Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Health and Safety gone mad.

I will firstly apologise for the length of the link that is attached.

Yesterday I was physically fighting with a 6'8 body builder who had been causing problems at a local mental health ward where he was a voluntary patient. He is an asylum seeker from the Congo who has had his application refused however due to his current state of mind he is deemed as not fit to be returned to his country. He was given the option of a so called detention centre or "voluntary" admission to a psychiatric unit. He has been a handful whilst there but the balance was tipped yesterday when he started assaulting staff and other residents with chairs and whatever else he could find. It was a bit of a mess and really touch and go when we arrived. After about 20 minutes of fast talking and agreeing with him he was coming with us. Where else are we going to take him?

He was initially calm whilst booking him in to be assessed by the crisis team, this chap was not suitable for detention at a hospital as he was already supposedly under the care of a mental health team. Anyway his antics start as soon as his handcuffs are removed. He is looking for a weapon and tries to pick up a computer monitor to throw but thankfully they are screwed down. It takes 3 of us to merely get the handcuffs (x2) applied to the rear to control his arms. He is taken straight to a cell where due to his behaviour he is to wear a safety gown for his own protection. Can't have him hurting himself can we?

I won't go into all the details but he was very strong and in the end it took 6 of us to be able to remove his clothing and perform a safe cell exit tactic. This may sound excessive but his strength, his frame of mind and the fact that we were all tired after 45 minutes of struggling with this chap. Anyway later in the day he was sectioned by the crisis team and is now receiving the care he needs. I hope he can now improve enough to go back to his family at home. That is not sarcastic, that is what he was telling us during the struggle about how he wants to go home as well as that today, he will die in order to keep his shirt on.

There were quite a few of us with bumps, bruises and various other marks that were the result of the struggle. The custody Sergeant duly noted every injury on the custody record.

Today I walked into work and opened my e-mails. There was a not so polite bollicking from the Chief Inspector of custody berating me along with the other 5 officers for not exercising due regard for the health and safety implications of our actions which resulted in our injuries minor though they were. I promptly e-mailed him back and asked him to review the in cell footage and tell me how he would have dealt with it. As a result apparently I am going to give him a damn good listening to in a week or so as he is a day worker and I am a shift worker. That is the first time our "shifts" will coincide. What a joke.

I am not a fan of his due to previous associations but can't help but agree with this Chief Con who wrote about this H&S nonsense in 2007, here is the link.

Sensibilities from a senior officer? Surely not.


BenefitScroungingScum said...

My ex used to kick off like that. It was never directed at me, but woe betide if I got in the way. Primarily why he's my ex!
He's not as big as this guy, but 6'2, 15.5 stone of solid muscle. I'll never know what he experienced(ex soldier) to make him so frightened but it must've been bad, the nightmares were heartbreaking to see. I was dreading having to call 999 and explain they'd need a riot wagon and at least 6 officers to deal with him but fortunately I was able to talk him down as in my area they don't have that many bodies on response!

Health and safety in such situations is a nice idea, but I'd like to see the Chief Inspector do what you guys do. Hope you're not too badly bruised mate

powdergirl said...

Hi, I don't think I've commented here before. Got here through Hogday's blog.
Sorry to hear its the same all-over.
My work, though nothing like yours, was an injury waiting to happen, its just the nature of the work.
But actually sustain an injury??!!!!

There will be a meeting!
The person conducting the meeting will not have left the desk in 5 years, minimum.
Add insult to injury? Absolutely.
My last meeting with such an entity ended something like,
me: I have to supervise only, as I can't navigate the terrain this week. This leaves me short a laboring body? Do you have time to help out?
It seems he had many pencils to sharpen and was unavailable just then.

Constable Confused.com said...

Bendy and Powdergirl,

thank you for your concern but it really was just a number of bruises bumps and pulled muscles. I will survive along with my colleagues.

Welcome Powdergirl.


Anonymous said...

