Wasting Police Time

In the LAS we have a thing called the 'high risk address' register – it's where we make note of any houses where an ambulance staff has been abused or attacked. We put addresses on it ourselves after the fact. It's something that will be part of a larger post sometime this week.

It was no surprise to see our current call tripping the alarm, I'd put it on there myself.

The woman who lives in the flat suffers from some pretty severe mental health problems, the flat is always a tip and she calls us for some rather strange reasons. I'd been to her when she had thought she was pregnant, about twelve months pregnant. I'd done nothing to provoke her, but her and her boyfriend had started shouting and screaming at us, so we'd retired to a safe distance; then called the police who calmed the situation down. I'd then filed the paperwork and the address was duly marked.

So we found ourselves parked up the road waiting for the police to come. We'd been called because she was 'hearing voices', then she'd told the calltaker that she had knives in the house.

Yeah – I'm brave, but I'm not stupid.

So we waited for the police, for they are braver than me and have much more experience in dealing with aggressive people in a 'physical' manner than myself.

They soon arrived, two officers, both about the same size as me. I may not have much of an ego, but even so it can be a bit bruised if I find myself hiding behind two female officers who are five foot nothing. Especially considering that they could probably 'take me out' in short order.

The police knocked on the door, I cowered behind them. Our patient opened the door with a smile.

“Come in, sit down”, she said joyfully.

We walked into the flat – you couldn't pay me to sit down, it was a little tidier than before, but not by much.

“I'm fine now, I found my pills”.

A little chat and we filed out of the house.

It's embarrassing when you ask for the police and don't need them – though they never moan about being used unnecessarily, it just feels like you are wasting their time.

But in this case it saw the officers off duty without having to fill in reams of paperwork, so it wasn't all bad.

I wonder how she'll be the next time I see her?

9 thoughts on “Wasting Police Time”

  1. We have the same system, after the event we fill out a form requesting that an address is flagged in the cad system, thereby informing future crews that there has been an issue at the address and that it is unwise to approach without a police presence. Like you I am not stupid and it seems that all and sundry choose to arm themselves (regardless of this, houses generally have a kitchen, and with that one would assume a nice array of knives)I don't know about you Tom, but for some reason in the recent months we have been having our messages ending with 'will not be violent' I beg to differ on this point. How do they know he/she won't be violent???? Do they ask? It would be nice to get a comment from a 'dispatcher' on this point as in my view someone who is quite a violent person, may not truthfully answer that question. In all seriousness, they are not about to tell dispatch that as soon as the crew ring the door bell they are going to jump out of their hiding place and stab them are they?

    Unfortunately I have been on the receiving end of a few incidents over the last few years, and the Police have been absolutely brilliant. I note that you mention about cowering behind two five foot nothing WPCs, its not so much that, its the fact that they have the training and authority to deal with such violent situations, I have assisted on one occasion a female officer who was begining to struggle somewhat with a regular 'client' and I think it was a welcomed helping hand. At the end of the day we are not there to be bonked on the head (I know the Police aren't either, but they have big sticks and stuff to hit them back with) nor should we be expected to deal with such violence and aggression. We also do not have the 'authority' to restrain these violent people, so all we get is two choices, except the beating or run….. I have found out I can run quite fast, even with my equipment in hand (although it does tend to get dropped quite quickly in such incidents)

  2. I suspect the police officers feel about attending addresses like that, much the same as you would feel about attending to someone with a known heart condition who reported pains in their chest and shoulder. Even if it turns out to be nothing…

  3. You say pretty regularly that you wish people, generally old people, would call you sooner, but they often don't because 'they don't want to be a bother'. The same logic applies to you guys calling the police out to a potentially dangerous situation – I'm sure they were rather they were there and it turned out to be nothing.

  4. I think the police, like aby energency service would rather be called out unneccesarily than for something bad to happen, even if just for your own safety !!

  5. Better to be safe than sorry.We (crisis team) keep a list of high risk patients. We used to mark them on a board but that was deemed by an 'Inclusion Manager' to breach confidentiality. We then marked the file with high risk in red; same manager deemed it as “detrimental to the service user and prejudicial to their future care”.

    We compromised: a big red asterisk on the file.

    Said manager never has to attend an assessment with the police at 2 am when a 'service user', who has a long history of violence, is drunk and threatening all and sundry. (The service user history consisted of two past psychiatric reports requested by defence counsels). Oddly enough, the same manager was on call and once phoned a colleague up at midnight to demand why the team had allowed a known service user to breach the 4 hours in A&E and were we not dealing with this. My colleague sweetly explained that if someone is booked into A&E at 3pm but the team is not informed until 8pm….She suggested the manager come out to the incident herself to address it but sadly the manager chose to return to bed leaving my colleagues to continue working thro' the night and on until 4pm later that day.

  6. Hmmm me again lolI've been mulling over something here as from the patients side of things (and no I am never violent that I know of) lol

    BUT someone's diabetic and has a very bad hypo can't they become violent is some cases ??

    In those cases I hope they wouldn't be marked for it on file as it wouldn't be through their own fault but the fact their blood sugars were dangerously low !!

    Sorry been thinking about these “flags” as I am flagged at CAD (as a regular to them for over 16yrs) but I am flagged on medical grounds and because of longterm steroid tablets for brittle asthma I am also a type 2 diabetic on insulin !!

    I am lucky and so far not one hypo that we couldn't sort out ourselves BUT for those who are hypo unaware if they get violent or argumentative because of it – would they be flagged or not ??

    Donna

  7. You'd have to ask someone in Control that question, I've never done it because it's one of those 'it's part of the job' things (I remember wrestling with a 6'5″ diabetic security guard one Christmas…)If someone does flag it I suspect that it'd read on the dispatchers screen something like 'can become violent when they have a ow blood sugar' and we take that into account.

    Like drunks, they tend not to be a huge problem because their movement is impaired – a sober person should beat a drunk any day, if only because they can run faster.

    We do also have the flagged addresses for people with chronic illnesses, the only one that I've come across are some children who are 'not for resus' and someone with COPD who stops breathing if you give them too much oxygen.

  8. Thanks Tom for the reply.It was just something that stuck in my head last night while reading your blog!

    Keep up the good work guys (from a gratefull patient up in midlands)!

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