29 Oct 2011

Mental Health Units in need of HELP

Since men in white coats were abolished the role of dishing out help with mental illness has fallen largely on the police. If people are ill and know they need help they can walk into any hospital and be seen by a doctor. If they do not want to go then they can be forced under section, in extreme cases, by a doctor.

The majority of intervention comes at the time by police officers in the form of a Section 136 of the Mental Health Act. This is a section predominantly for people who we as the police believe are a harm to themselves or another person. Whereby we can force someone to seek medical assessment. It seems though that these sections are looked upon negatively within mental health establishments as a way for us police to detain someone, or anyone.

Mental health units have tried all the tricks in the book with me let alone anyone else. To recall a few I had one male who was found standing in the middle of the road, running in and out of traffic pointing a makeup brush at cars and making a bang noise. I nearly ran over him as I arrived but he was rejected as by the local unit he wasn't from the area, this meant we had to get him assessed at the police station.

Another was a male who was detained as he was saying that whatever happens he will kill himself and once we talked him down he told me to take his shoe laces as the voices would tell him to strangle himself. He was rejected as the worker at the unit was on her own and was SCARED to be left alone with him!!! He only ever threatened to harm himself and not anyone else.

The final one I recall if when I detained someone drunk who threatened to jump off a building, waited till he blew 0 in custody and took him to the unit and they put him on their in calibrated device and he blew 63... They wouldn't have it, back to custody he went for an assessment with us.

Don't get me wrong, we argued our case every time, from our level up to operational Inspectors!! BUT the NHS will have none of it!! I look forward to the NHS reform if it helps us with this...

26 Oct 2011

Keep it Civil

It's always annoying when people I deal with think they know the Law, Especially those who are undoubtedly and categorically wrong. More often then not these are usually with Civil issues. These are things that are not a criminal matter but there are a few examples of people who will not take no for an answer and insist the police do something.

The first example of this was an incident I went to whereby we received a call from a caretaker, for the purpose of this I will call Mr. Care. Mr Care called us about his beloved Transit Van that had been parked in a car park for the best part of a year as he was on a driving ban. Mr.Care noticed one day his van disappeared.

I completed some enquiries and it seemed it had been scrapped. I managed to do enquiries with the scrap yard and I got details for the person who removed the van from the car park who told me it had been left there and the owners of the car park got a 14 day removal notice on the van which was ignored so it was sent for scrappage.

Mr. Care wasn't happy and was adamant that they stole his car. He wouldn't listen to me no matter how many times I told him it was a civil matter that he needed to speak to the people who own the land. So it turned into a complaint that was quashed as unfounded!!! The next I can think of was a call we received of theft. A female, for the purpose of this we will call Mrs Grub. She was calling us to say that her husband, who lives at a separate address has been coming over to her address for the night and eating her food. The two of them are still together and still married, they just live in different houses. Mrs Grub was annoyed as her husband didn't ask her permission to eat any of the food or make himself a drink. As if that wasn't enough he also borrowed her Hoover and keeps forgetting to bring it back. Well you can imagine what I thought. So when people call 999 and try to report a theft of these items when they know they are not actually stolen surely there should be the option of a payment scheme for wasting police time!!

22 Oct 2011

Child Pawn

When relationships end it can be hard, It gets even harder when there is children involved. There are many people out there who do not think about the children in these circumstances but think of them merely as pawns in their grand chess game of getting one over on the ex-partner.

One incident that springs to mind was when I attended a missing person report. On arrival I spoke with a female who wanted to report her child missing as it's Dad collected it for a visit and it's been 2 hours passed when they were meant to return and they hadn't. I began to probe, enquiring as to whether she had contacted the child's Dad to which she replied "He said he is having so much fun and wanted to stay the night but I'm not happy with this so I want you to go get him" As you could imagine I don't take being told how to do my job lightly and swiftly informed the half-wit that as they have not had a court custody battle which was awarded in her favour then the Queens Police would not be downgraded to a mere Taxi service for her benefit.

Granted she didn't understand half of it but in short she was told to suck it up and go see a solicitor. I can understand people's genuine worry for their children's safety when they go missing but when you know where they are but have had too many sherbets to go pick them up yourself then maybe it's time to look again at your parenting skills.