Sounds horrific. Luckily not had to deal with anything like that. Mentally ill people are so hard to deal with because they do not think in the same "rational" way that we expect them to so are impossible to predict. Lucky you had plenty of back-up at the nick!

Dr Melvin T Gray said...

Only a cruel fate bestows the strength of an ox on someone mentally ill, CC. Whilst I am not a medic, I do know that such prisoners, when subjected to forcible stripping or other violence, sustain further lasting damage to mental health. By comparison, their physical bumps and bruises are almost consigned to irrelevance.

It would have been incumbent upon the day centre you were assisting, to provide psychiatric nurses and sedation for minimizing trauma during the cell operation, had such a reasonable request been made.

Constable Confused.com said...


unfortunatley as he was a voluntary patient there was no power to administer said medication. Only once he had been assessed and though I hate the word, sectioned, could he then be given sedatives which would calm him down.

Nice thought but he still had his human rights and they could not be breached.

Incidentally he was stripped for his own safety as people have been known to try to do harm or worse when fully clothed, as i am sure you are aware. What you may call violence was only the restraint necessary to facilitate the removal of his clothing. There is CCTV in the cells and the footage has been kept should any form of complaint arise in the future.


Lucky Seven said...

Have a fed rep with you..

Lucky Seven said...

Dr Melvin T Gray in reagard to medical centre staff providing any assistance once police attend you must live in a land of fantasy.

Did you not know that we ave single points of contact with faceless 9-4 office folk to arrange this 4 days before attending a 999 call...

Stressed Out Cop said...


That's a big one to deal with - lots of agreeing with him ... understood Sir.

Palmed him off nicely onto us again .. nice

Anonymous said...

It is true what MTG says about bumps and bruises, as they soon heal and are forgotten. It's the mind games, the psychological stuff, the hurt to the soul, the psyche of a person, that can do more harm. Like harsh words that cut deep inside, but show no wound, nor scar, except perhaps in an outer display of unhappiness. That can take the form of using drugs or alcohol, or ill temper towards others.

And it has to be said, that sometimes the patronising attitude and/or incorrect assumptions, of NHS employees and other public sector workers, can actually wind people up and cause bad feeling.

"Health and Safety" may well go even more "mad" if there is no balance brought into the Child Protection policy. In the aftermath of Baby Peter, the media and public outrage about what happened to him, it will be a mistake for NHS staff to conduct a witch hunt against ALL parents, who take kids to A & E because of an injury/accident. It has been stated on the news, that Doctors will in future treat parents with "more suspicion" if a child has an injury.

The danger in that attitude and approach, is that they risk doing even more psychological harm to innocent parents, as they have in the past, by falsely accusing them of child abuse, when they have not harmed their child.

There have been numerous cases where children have been taken away from loving parents, on the say so of Social Workers or NHS employees, using the justification of "preventing harm" to a child.
The Human Rights of the parents and the children have been ignored in many cases, because of an over zealous attitude. And yet the bad cases like Baby Peter will be used to oppress good parents even more. Mad indeed, and far from "healthy" for the majority of normal parents and families.

If they start another "witch hunt" against mothers, like they did in the 80's and 90's, by regarding them ALL as potential abusers of their kids, this government will damage families and society even more. Parental discipline and authority was seriously undermined in a mistake they made with Child Protection right at the very start.
They went too far with it and made parents too paranoid to keep their kids in line. That generally means being tough with them, sometimes shouting and sometimes a slap. That isn't child abuse. That is parenting and teaching boundaries and what is acceptable behaviour from a child, and what is not.

If they are not taught as children how can they be expected to behave as adults, and to not fight with cops, or cross other lines?

That was an interesting article from the link. I too would have to agree with him. There was an article in the Mail [Wednesday] about a PC who refused to even sit upon a bike for a photo, because he had not done his cycling proficiency test! He cited "Health and Safety" reasons! Barking mad!
Someone from his police authority thought it was a wind up when he was told......


JennyB said...

