Case 1. Mum is under arrest for alleged Child Neglect. Her 9 year old daughter Natassa called the police at 3am, because “mummy was drunk” and she was “hungry.”
The police arrived to a filthy house. Clothes and possessions strewn throughout. No food in the fridge or cupboard’s. Four children, aged 9, 7, 5 and 2 fully dressed,soiled bed clothes. Mum and friend asleep downstairs. Drunk. Mum is arrested and questioned under caution by 2 officers from the child protection unit.
Mum, was very young, depressed and poor. At the end of her coping ability, no father figure around and no support. The police were the only people her daughter could involve in their lives.
Case 2; A woman had been assaulted, punched slapped, dragged round the house by her hair in front of the children. Had items in the home smashed up by her partner of 7 years. He had lost his job, was drinking heavily and is depressed.
Case 3. Male, depressed, drinking heavily had been made subject of ex parte (without notice) injunction proceedings. Following service of the injunction notice had texted his wife to find out what was happening to the children. Making him in breach of the court proceedings.
Result no further action mum, bar referral to social services. Cases 2 and 3 sent to court. Where they will be processed and will be referred to the overstretched probation service.
My point is that the way the police dealt with these cases was with tact, humanity and sensitivity I would not have recognized when I started as a lawyer 20 years ago. What is being asked of the police is to fill the holes in society where work, family structure and support, social support, and welfare agencies have existed. This is the result of 10 years of austerity. We are asking the police to look after very vulnerable people and it is interesting to see how they have adapted to this role.
The senior anti terrorist trained police officer from special squad, was roughly shaven, had wrist band jewelry and unkempt hair, plus a relaxed resigned approach. The child protection officers were empathetic and sensitive to the circumstances for mum.
This all in leafy Cheshire. How accelerated are the problems in our inner city. So we have a police service, not a police force. I think we are all the better for this. The officers were intelligent but resigned to processing drunken depressed people, bringing up vulnerable children. An impossible job.
Maybe if we tried to understood a bit more and judged rather less, our views would be less opaque. At Paul Darnborough Solicitors. We will always try to understand the root of the problem and try to offer meaningful solutions, as far as the law allows.
The answer, as is so often the case is making political choices, better education and fairer distribution of money and opportunity.