A re-launch of a re-launch ….. I’m saying nothing more about it but back up and running properly again now!
It’s been an interesting couple of weeks for us policing the Dudley Borough. While policing is never routine there is a certain pattern to it; as the week goes by things tend to get busier as we approach the weekend, no great surprises there I guess. Every so often though a week comes along that changes that and that’s what happened this last week.
As an emergency service we deal with a wide range of incidents. At the start of the day you just don’t know whats going to come your way but so that we can manage our response effectively we need to grade our calls according to the risk and danger involved. To help us manage these calls we colour code them, it’s not rocket science, an Immediate Emergency (the sort of thing that you will see or hear a police car responding to with blue lights and sirens) is shown on our screens as red, next grade down as yellow, so you get the idea. It’s impossible to predict when these emergency calls may come in, yes, Saturday night, chances are there will be a few but earlier this week in the space of a minute we had four such calls come in. The screen just turned red and you just see everyone’s heads drop for a second! Each of these calls set alarm bells ringing as all indicated that someone had been stabbed or had a knife and was threatening others, or in one case was threatening to stab himself. But it was heads back up immediately and staff were quickly moving officers around the area to get to all of these incidents, completing checks on background history and any other information that could help the officers going there, even where in the street the house is helps so they can concentrate on driving.
It all sounds very dramatic and lawless but in the end the man who was threatening himself with a knife was taken safely to hospital for treatment under the Mental Health Act, one of the persons who had been stabbed hadn’t been, it was a bloody nose from a drunken fall, two of the others were the same person (although magically, in different places!), so in the end nobody had any real injuries and nobody else was at risk. But then there was also all the rest of our calls still coming in.
I often feel that many people’s perceptions about what we do are formed by TV programmes, after all for the majority of people that is their only involvement with us. Every so often something comes along and you think where did you get the idea that the police will deal with that? This week brought more than its fair share of these.
We took a call from one resident wanting to make a complaint about Police Officers who had gone to her house because her window had been smashed but the officers had not repaired it. When I explained that we don’t repair windows but that we could call someone out for her she was just a little bit irate with me and could not understand why we would not repair it. When I suggested that maybe she or her partner might do it she replied ‘why should we, it’s the police’s job’. The conversation ended there – we don’t do window repairs.
Then there was a very confusing call that seemed to indicate that there was some sort of disorder inside a house, arguing and shouting could be heard. When we managed to get some sense it turned out that one tenant wanted a friend of the other tenant kicked out and we ‘were to do this’. I explained that if she was the guest of the other tenant that we really had no powers to do anything. We could prevent a Breach of the Peace and disorder but couldn’t force the co-tenant to kick his ‘friend’ out. I explained that the best course of action was probably to speak with his co-tenant and sort it out between themselves but apparently they couldn’t do that because ‘they weren’t talking anymore’. Advice about using mutual friends, mediation, Citizens Advice, Solicitors, being grown up and talking to each other all fell on deaf ears with the insistence that the police had to ‘sort it’. A difficult position for the caller to find himself in but not a police job!
If you have followed this Blog for a while or kept up with our Twitter posts you will have noticed that I am prone to repeat myself with stories that you may feel ‘I’ve heard that one before!’ Well here we go again! A while back I mentioned a family who called us in a dispute over the sons continued use of his X-Box; yes, you’ve guessed it, they were back in touch with us again as they were once more arguing, this time over tidying up around the house (son is a teenager after all!). We didn’t go out to them, much to the caller’s annoyance with us but as we pointed out to her again, police are not there to make children tidy up their room. Genuinely, we have had other similar calls from parents to ‘have a word’, ‘give them a fright’, ‘threaten to lock them up‘… we don’t do that either.
We have another regular lady caller with a very ‘complicated’ life; underneath it all though she is very vulnerable. The other evening brought another call from her but she cleared off the phone before we could find out exactly what was wrong and where she was. I managed to get through to speak to her later, it was a little bit sad I suppose -
Me: Can I speak to J….
J…: Are you the police?
Me: Ahhhh, yes, how did you know?
J…: Nobody else calls me!
We did manage to find out where she was and what happened so got some officers out to her but much to their bemusement she took an exception to them and threw them out of her house. A quick change around and we sent some more officers who she thought were ‘lovely’ and told them all about the Domestic Assault on her. All the details, photos etc were taken and the offender later found and arrested. A bit later on though she called us again to say she wasn’t going to support a prosecution and wanted the charges dropped. We said no as there was too much risk to her and her ex-partner needed to be placed before the court.
Domestic Abuse remains a real and concerning issue for us and our partners right across the Borough. Despite a lot of good work going on just about every shift we do we will deal with a number of such incidents. The scale of them can range from drunken arguments through to serious assaults. There is no one particular area or group or ‘type’ of person that can be a victim, it can be anyone. We do take it very seriously and there is a lot of support now in place for Domestic Abuse victims (female and male, young and old). I will come back to this over the coming weeks as we approach one of the periods of the year where victims are at greatest risk – Christmas.
Despite the hiccup of the last couple of months the aim of the Blog remains the Psame – to give communities across Dudley Borough a little bit of an insight into what we are doing. There are many things we cannot include because they are part of ongoing investigations or are being dealt with by courts but I hope that you get some flavour of whats happening across the borough. If you like what you have read please let others know by using the buttons below (if you don’t like something then let me know). You can follow what we are doing through our Twitter posts.