I look forward to hearing about the scheduled 'listening to'... I too, have had a few of these sessions while working in a Constabulary, and daring to show initiative and creativity in my job, while juggling and sweeping the office with a strategically placed broom. The middle management of a hierarchical structure always seem to be several steps removed from reality. Good luck! Hogday and I have a shared past at the same Constabulary!

JennyB said...

Post script... A shared Constabulary... not your Constabulary!

Hogday said...

Major struggle in the cellblock with nutter who threatened my guys with a knife (big Rambo type) before cutting himself(superficial but a bit of a bleed when aggravated). Before we can get medical help he kicks off. I'm custody sgt. Me and the three arresting Pc's are doing the well worn Tom and Jerry fight around the charge room and manage to get him into the cell entrance. I've been booted in the groin and hit in the mouth and we're all suffering cuts as well as being covered in his blood and losing grip as a result. Just as we are in the cell he breaks free from one PC and attempts two headbutts to the temple. As head goes back for the third time I catch him a short right jab to the chin and bingo,down he goes and becomes totally compliant. I look up to see our Chief Inspector watching this from the cell passage. He demands to see me in his office. I decline as I have custody responsibilities. I complete the records (before computer system) call the doctor for prisoner and us, then turn to the C/I and ask what he wanted. He then said, "I didn't realise you'd been assaulted". I said, "Did you see me hit him Sir?". "No" came the reply. Me: "Well, I was preventing PC Smith from being hit in the temple by a headbutt, in the only way I could at that moment, so I did hit him, Sir, fucking hard, as you'll see in the custody log. What was it you wanted"? His reply, "If I thought you'd hit a prisoner unnecessarily I'd stick you on a charge immediately". My reply, "Thank you Sir, so would I, but even if I'd known you were watching us I'd have still had to do it as you were clearly just a spectator. How come you didn't see it then?" "You were just out of sight in the doorway". "OK then, please will you add that to the custody record. You'll see my description of the right jab I delivered in there somewhere. Anything else sir"?

Constable Confused.com said...

Miss Minx,

as always thank you for your comment but I feel we have done the mental health aspect before.

I have nothing but the utmost respect for you comments and please keep them coming. However, you know, I don't particularly like that aspect of it as highlighted in my post but sometimes I must do it.

I'm not too certain about the comments about mothers having their children removed having any relevance.

Please prove me wrong.


Anonymous said...

C.C. I fess up to having a bit of a bee in my bonnet about abuses of power, particularly by NHS employees and Social Workers. Their words, can totally affect the life, or rather lives of people
they come into contact with as a part of their job. They make mistakes just like anyone else, but they have far too much power over ordinary people's lives.

Their jobs appear to be blighted as much by "Health and Safety" rules and policy, as much as the police force. To the extent that those staff have a priority to make sure that their arses are covered, and that nobody can come along at a later date and blame them if something goes wrong. People are being over cautious and fearful of legal actions against them, "if" a child gets hurt because they left that child with his or her family.

MTG mentioned how actions by "authority" can do lasting damage to a person's mental health, when bumps and bruises from a minor scuffle soon heal and will be forgotten. As a mother, I can fully understand the emotional pain and extreme distress suffered, by having one's child forcibly taken away by those in authority. It is a grieving process of deep pain, the child is not dead, but legally kidnapped by the state. That grief felt would be enough to tip any normal person over the edge. This has happened to loving parents who have taken kids to A & E because the child had an accident and hurt itself.

Having a child, or a baby taken away from a mother because "safety" reasons have been cited by Child Protection workers, simply because the mother has suffered from depression in the past - perhaps because of experiences of sexual abuse, is cruel and an act of psychological violence against a vulnerable female and her child.

All in the name of so called "Health and Safety", protectionism - government policy.

You were writing about a grown man who had been "kicking off" at a mental health unit, and back at the nick. What was he kicking off about? From the other side of the "fence", when a person is confronted with, and outnumbered by many officials who have power and authority over him/her, they can feel threatened and intimidated. In that sort of situation it is human nature to challenge and "fight" those who are trying to exert their will over one's life and situation.

