Saturday, 9 February 2008

Kitchen Nightmare


As we meandered our way through the streets, enjoying the lull between the pub kick outs and the night club kick outs, the radio crackled into life, shattering the fragile peace.

"Bravo Xray 21 or any other Bravo Xray unit now, units to attend Johnson House, Hackett Street, abandoned phone call with sounds of a disturbance, on an 'I' grade."

An 'I' grade call is the top priority for calls in The Met.

I called up: "BX23 to your last," and two other units (amazingly) were also free and answered up for the shout.

I arrived on scene at the same time as one of the other units, and called our TOA (time of arrival) on the radio. As I climbed out I saw that the other unit was being driven by a good friend of mine, Sam. I winked at him as we parked up by his car, close enough to make him have to get out of the passenger door. All four of us walked to the block, a new build that I'd never been to in a nice part of the division, with controlled electronic access.

There was no answer to the door buzzer, but a neighbour let us in after we had hammered on her downstairs window for a while. As we entered the block, sounds of shouting drifted down the stairwell and I started to run, as did the boys with me.

What we should have done was got the lift.

As we wheezed up to the address on the fifth floor, a woman was standing outside. She seemed worried but not frantic, and the shouting had stopped. "Thanks for coming so quickly officers, Joe is inside and he's gone a bit funny again, I just need him out before he breaks something else. Or starts playing with the kitchen knives again."
We paused. Sam and I swapped a look. I decided to try what we like to call "investigating."
Area: "You say Joe has gone funny... What exactly does 'funny' mean?"
Strangely Calm Woman: "He sometimes gets little bad patches. That's all."
Area: "You said 'again.' What happened last time?"
SCW: "Well, the police were very understanding really, no one really got badly hurt."

There was a sound as Gary, twenty years old and with a hand on the door knob about to go in to the address let go of the handle as though it was hot, took a step back and buried his chin into his protective vest thoughtfully.

And then the shouting started again, punctuated with crashes from the house. It sounded like there were two very pissed off people having a major argument.

Area: (slowly) "Who else is in there?"
SCW: "No one. Just Joe."

Deep breath. Sam gripped the handle and opened the door to the address. "Brave man," I thought. Sam looked at me, and beckoned me forwards.
Sam: "After you."

Oh. Bugger.

Joe was naked. Bleeding from a scratch on his neck. Six foot two in height, slim build, bulging darting eyes. And stationary in the middle of the kitchen.

I thought back to the comment about kitchen knives. We fanned out around our side of the room, and I attempted some light conversation.
Area: "Er, Joe I presume? Watched the football today?"
Joe: (Breathing heavily) "No."
Area: "Ah, right, me too. Um, having a bad day today Joe? Would you like to see a doctor or talk to someone about it?"
Joe: "No."
Area: "Ok, fine, good." I searched the room frantically with my eyes for inspiration, and noticed a crucifix on the wall with a plaque beneath it.
Area: "You a church goer Joe?"
Joe: "Yes. Jesus talks to me. So does God."
Area: "That's nice..."
Joe: "He's talking to me now. That's why I'm being nice to you."

Oh Hell's bells.

The problem in this situation is that we have the power to section people under the mental health act, but not inside their own homes. And he wasn't committing any offences by smashing up his own flat. We continued to chat, in broken fractured syntax as calmly as possible, trying to keep Joe from hearing any bad messages from God.

Gary was pushed out of the way, and two Ambo staff strolled in. Joe shifted slightly and I heard rather than saw Sam draw his asp and hold it by his leg.
Ambo 1: "Evening Joe. Have you been causing trouble again?"
Joe: "Sorry."
Ambo 2: "Haven't been here for a while Joe. You coming down to the Hospital now Joe?"
Joe: "OK."
Ambo 2: "Come on then mate."

We stared in silence, feeling more than slightly inadequate as the LAS crew led Joe out to the Ambulance. We followed the Ambulance up to the hospital, and whilst Joe was talking happily to a Nurse, I asked the crew how they had managed it.
They laughed.
Ambo 1: "Well, we've been there before. He decided to kick off one time, and so we kicked him out of the ambulance until he behaved."
Area: "And that worked!?"
Ambo 2: "Well, it was 2am in the middle of January."

