The Humanity Of The Officer Of The Peace

Please ignore an typos, grammar mistakes or utter balls-ups in the following post. It has been written while trying to recover from a busy couple of nightshifts. Were I driving I would be using the same skill as a man with a bottle of whisky inside him. I need sleep, yet must remain awake otherwise there is no way I'll be able to get my body clock 'reset' back into societal normal time. My brain is working at about quarter speed.

Thank you for your understanding – I can only hope that any emails that I answer later today will not consist of random extracts from the works of Stephen King.

We were sent to a seventeen year old boy who had been drinking too much of the nastily strong cider that our seasoned alcoholics seem to love. The sort of stuff that comes in blue plastic bottles and costs a pound for three litres. He had made his way to a friend's house and then collapsed on their kitchen floor. The family he had 'gatecrashed' were concerned and had called us.

The family were very nice, they realised that he was too drunk to be left alone but his family lived in Essex and had no way to collect him. It seemed pretty obvious that the young man needed to be in hospital, his was a case of alcohol poisoning and to leave him behind would have been dangerous.

We tried to rouse him from his slumber and were greeted with abuse and finally a thick stream of vomit. Vomit that he proceeded to lay his head in. The family told us that he was awaiting sentencing for breaking a man's jaw and that he was expecting 2-10 years in prison. They mentioned this because they didn't want to see us punched by his, now puked covered, fists.

We decided that it would be wise to call the police.

Two police officers arrived and, after apologising for calling them out, we explained the situation. We all agreed that the hospital would be the best place for him, but in a pinch the police could arrest him for 'breach of the peace' and then take him to the station where the police doctor would send him to hospital. A round about route, but in either event he would eventually be cared for in hospital.

The policeman spoke to the boy firmly, but with compassion. He noted the signs of self harm on the boy's wrists and took a fatherly tone. It was great to see the police officer persuade the boy to attend hospital when previously the patient had refused all offers of help.

Due to the chance of violence the police officer travelled in the back of the ambulance with my crewmate in order to maintain our safety. Thankfully we reached the hospital with no further incident.

While waiting for the nurses at the hospital to accept the patient I started chatting to the police officer and he agreed that it was incredibly sad to see the patient in such a state, that he was starting down a life of self abuse and crime. We could both easily see where this teenager would end up and we both thought that it was both sad and frustrating that this descent would probably be inevitable.

It was the common humanity of this seasoned police officer that is so unrecognised by the media and the public that makes me privileged to work so closely with these professionals.

While cleaning the ambulance outside the department I saw a drunken patient ejected by security. Complaining loudly, the patient headed over to the same police officers and demanded that they 'do something'. The police officers calmed the drunk down and advised him to head home.

He climbed into his car and started to drive off.

The last I saw of this man was him, stopped by the police ten yards down the road, being breathalysed.

Thanks for all the kind comments congratulating Laura and I on dating – they are appreciated even if it does feel that you lot are trying to marry us off…

11 thoughts on “The Humanity Of The Officer Of The Peace”

  1. Red Bull/Caffeine drinks (including tea/coffee). World of Warcraft (or other fun use of computer). today for example I shall be playing WoW, maybe a bit of Second Life and near lethal doses of tea…Having done a sleep-deprivation test in the past, I can only look back and think of having only *one* night of sleep-dep as a happy time.

  2. I think a great many coppers are like this one, but unfortunately the gentlemen of the press don't see it that way. I do mean the rank and file, however, not the idiots at the top, as described on 'You Couldn't Make This Up' from inspector gadget.

  3. That's par for the course in most organisations. The grunts do all the hard work for no recognition, while the high-and-mighties get fame and huge paycheques for doing either “nothing” or “everything wrong”.

  4. I agree Tom/Brian, still can't work out which one to call you!There are many police officers who are extremely hard working and very good at their jobs. They often manage to defuse situations that could so easily errupt into chaos and violence.

