Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Feeder

Over the past few days I've not been sleeping, and trying to work out why. As an actual, real life diagnosed insomniac with the meds to prove it, this isn't in itself unusual. It's something that happens regularly. However I've found that trying to work out what might be bothering me or keeping me awake can help.

Like exploring a cavity in a painful tooth, this isn't always pleasant and can throw up surprises you didn't want and weren't expecting.

One of the things I ended up thinking about was a call I took a few years ago.
It had been a long summer and even fans of the heat like me were looking forward to shorter days, cooler temperatures, and longer tempers. At forty minutes to going home time, a call came out for a child being assaulted by their parent.

This by itself is not an unusual call - most of them turn out to be not an assault at all, but in fact a parent (rightfully) chastising a misbehaving child.

Not this one though.
As we made our way towards the call, sighing inwardly at how we thought it would turn out, the control room called up with more info. A second call had come in from a member of public that the child was bleeding and being thrown about. Our controller paused, then said "Area, this looks like a bad one."

A detailed description of the adult was given, and sure enough as we TOA'd (Time Of Arrival) at the scene, a male grabbed a young toddler some distance away and started waddling away. Me and my partner, Dan, stepped out and broke out into a jog to catch up. As we did, the male started running - with a two year old in his hands, he wasn't going anywhere.

Other units were already running at this point, but I called up and updated on the male making off. As we ran across the car park, sweating already in the humid heat, two more marked Police vehicles arrived on blues and stopped, doors slamming as the officers moved to head off the male.
All this whilst being watched with blank expressions by groups of people - at least, the ones that weren't out and out eye fucking us.

The male ran into a block of flats, one of many on our sink estates with no security or key fob to get into the communal areas. As he ran in, he dumped the toddler on the ground - why not, he was only being slowed down carrying the child.

We didn't see this, not until we ran into the building. We were still some distance off, but not far enough to not notice the reaction of the local residents.
Seeing us running, and seeing now where we were going, groups of our local gang members and druggies were drifting into the building and melting away at speed.

As me and Dan hit the door and went into the building, we were in time to see the last four or five melt away into the shadows of the stairwell. I'd estimate perhaps twenty five people had headed away from us. They'd seen the Old Bill were here, and decided that perhaps their outstanding warrants/pocket full of drugs/illegal weapons/house full of counterfeit goods should remain theirs for the day and so had made their exit sharpish.

Every one of them, without hesitation - and every one of them passing the crumpled form of a beaten, bleeding, bloodied body of a two year old boy dumped unceremoniously on the stained concrete floor. Lit by the yellowed but still working strip lights, it was impossible to miss the child lying there. Left in the middle of the corridor, the residents had obviously stepped over him in their rush to keep their gear secure.

I knelt by the child, and sent Dan forwards: "Go. Go, get the fucker!" As more coppers filtered past, I checked for signs of life. Breathing, movement, and open eyes filled with tears and terror. And blood everywhere.

Yes, we caught the suspect. He tried to hide and on being approached by Police Officers used street furniture as missiles before being very definitely arrested.
I wasn't involved in any of that; instead I had abandoned any pretence of professionalism or duty and had insisted on riding in the ambulance, had insisted on cradling the child all the way there and holding on until the nurses at the A&E managed to convince me to let go.

The only thing that really stayed with me from this call was the response of the people on the estate. Not one of them stopped to check the child, and instead chose to cut and run. After suffering an assault from his stepfather, the child had had to endure a lesson in London Estate politics, and lay broken and bloodied on the floor, watching as adult after adult abandoned him and left him to his private pain.

I only post this now, as two of the other officers involved have left the job for good, and the other main participant doesn't even own an internets, let alone use one.

Incidentally, I worked out what was keeping me awake. I reckon it could well have been the beer I'd been drinking during the day after all...

36 comments:

Chapati said...

Ouch! I really hope that wherever that child is now, he is well taken care of. I'm sure he'll remember the compassion you showed him forever.

PCDC-Copper Bottom said...

nice one mate...

keep safe...

DC

PC Blogs A Lotte said...

It's a fucked up world we live in my friend.. it really, truly is........

I hope that the bastard served time for the battering of a little child.

Any wonder that people become so stuffed up when they are raised like that by a bunch of no-hoper wankers.

Blue Eyes said...

Not one of them stopped to check the child

Most people live in their own little world where everybody else is peripheral to their existence. They will only take any interest if it is in their own interest to do so. I stopped trying to analyse other people's lack of self-awareness a long time ago - it's a fruitless and ultimately depressing thought process.

