We have had a few very busy days over the last week or so, some incidents with happy endings, some not so happy but overall I think it has been quite a positive couple of weeks. The warm humid evenings last week certainly had an effect with calls and incidents coming in almost by the minute at one stage. A real case of juggling staff and establishing priorities – is that missing person more at risk than that victim of car crime? Can that matter wait a bit longer? Arrests for everything from Drink Driving in Stourbridge and Theft in Halesowen to Domestic Abuse in Dudley and Fraud in Brierley Hill. Anyway, yes, it has been a busy couple of weeks for everyone!
The other day I posted a message on our PolicingDudley Twitter account that as I wrote it I thought that doesn’t make an awful lot of sense; after I posted it I thought, that really doesn’t make much sense and on reflection it made no sense at all! So I thought I would try to put it into some sort of context here and explain the background to it and why it can be one of the most frustrating issues we face. So what was it all about then? First the Tweet –
…some very confusing calls overnight now need to work out exactly what happened as the callers sober up! One has changed story four times.
This is not an unusual position to find ourselves in on a Saturday or Sunday morning – literally picking up the pieces from the night before.
We look at absolutely every single call we get and tailor our response to it dependant on a huge range of factors. Often though, when we get to the location a caller has given us they are gone, sometimes this isn’t a great issue, a further call-back and they are found elsewhere and the matter is quickly sorted. Sometimes though we can’t get back to the caller – phone not answered, phone switched off, even refusing to talk to us …… and it is these that can cause the real concern both for the safety and welfare of the caller and also for us, for the workload that will now be generated trying to find them.
Why are we trying to find them? Why not just leave it; they clearly don’t want to talk to us. Normally the concern is raised because of comments made in the initial call – He’s punched me in the face … I’ve got a head injury … they’ve threatened to kill me … I’ve been robbed … I think he had a gun … and so on, I think you get the idea! These are things that we clearly have to follow-up on and make sure those involved are safe.
Occasionally we meet up with a caller but they are so drunk that we cannot rely too heavily on what they are telling us so we need to follow-up the next day when they are sober and hopefully can tell us a bit more accurately what they ‘remember’ from the night before. This is where some of the real problems begin! Often they cannot remember what happened, where it happened, how it happened; they just know the bloody nose is because someone hit them, because they’ve ‘never’ fallen over before when drunk!
On the other hand though we took another silent 999 call the other evening, these calls are always a worry because you have no idea of what the risk level is – whats happening at the other end of the line? – No speech, no disorder, … nothing. Is it a mistake? A cry for help? This time we phoned back to see if we could get a response and an elderly gent answered in a very confused manner, initially it was worrying but quickly resolved as he now knew why his ‘remote control’ would not change the TV to channel 9!
Dogs; cute little furry things, big friendly things, man’s best friend? Police officers best friend? As police officers we generally know where we stand with a dog, behind it is usually the best place!
We received a call recently from a local address and while we were speaking on the phone to the caller we could hear dogs barking in the background. The call-taker asked about the dogs and were they likely to be any risk to the officers coming to the house – “oh no, they’re well-behaved but we will put the Rottweiler away!” So we told the officers that there were these dogs at the address and to be prepared. Of course the inevitable happened and the Rottweiler had not been ‘put away’ but the officers needed to get in and deal with the matter. If you are beginning to think I am been unfair on the Rottweiler then you’re right. He sat there quietly watching the officers while his mate, the Jack Russell, yelped at them, jumped at them, snapped at them and finally bit them! A minor injury, some torn clothes but mainly injured pride! A couple of tetanus injections later the officers completed their enquiries for this family. It just shows it’s the little ones you need to watch!
Another interesting moment the other morning, didn’t look too good initially but a happy ending. We got a report of an elderly man, who was suffering from dementia, missing in the area. He had not been seen for a few hours but when we managed to track down relatives for him they told us he had a tracking device on his wrist! Now I have heard of these before but this was the first time I came across an incident with one. The real benefit for us was that the family were able to tell us he was in a street in Russells Hall rather than six miles away at his home in Halesowen which had been our first enquiry, officers quickly changed direction and he was found safe and well, exactly where the Tracking Device said he was. Unfortunately for him he didn’t know where he was but at least he was safe after a bit of a nighttime stroll.
The interesting aspect was that we frequently get calls about elderly residents who suffer from dementia and who are missing from home or elsewhere. These incidents can be a real worry because the nature of the illness is such that normal patterns of behaviour cannot be relied on – where do you start looking? But with a tracking device then the situation is sorted in minutes. But is it right to fit a tracking device to someone? Will they understand what it’s for? There are a lot of ethical questions there but it certainly would make finding someone safely so much easier and quicker.
That’s it again for this week, as always if you want to comment on any aspect of the blog or what we are doing then please feel free to do so. You can keep up with what’s happening on a daily basis by following our Twitter posts. If you like what you have read then please let others know either by using the buttons below or use the old-fashioned method and tell them!