends her from her hunched position to the floor dropping the razor blade in the process. She is secured and the awaiting ambulance then approaches to administer help. The remains of her mum are secured in the chapel of rest awaiting re-internment. No really bad offences have taken place.

The female is subsequently sectioned under 136 and taken to hospital. The usual process follows, quite quickly this time as she is not drunk. The end result she is allowed to leave in the afternoon back to her empty house with the promise of a follow up visit from a CPN on the Monday. She is a different person on the journey home with bandages on her arms quietly apologising for all the trouble she has caused. She is dropped off at home and a quick evaluation of the house and her follows. The house is clean and tidy and the children's bedrooms are spotless but empty, as is her departed mother's. She has no family in the area and no friends she is close enough to with whom to talk. How bleak a weekend is she going to face?

I have sectioned many people but never in such upsetting situations as this. The crisis teams certainly have work cut out for them but I genuinely feel that in this situation they got it wrong.

The person in question later succeeded in taking her own life a month later and was found dead on her mother's grave. I know I did what I could to help her but the rest of the system stinks. How loud do you have to cry for help? The sad thing is I can't remember her name.

You couldn't make it up could you?

Why bother?

In a different part of the country, how can this be real? How do we cope with this on a day to day basis? Would love to add a picture but not that clever yet!

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Ermm, first post not nervous at all!

At 7 AM on Monday we were told that the old forms we had to fill in at domestics were no longer valid. A "DC" from the domestic unit arrived with a big box full of the new form, VPRF 1. Vulnerable Person Reporting Form 1. In all of it's 9 pages it never once mentions a verbal argument only and then refers me to the Domestic Abuse Policy. His last words were "don't shoot the messenger". This warranted further investigation.

I check this policy and fail to see how Jonny not wanting to get up for school when Kylie tells him too and he refuses. He then deems it fit to call the police beause him mum shouted at him. We attend and actually believe that nothing has happened but because of the nature of the call we are obliged to fill in the old form. There is no child abuse here as Kylie obviously cares enough to gethim to school.

No doubt someone has got promoted from the new form but they have set criteria for the reporting of the incidents. If the criteria is not met there is no way that I will be filling in the form despite the urges of the radio room.

I also fail to see how X +Y (who argue all the time and because of the lack of social skills) call the police because Y drank X's last can of White Lightning. They have a drunken argument and one of them calls the police.

We arrive speak to them by first name as we have been there so many times and at the end of the day nothing is wrong other than a lack of money/social skills. In the old days I should fill in a domestic referral form but now unless either party is "vulnerable" I don't have to.

I should be filling one in but whatever muppet produced them didn't produce the correct document. Acording to them and the domestic abuse policy there is to be no concern if neither party is vulnerable. They might both be MOOC s (members of our community) but neither can ever be classed as vulnerable.

The jobsworths who run the domestic violence unit have yet to realise just how wrong they have got the wording. Please don't get me wrong, in real cases of domestic violence I will do all I can to assist the victim and lock up the offender. In the average case of social breakdown (ie last can of cider) I will do all I can to result as No Offences Disclosed!

The directive issued by the D.I. was that this form had to be filled in at all domestic related incidents irrespective. They then went on to publish the policy and if anyone with even a bit of common sense read it then they would realise there was no need at most incidents unless someone was vulnerable.

I am not shy of work but when someone specifies a policy to me and then insists I do exactly what it says, I will do that. I heard that the domestic violence unit was looking to poach more staff from uniform and in a roundabout way this new form was produced to assist that.

They have actually done the opposite and provided a get out for real police officers.

If this makes no sense please criticise freely, it is my first post.