I love the LAS so much.

19 comments:

Tom Reynolds said...

Well you guys can do the same sometimes - I spend an hour dealing with some troublesome sod and then as soon as they catch sight of a black and white uniform they suddenly behave themselves.

Sometimes a change of uniform is all it takes.

cogidubnus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
cogidubnus said...

I love the thought of the guy stark naked, hopping up and down on a frozen road behind a locked ambulance...it's a picture which I know will make me chuckle, off and on, for a long time to come...

Thanks!

(sorry about the deletion/repost - the two typos were bugging me! I must proofread, I must proofread, I must...)

Brian said...

Metcountymounty -I found your wallet, mate

RandomPinkness said...

I find the picture of four scared policemanofficers spread about a kitchen eyeing this guy up, then the ambo crew nocheleantly strolling in and rescuing them funnier. :D

Anonymous said...

Don't want to be a smart**se but.. 1)the mental health act has changed
2)TSG would have taken him out with taser if necessary

AliG

Metcountymounty said...

I and a great majority of my team will more than happily second your comments on the LAS, sometimes seeing the green and yellow uniform is like a dose of social morphine and instant calm is restored! Brilliant!

Anonymous said...

Yay! I'm a fish!

TheBinarySurfer said...

ATNS - Has the Health Act been changed yet to allow section to be used within a property?

Taffy said...

Not as far as i know. Still "to where the public have access" only.

Great, TSG have taser. Now all we need is for...

# Metcall to write up the request.
# Chief Insp IR to bounce it because it wasn't done properly, or doesn't reflect what the situation is.
# Metcall operator to ask someone what to do.
# Metcall operator to do it.
# Metcall supervisor to check.
# Chief Insp to authorise deployment.
# Pan London despatcher tries to raise Commissioners Reserve.
# Pan London despatcher fails. After all, there is no R/T set in the gym.
# Chief Inspector rings TSG Inspector on the mobile, and leaves a message.
# TSG Inspector waits 5 minutes before calling back " Sorry Guv, dealing with a stop"
--------------
TSG Deployed
--------------

# Commissioners Reserve "regroup" (ie get dressed) and embus. Time scale depends on co-ordination of hand-sock movement. Carrier skippers check officers boot laces are tied, assisting where appropriate. Precious time at this stage is saved, however, as flat caps were never removed.

# TSG travel in convey to, say, Kingston. From Enfield.

# 45 mins later (lets be generous) TSG arrive at RVP. Local Inspector arrives, having stopped off en route to pick up an incident log and a probationer to use it. Delayed arrival at RVP due to detour to scene to check on welfare of 5 PC's holding naked man down, and to address missing headgear/necktie related issues.

# TSG carriers squabble over who gets to "unleash the fury".

# Two Alpha males from the victorious carrier are duly issued with the device.

# Batteries flat. Leaving do the night before. Second place carrier goes to the scene.

# Man tasered. Local residents see 27 officers leaving the scene, dragging a naked man behind. Photo sent to the Daily Mail.

# Enquiries made with local newsagents by said newspaper indicates man did indeed purchase said paper on saturdays. National outcry. Police brutality, and potentially racism, is the order of the day. This would never have happened under maggie, house prices in the neighbourhood take a nose dive.

Metcountymounty said...

Taffy, you forgot - man dies of self inflicted injury a week later in his own home, national newspaper headline reads "Tasered man dies after police brutality incident"

Porco Rosso said...

No offences, but serious damage to property: power of entry plus a BoP.

That said, who wants to sit the loony for the next twelve hours while you wait for a social worker and doctor once the custody skipper decides he needs assessing.

Thank the lord for ambulance though.

PCFrankyFact said...

I love your tales. As ex Met they make me smile. I can't believe the camaraderie you describe can still exist. It died a long time ago in the counties. If it still does on your shift, I want a transfer.

PCFF. 17/9 + counting.

Meredith said...

Gah! I´ve been checking back for an update now and then and haven´t had any joy. Post, post! Since reading your blog I´ve become much more appreciative and understanding of what the Police Service really means...Make it all more real or something. Keep it coming.

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