"Authority" doesn't like that one bit, and those in the system who may be arrogant and feel superior to the public, because they have a bit of power, can get carried away with their own personal opinions of people in records. Once that has happened other NHS staff come along, read the comments and form a biased opinion of that person, which then affects how they treat them as a person. All the big guy probably wanted was to feel safe, respected, to keep his dignity, and as you say, to go home to his family.

Those are basic human needs common to all people, and yet government "policies" can often interfere with that and undermine individuals and families.

I am just personally OUTRAGED by the abuses of power that have gone on in recent years and the distress and damage done to kids and parents, by state employees doing more harm than good. They have split families apart and placed kids out for adoption, destroying lives in the process. Because they "thought" that a parent "may" have harmed a child, when in fact they hadn't.

Going through that sort of traumatic situation can really mess with someone's head. The NHS mental health system and attitudes can actually make matters worse.

Although no doubt, they do have their occasional success stories, there are many cases whereby people who have suffered extreme trauma are not treated appropriately, nor with respect.
That, C.C can wind a person up, but those in "authority" always cover their own backsides and blame/slur the name of the patient.

Does that make my line of thinking any clearer to you? We are all just "big kids" who need TLC.


Anonymous said...

P.S. C.C. I forgot to say in my comments, that many people in the Congo have been going through sheer hell for many years. There have been many cases of kids snatched from families by soldiers who then raped and abused them. Many of those kids were then forced to train as soldiers themselves, and ordered to kill others. They have suffered a terrible ordeal, that most cannot even begin to imagine.

Perhaps the big guy you wrote about had suffered some dreadful experiences in the Congo when he was younger. That would explain a "conditioned" instinct to fight with those in authority over him.
Poor guy. He must be very damaged, psychologically, and probably was frightened by uniforms. It could have brought on flashback memories of past abuse and trauma, especially as his clothes were forcibly removed by 6 coppers.....


Constable Confused.com said...


I hear what you are saying but cannot speak from any personal experience. I have been the one on several occasions to "start the ball rolling" so to speak about removing children from their home. The after effects I have not seen, I'll be honest.

You must have read and probably commented upon my post about the African girl who is still with her abusive parents, though supposedly monitored.

This gent was willing to return home but was just too unstable to allow on a plane. I'm sorry for using the word but he was nuts. I don't know about his history in the Congo but the safety of others AND his was my concern at the time. I won't make excuses about my actions and hope that he is soon well enough to go home.

Just a quick aside, is the UK really the first safe country that he arrived at on his journey to find asylum? Seems to me there are an awful lot of other countries he bypassed to get here. Why?

The child protection issues, baby "P" and that tragic incident in Merseyside a couple of weeks ago where the 4 year old drowned in the bath. I think that is appalling, social services knew about the problems but did nothing.

I'll put my hands up and say I know only vague accounts of your dealings from your comments but at this moment in history the whole situation needs revisiting and possibly revamping.

I have been challenging you but your opinions would be valued.


Anonymous said...

C.C. Thanks for your response.
I would not expect you to feel like you needed to "make excuses" for doing what the job expects of you, regarding violent mental health cases. We are just having a discussion. I challenge you, you challenge me right back! Sparky....

I agree that it's appalling about the baby Peter case and the 4 year old who was drowned recently. I am not surprised that Social Services knew and did nothing to help them.
They appear to have been going for easy targets, the wrong ones, and instilling fear and dread into good parents, whilst ignoring kids who really are in danger. Why? I don't understand how they can get it so wrong. Is it their training?
The whole system certainly does need to be revised. I suspect that having "powers" over parents, goes to some of their heads, when they have acted like the ruthless Stasi frowning and disapproving of normal parental discipline of kids.