Michael Pinkstone said...

These ... people do not deserve to be credited as human.

A timely post, especially in relation to the latest information about the fate of Baby P.

In which case, I'm glad you will remain anonymous for this one, because something is bound to be your fault. (e.g. You could have prevented it. You could have got there sooner. Serious questions need to be asked ... blah blah blah.)

Perhaps one day we'll actually blame the pond scum responsible, rather than the automatic assumption that such situations are as a direct result of police/ social services negligence.

Dave Pie-n-Mash said...

This is a horrible story (and I am sure you have worse experiences you could tell us). In some ways I hope the 2 year old grows up with a memory of the compassion you showed to him, but in other ways I hope he has no recollection of the entire event. You are a credit to your profession, mate.

TheBinarySurfer said...

And people ask why coppers often develop an alcahol problem in the long run...

Good on you for being a human being first, and a police officer second.

MP has it right - they might be human-shaped, but these people long since ceased to be human.

PS: As someone else who's suffered with insomnia for a long-time, as girly as this is going to sound - look at putting some oils on the pillow (lavender, eucalyptus and spearmint work wonders for me), they reduced the frequency with which i need the real sleeping tabs considerably!

Metcountymounty said...

Dealing with children is the worst of what we have to do because they deserve nothing that happens to them. At least the majority of adults we deal with either make the choices themselves or by action or omission of action effect what happens to them, but not the kids. I'm glad you guys managed to get to him and get him to the medics intact, I just hope he was young enough to never remember.

That man deserves nothing less than a room with no windows or doors for the rest of his days, though if I had my way it's be a couple of rounds in the head and disposal at sea. And as for the rest of them on the estate? By the way they act they give themselves their own stereotypes, and they are shit, nothing more.

petrolhead said...

I'm certain that if one of the 25 people running away HAD stopped to help the little boy, you'd have been far to busy actually tending to the poor little fella to think "Hey, this one's got an outstanding warrant, let's arrest him now!" - and he could have gone to bed feeling good for once. Some people really are too involved in their own self-preservation to care for others around him.

I hope there was a happy ending for this little boy. My dad used to be a social worker and I've lost count of the days he would come home and hug me and my brother extra hard, because he had dealt with a case of extreme violence or neglect to a child.

How anybody could harm an innocent two year old child is beyond me, I simply cannot fathom it. People convicted of child abuse should be locked up for a very long time, if not for life.

You should be very proud of yourself, for helping the child as you did.

Constable Confused.com said...

You OK?

Twat of a job. Feelings do take over. Well done mate, whatever anyone else may ever say it can never be said that you weren't there for him.

Hope he turns out OK, it's probably a name burnt in your brain. Hope you don't come across him in a bad way.

Regards.

Suzie said...

You truly are remarkable, and a great asset to The Met. Having been through some traumatic times as a young child I find I can still remember them, not every fine detail, just the significant moments such as my dad beating my mum, her pulling a knife on him in defence and the police officer who sat and talked with me while I played with my toys in an effort to normalise the situation.

I deeply wish the child will grow up oblivious to the brutality he endured, on the other hand, if he does not, I know he will remember the man in the cool, black and white uniform, in whose company was one of the safest he will ever have encountered.

I hope you are ok, and are able to sleep better soon. Be proud of yourself. x

Tom said...

Sorry to hear about that 'bastard' job. I use that as a reference, because when on a shout to aid a child, there was always extra tension in the ambulance.

I'm saddened by the response of your 'customers' but not unduly surprised.

At the time I worked the blood buggies, I confess I was an insomniac. Years later, I'm a hypertensive insomniac, but to make a difference once, in my mind was reward enough. Wishful thinking. Perhaps, but it was how I coped.

Have a good kip tonight..

Fee said...

That's just awful. Beyond awful.

A good friend of mine was badly assaulted by her dad on a regular basis, until he went too far and the police got involved. To this day, she remembers the fact that the first man to ever show her any kindness or gentleness was wearing the same uniform you do. She will not hear a word against the police.

If this wee one remembers at all, let's hope he has a similar memory.

Roses said...

Actually, someone did stop.

Someone did assist.

Someone did care.

In the midst of all the pain and terror, that child had someone, albeit briefly, who gave a fuck.

And that was you.

Thank God for that.

loveinvienna said...