19 Oct 2011

Hospital Visiting at all Hours

When a prisoner comes into custody we have a duty of care for their welfare to do what we can to prevent a death in custody. This unfortunately is used to the advantage of some of our regulars to get an easy trip to out. More often then not this comes in the form of a trip to hospital. Most try this stunt at the time when the Hospitals are at their busiest so they get the most attention possible.

A couple of incidents come to mind when I think of trips to hospital the first was one where a known regular was wanted by us for a serious offence but did not have a home address. As he didn't want to be sitting in a cell for hours on end he took 20 Valium tablets before handing himself in knowing he would be taken straight to hospital and put under 24 hour observations, in a comfier bed than a cell with people he could talk to. All of this whilst being escorted by two officer who now couldn't patrol the streets and keep honest citizens safe!

The second was another known regular to us that decided whilst speaking to the custody sergeant that he would state he had every ailment known to man, including epilepsy, and that he was going to kill himself in our custody. These comments are never taken lightly and because of this he was placed on a "Close Proximity Watch" which in basic terms means he had an officer sat outside his cell watching him all night. Again another officer taken off the streets to babysit a delinquent.

The second changed when the male started to do an act which the ambulance service are known to call sudo-fitting, which is a great term which I have adopted meaning "He is faking a fit" This as with the previous meant a trip to hospital for two officers for the rest of the night.

So in short if the Government wants to put more officers on the streets then they need to get rid of human rights act and it will then make it harder for known regulars to use this stunt!

15 Oct 2011

Traffic Matters, it does, honest!

When you talk to any local response police officer they will all have the same thoughts about Road Traffic Policing... Boring as hell.

I would disagree, I like pulling over cars and issuing tickets for things that they have done wrong, especially when it's black and white. I know if my colleagues knew this I would be called a "Traffic Wannabee" but it's my guilty pleasure.

When people say how much trouble traffic jobs are I think about one incident in particular. A brand new Vauxhall Astra pulled out in front of our patrol car late at night and floored it. I pulled him over and, what a surprise he was driving a hire car. He said his name was Mr. Won, well he thought that he had so it seemed apt, I checked our records and there was nothing showing on PNC for this man having a driving license. This meant I could bring in a piece of legislation that meant I could seize the guys car even though it was a rental. It felt awesome! I issued him with all the paperwork, got the car lifted and told the guy the amount he would have to pay, no doubt to the hire company after they come and recover it.

The next day I came to work to hear that a guy with all my paperwork on him had been brought into custody under the name Mr. Lost. Turns out this was the same guy I had issued the paperwork to and it seemed he had given me false details as he was disqualified. As well as the public order charge he had been brought in for I added; driving whilst disqualified, driving without insurance, obstructing a constable in execution of his duty and FRAUD as he gave false details and driving license in order to hire the car.

Who says traffic is boring and never gets exciting results? Mr. Lost then became Mr. Convicted!!

12 Oct 2011

Domesticated Bliss

As you are more likely to be hurt by someone you know this is why when calls of a domestic disturbance reach the stage that someone is contacting the police this is when things need to be taken seriously... BUT when we get called and neither person will tell us what is happening or when it is an argument over something minor we should just be able to say OK and leave.

I remember one such rubbish incident when we had received an abandoned 999 call, this is one where a request for an emergency service wasn't made. So we head over on blue lights at high speed, always thinking the worse.

We turn up to hear yelling an argument inside, banging on the door we get no response and as such we grow increasingly concerned as nobody is answering. Just before I put my big boot through the door a frail old man who was in his 70's comes to the door.

This is the point at which I question our involvement, I asked what happened and the husband said "I was cooking an omelette for lunch and then she came in and yelled at me for using the last of the eggs, so I threw the omelette on the floor and said neither of us can have them now!" I said "So who called 999?" to which the wife piped up and said "Me, I wanted him to pick the eggs up and he refused"

Even though common sense would mean we gave wife advice on her use of the 999 service and left, this was not the case. We stayed at the address for half an hour filling out a 26 page home office booklet which is meant to assess what risk the victim is at... RISK!! Well in this house, the husband is at risk of more nagging the wife is at risk of being left and the eggs have a risk of being beaten!