“Warning : Assailant may still be on scene, wait for police” had apparently flashed up on my computer screen. Unfortunately it had done so silently, so the first I saw it I was pulling up outside the house. Luckily, I was pulling up to the house which had the police car outside it.
I entered a house that was full of four generations of Bangladeshi people who were mainly shouting at each other and the two beleaguered police officers. Quite rightly so I thought, as I looked at the fifteen your old boy i had been called to treat. He had been hit around the head with a metal bar. Thankfully his injuries were fairly minor, although there was a possibility that he had broken his elbow.
Unfortunately this was one of those nights where ambulances were a bit thin on the ground, so I was waiting for sometime. At least this meant I was able to get the reasoning behind what had been happening.
There were two families, one with a daughter, the other had a son (my patient). He had apparently offered her a place to sleep after she had been in an argument with her family. This had then turned into a feud that had dragged on via school bullying. The police had just told everyone present that they would be going around the other family’s house to arrest people when the father of this family turned up.
To say there was a lot of shouting would be an understatement. There was also a procession of stern young men into the garden for a bit of a war council, mobile phones clamped to ears as they called in reinforcements. The atmosphere was getting a trifle warm for my liking.
Luckily the police were able to calm the situation down somewhat, a bit tricky when the father was shouting about how he was going to burn the other family’s house down if they didn’t do anything. Meanwhile large numbers of youths were appearing and disappearing into the night. I thought that there was a real chance for things to turn nasty.
“Sir”, said one of the policemen, “I don’t wish to insult, or cause offence, but normally with this kind of trouble it is one cultural group against another, but in this case both parties are Bangladeshi. Could you explain that to me?”
One of the calmer young men replied, “That’s how it used to be, now everyone is fighting everyone else, and race don’t matter”.
By now I had the real impression of angry villagers with pitchforks and flaming torches gathering, thankfully I was rescued by both police backup and an ambulance to take the injured party away to hospital.
“Control”, I called up on my radio, “Just to make you aware, if there is any assaults in this part of my patch, don’t let crews go in without police escort, because it might kick of big time”.
“Roger that EC50, I’ll make a note”.
I don’t think that there was any trouble that night, but it is a little hard to lynch someone if you’ve been arrested…