Brought tears to my eyes, especially when you adamantly refused to let him go. When you feel that you are losing your humanity after being bombarded with the dregs of our society on a continuous basis, I really hope you look back on that moment and remember how you helped that tiny little lad. I also hope that when he looks at a policeman or woman now, he sees your face and remembers how you we quite possibly the first person/man in his short life who made him feel safe.

Stay safe,
Liv xxx

Louise said...

Some jobs have us questioning the humanity of the 'human race' and how we got to this point.

Hope the child was ok and the git got what he deserved.

Bobbi said...

Poor little thing. I'd have done exactly the same-I may have neede lots of convincing to let the poor mite go, though.
That's actually something I get very depressed about-people not caring about anyone unless that person's problems have a major impact on their own comfort.
Grrrrr....

Bobbi said...

Are you ok now? God bless you for being the 1 in many who cared.

Lola Snow said...

Words fail me.

Hunter Rose said...

Metcountymonkey

Most complaints aren’t upheld becasue the police close ranks and look after their own.

Before you exhibited your usual rabbit’s courage and closed down the hatches and ran – your own blog was always defending *any *officer. The ridiculous and stupid extremes that you went to and the extent to which you bluffed and blustered despite all evidence to the contrary was … risible. You oaf.

Even though he was as big a hypocrite as you, at least your buddy Nightjerk, old Richard “Dick” Horton himself was a bit more articulate. But there again he was a detective. and by and large, rank does equal knowledge, doesn’t it, PC?

The other reason why the public think the police are crooked is becasue a very significant fraction of them are. Please refer to the link below.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/mar/11/police-officers-criminal-records

And these are just the ones they caught. The ones who weren’t hushed up by their mates enjoyed a blind eye and the usual incompetence in detection

MCM, the *only* reason you became police was because you got beaten up at a bus-stop…..you disgust me.

Suzie said...

Hunter Rose, what are you talking about?? MCM was praising Area's team for a job really well done and stating his opinion on the scum who severely mis-treated that poor, little boy. How can you respond to this post and that comment by critisising the police? PC application declined by any chance?

Yes, it is a shame 0.7% of police officers have criminal records, clearly we forget they are human! Although, on the contrary I stand firm that the majority of PCs who do put their lives at risk, their jobs first and deal with the millions of criminal records held by everyone else in society are above human. They are our unsung heroes.

Blue Eyes said...

I have never had trouble sleeping after beer.

Pete said...

Or giving drink to a choir boy, eh Blue Eyes?

Defunct_Met_Runt said...

I was going to be a squaddie.

But then I got beaten up at the bus-stop by a bunch of 14 year old girls from on my way back working as a life guard in a swimming baths . ( It was a revenge attack.... you know.)

Then I joined the Met.

Then I read Peter Hitchens and plagiarised him mercilessly in order to start my blog and get my book off the ground.

Then with my mate DC Richard, "Dick", Horton being outed and all , I ran scared and battened down the hatches.

City Police WAG said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
City Police WAG said...

Defunct_Met_Runt maybe you should consider nailing down the hatches....

Druid Shift Skipper said...

Don't feed the troll :-)

TonyF said...

Rats in clothes. Exterminate them.

I hope the wee one got away. But I bet not.

The Blue Light Run said...

Nothing like dealing with vulnerable or hurt children to make you realise why this job can be so rewarding yet so demanding. Reminds of numerous ppo's I've been involved with over the years. Truly heart wrenching. Whatever the trolls say (by and large they are largely ignored) a top job and one you rightly have to be proud about. Well done mate.

Noddy said...

You need some spaniel!

Anonymous said...

I wasn't involved in any of that; instead I had abandoned any pretence of professionalism or duty and had insisted on riding in the ambulance, had insisted on cradling the child all the way there and holding on until the nurses at the A&E managed to convince me to let go.

You're a good man, Area. We need more of this. Sincere thanks from an ordinary member of the public.

Asclepius said...

As a student nurse I spent several months working A&E, I enjoyed the job but never found a way to stop myself being shocked by what regularly came through our doors. I'm guessing policing, like most of the healthcare fields, you'll rarely see humanity at its best. Its a good thing people like you are out there helping as best you can.

Was the child ok? I mean physically?

Inspector Gadget said...

What a relief to hear news of some happy event. On my site, I wonder if things have become so bad that people can taste how tense and uneasy I am these days.

I guess it may have become much easier to recognise the symptoms of yet another police blog spiralling into terminal wimper.

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