The government did have a dishonourable agenda actually, regarding "Child Protection". They deliberately ALLOWED some really bad cases of abuse to go unhelped, like baby Peter and some others.
Why, you may ask. The appalling truth is so they could justify a further "tightening" up of the system, to oppress parents even further, to remove kids for flimsy reasons. There used to be a regular supply of kids to sexually abuse in council care homes, until the Child Protection System came into effect in 1990. That made it harder for the paedos in positions of authority to get away with it; so they have been trying to find ways to gain access to "fresh" victims, in their own homes and also via the internet. Vile creeps.
This plot has been challenged C.C.

My own personal experiences of the NHS system, as a victim of abuse and attempted murder, and a sufferer of M.E, leave a lot to be desired. The attitude of some employees/professionals towards me was patronising, insulting and not especially helpful. M.E is a Neurological illness, which is caused by very severe long term stress, as a result of abuse, coupled with exposure to chemical toxic contaminants in our environment, air, food, water, surroundings - modern life in fact.

M.E is like having the tail end of a dose of flu, when you can just about manage to get out of bed and drag yourself around. One just does not "bounce back" to full energy and well being. This can get one down and cause depression, naturally, because it's not much fun! The NHS has no treatment, nor cure for M.E, and the system regards sufferers like "mental cases", or with disbelief because one can have the odd "good day".

My kids developed M.E too, because the tendency is genetic, and they experienced bullying in school, plus severe stress due to the manic education system a few years ago. The Education Social Workers were not especially helpful towards myself, as their mother, and negatively influenced GP's opinions and perceptions of us as a family, and especially of myself as a single mum. Some of the comments in NHS records are misleading blatant defammation, and very hurtful. Especially so because it was I who brought out into the open in the 80's, the previously untalked about issue of child sexual abuse and beatings, and the damage it does to people's lives and health. I wrote the letter which kick started an organised multi agency system to protect kids from abuse, and was kept OUT of the loop. They didn't know that I was an undercover police officer!

GP's had to be forced years ago, to even acknowledge that M.E is a genuine physical, biological illness, and THEN, this government manipulated the so called "medical experts" into re-classifying it as a "psychiatric" illness. An insult.
Once that "psychiatric" tag has been put against ones name, the system employees, police included, treat people like basket cases, idiots, 2nd class citizens, whose word has no value nor credibility.
That C.C is just MORE abuse of that individual, sanctioned by the government. A "fairer" society? Don't make me laugh Gordon Brown!
I was even denied the appropriate disability benefits after my state of health declined drastically during the undercover Operation.

People on benefits because of ill health, have been treated like "scrounging scum", the lowest of the low, as if they are ALL lazy workshy chancers, to be treated with utter contempt by the multi agency system empoyees, police included, sadly.
The tick box culture of negative expectation and perceptions. Plus an insane "belief" by government that people who are suffering from physical illness are actually capable of doing full time work!

There has been a very mean spirited attitude coming from government, which appears to have dominated society and the systems in this country in recent years.... that is if you are white and born here....and abused here, but not by ones own parents! But perhaps I'm just on a "blacklist" for being a Whistleblower.....

I haven't read your post on the African girl abused by her own parents, and still with them. What's the title of the post?

Thanks for the rant by the way.....


Constable Confused.com said...


cultural differences.


Anonymous said...

I have just read "Cultural Differences" again. I think it left me numb and rather gobsmacked the first time I read it. My brain obviously filed it away in the "try not to think about it box" - because of an "overload" of grief issues at the time.

Poor girl. Stories like that really make you wonder what the hell Social Services are playing at. The system makes no sense.
It must be soul destroying when you try to protect a frightened little girl from serious abuse, and then Social Services come along and undermine you. Gobsmacked.


Anonymous said...

C.C. I have just left quite a long comment on your March post of "Cultural Differences". I hadn't left a comment on it previously, as the reading of it upset me and brought back my own childhood memories of being beaten with a belt strap. It depresses me.



Bertie Humbug's Ranto-O-Matic said...

Not of sound mind to return to his home country? Since when have Congo's mental health patients been the British taxpayers problem? Absolutely and completely absurd.

This kind of thing is driving people to vote for the BNP.