Ok then, the evidence is fairly heavily stacked against me, so I guess its hands up time, I admit it, I have failed miserably haven’t I? No updates for eight weeks! A bit like a New Year resolution, going great guns for a while but then other things start to take over and suddenly those great intentions seem so lost and….. At this point I should be able to give you a whole host of reasons why I neglected the Blog, I could talk about the technical issues, the other time consuming commitments, the great summer weather … ok, now you know it, there isn’t an excuse, it’s just one week slipped, then another and before you know it you’re thinking ’what happened to that Blog thing I used to do!’ So, time to move on and get some writing done,
For one reason or another our last few weeks seem to have been dominated by incidents where we are concerned for the welfare and safety of some of our local residents. I’ve talked about some of the issues around this before, actualy its one of the recurring themes. Just about every day we have a range of calls either from family or friends expressing concern about a relative, friend or neighbour that they have not seen or their behaviour is giving them cause for concern. We also get calls from our partner agencies relaying concerns that a patient or ‘client’ is at risk. We have to look at each and every one of these calls and risk assesses it on a rang of criteria whether its the first time this person came to notice or the tenth time. Frequently a little bit of digging around, a few phone calls and the matter is sorted – missing person found, patient into medical care, back with family.
Every so often though the risk assessment starts ringing alarm bells, this person needs urgent help and needs to be found as soon as possible. We had one such incident during a recent night. We took a call from a very worried lady, her husband had gone out very distressed making comments that he had had enough and ‘to say goodby to the children’. He had also taken a significant amount of medication with him. A check was made with the hospital as to the consequences of taking the mix and quantity of tablets but the consequences were all too clear to us anyway and time was of essence – buses, taxi firms, shops, CCTV were all checked for sightings but to no avail. Colleagues from neighbouring policing areas were sent off to check some locations on them.
Time really was critical and we got every officer we could into the area along with a dog to track and the Police Helicopter. There then followed a hectic half hour as the helicopter spotted a number of different individuals trying to hide! For a short while we wernt too sure who we were following, our Missing Man or Burglars! In the end we eliminated (not literally) one of these persons when we caught up with them and found that they were actually wanted for failing to attend court – he was bit upset when he realised the helicopter and dog wasnt looking for him!
Meanwhile the search continued and between a combination of the helicopter, good investigative background work into the gents favorite places and a bit of luck we found the man safe. Altogether it was only about an hours work but it was one where every minute counted. Some quick work by the officers and Ambulance staff meant that we were able to get him off to hospital, medical care and safety.
The other ‘found’ person went to court the following morning!
Another missing person reported to us recently also raised serious concerns for a couple of reasons; the circumstances were very worrying (comments made about what she was threatening to do, the medication that she had taken combined with her drugged state) but also the name immediately rang bells with everyone, we had searched for and found her earlier in the year in what at the time was a fairly traumatic incident and she was threatening musch the same again. This time though it was nothing so dramatic. Officers had to force their way into her house to search for her but no sign of her, other than empty medication packages. Fortunatly she was found at the second place we thought she might have gone to, safe and well.
Managing our response to these incidents is just one part of what we do here. Just as significant is taking the calls and dealing with whatever comes from the caller. In the vast majority of times we are able to help someone in need but there are other times …..!
The other evening we took a call from a very drunk man, not an unusual occurrence in itself but he then went on to be very abusive to our call takers. He was making some worrying allegations in between his rants and we needed to be sure that there was nothing actually happening. After we visited some of the areas he said he was in we were satisfied that there was nothing in what he was trying to report and he also stopped calling, presumably he fell asleep. We were unable to find out who he was but at some stage in the future when the number comes up again then we will be able to identify him and take action.
We had another caller one of the mornings this week who got very ‘upset’ when the Call Taker told him that we would not be sending out any Police Officers because it was nothing to do with the police, he needed to sort it out himself. I’m not going into the detail of what his problem was but it was nothing whatsoever that warranted police involvement but when our Call Taker told him this he became very abusive to her. Our staff member quite rightly ended the call but then I got a call from him as he wanted to make a complaint about her and ‘he paid our wages so we had to do what he wanted’. Having listened to the recording of the call I told him the Call Taker was perfectly right to end the call and we would not be taking such abuse. His reply was ‘oh, its recorded, is it?’ and ended the call to me! We are an emergency service, we take thousands of calls from upset and distressed people but we dont take abusive calls and we dont use valuable police resources on things that are nothing to do with the police.
Well thats the story this week. Time to draw this to a close or it will be another eight weeks before I finish! Feel free to comment on any aspect of the Blog or Policing by using the comments buttons below. You can follow what we are doing on a day by day basis on our Twitter Posts and if you like what we are doing then you can let others know by using the buttons below (or you could just tell them!). If you dont like something then please let me know.