    However, there seem to be a minority that seem to think it is their job to wind the “accused” up making them have a go at the officers who are then very heavy handed. Its unfortunate but true. A few weeks ago I went to a domestic when i got there I found a police officer having a shall we say heated conversation with a man in cuffs. The officer called him several names (that I wouldn't call my dog) and the prisoner duly replied. I butted in to be politely greeted by the prisoner who explained what had happened…no sign of verbal or physical aggression towards me. All of the officers there were looking at the floor looking thoroughly embarressed, but noone intervened.

    The banter continued to the point where I had to ask (in the patients interest) that he not interact with the patient (who was actually injured!) Just then a Sgt arrived and told the police officer who had fuelled the situation to get in his car and drive away and quote “We don't need your sort here”.

    It seems amazing that this guy was allowed to act like this, he actually verbally abused the patient and no-one attempted to seperate them. I guess it's a sign of the time? Maybe I'm wrong?


  5. Tom, The above post highlights the feelings of a lot of us out there on the road, without the boys and girls in blue, sometimes our job would be impossible. So a big thank you to all of you out there reading this (you know who you are ;0) )Regarding the blog on your happy news…….. For me, it's always nice to feel all squishy and slushy inside when you hear of nice people getting together and making each other happy….. (We are all soppy romantics inside you know…. It's just that some of us don't like to admit it!!!! LOL)

    Big hugs to you both from the provinces XX

  6. I heard you on the radio and bought your book – which I loved! Keep up the good work and great to see that you're 'courting' as my dad would say…Your book should be read by everyone in the government and all drunks and smokers!

    I found it so moving and I am also very glad I gave up my twenty a day habit last year to opt for a heathier lifestyle in the last 12 months and all the years to come.

    I am a playwright and screenwriter based in Walthamstow and I often get hacked off seeing how the emergency services are portrayed on TV (my best mate is fire man).

    What they never seem to get – but that is reflected so brilliantly in your writing is the funny side and black humour that goes alongside any trade or profession and is the real stuff of life.

    If I have the misfortune to keel over outside the Theatre Royal or another bit of the east end I frequent I hope you pick me up – as I clearly couldn't be in better care.

  7. It's great when anyone can diffuse a situation like that, uniformed or otherwise.Actually, do you have any tips for staying awake? I've got some sleep-deprived tests coming up and, while there is an element of suspicion that the doctors are having a joke at my expense, I don't want to balls any results up by not being in exactly the state I'm supposed to be.

  8. bugger.I'm not allowed any caffiene as apparently it will influence the readings.

    Several generations' worth of Sims then, it seems!

  9. Tom. The first time Mary introduced me to her friend Andrea she asked “Should I buy a hat then?” Don't worry and enjoy. Toodle-pip!

  10. I remember the respect I developed for the uniformed officers when I worked for a year as a volunteer in a homeless hostel. So often they had the ability to defuse a difficult situation, where a more aggresive approach could have brought turmoil. Examples include having to section people, removing the axe from the person who had used it to get though our door to have a chat with us, and being helpful to the young staff at the hostel after we discovered one of the alcohol addicted residents dead on his bed. Unfortunately I did not share an equally pleasant experince with detectives, but maybe I was unlucky, and those experiences were not a good example.

  11. Ok, this is going to be confusing, I am reading your blogs in reverse order so I will comment on things that you wrote about months and years ago and have probably forgotten, or has your memory improved over time?I had the experience of working in a female prison for 9 years and you really see a diverse cross-section of people. They were mostly petty criminals intent on feeding their drug habits (of which you see the effects of only too well.)

    Your colleague from the Police is doing the best he can in a grim society where the young are really not intellectually challenged enough to buck the growing trend of street crime. Ultimately, it is parental influence that will address this problem and once we can stop bad people procreating then the problem will carry on. If we can get to these kids at an early age and turn them around then hopefully there can be positive results.

    However, I think we both know that that is a tall order and we will just watch the world steadily decline…….

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