The Winsor report- April Fool!

Now I say April Fool due to the date today of writing this, however, this is a tale from my last night shift, and this goes from the sublime to the ridiculous.

Now it was a Friday night, which is always a bit busy with people getting drunk, going clubbing, falling over, being sick, having a wee/poo/vomit (delete as applicable) in a nearby hedge or garden and then staggering home or catching a taxi and trying to slur small talk to the taxi driver.

I like to be out and about, particularly on a public Order night. I think as you advance in your career you do get respect from officers, particularly PC’s if you are out there being seen, and being involved. I cannot stand being sat in an office the entire shift, and although I know some who do, including Inspectors, Sergeants and indeed PC’s, I am not one of them. At the end of the day I joined to be on the beat and be ‘out there’.

This Friday wasn’t particularly busy initially, and so it was looking good for the late turn to be going off at 5am, leaving the night turn officers to take over the domestic cover until 7am.
I had enough officers, it was going like clockwork until…….

We had late turn officers with a s136 at the local hospital for assessment, there was a large fight outside one of the clubs, and a serious RTC came in all at once.
Now you don’t have to tell me that it isn’t rocket science to work out that suddenly the prospect of late turn going off at 5am was now looking a bit bleak. The road was completely blocked with the RTC so that was three domestic units just for initial road closure, as well as the traffic unit for the accident, AI and Night Cover Sergeant from Traffic being woken up, having to put on some suitable attire to head down to the scene.
The fight broke out at the same time, and the now sparsely staffed public order units were heading to the disturbance.
Ahh, then of course that left the s136. The female had been reported as being highly distressed, lacking clothing and not making any sense, and so about three hours before, officers took her in under s 136 of the Mental Health Act. The hospital were notified, Social Services on call officer, and a local doctor saw the said female and put her under a section 2. All well and good you say? Ah, well this was where there was a fly in the ointment. Remember? The RTC, and the large fight?
AND now the added complication that there were no beds available for the female that had been sectioned, and the nearest available bed for her was some 70 miles away. Ambulance weren’t available I was informed, and even if they were, due to her ‘volatile’ nature, they wouldn’t ‘touch her with a bargepole’ I was informed by my Sergeant. So what to do? This was now beginning to feel a bit of a ball ache, and night turn officers were due off at 7am into a rest day, which would mean 4hours double time for them if they were late. I had no choice.

I had to keep the late turn officers on and cover the RTC, the fight was more or less done and dusted, and it was only the female to be transported 70 miles. I had to decide that a female had to go, ‘just in case’, and there were only two, one student officer and one other -had to be the other really. I hate having to ring them up to give crappy tasks out that really we shouldn’t be doing in the first place. I did feel like sending the hospital the bill for taking up two officers, petrol, time and inconvenience. How could they not have enough beds?! Ridiculous. Fortunately the two officers I sent were switched on and happy (ish) to take, but who’s the fool? Is this really our job to transport a section 2 patient to a hospital some distance away? This was 1 1/2 hours each way and after a busy shift the concern was that they would be knackered.
They did get off late, one hour late,but unfortunately they weren’t entitled to 4 hours at double time in to a rest day, but I won’t forget their dedication and assistance and will give them some leeway another time.

The Winsor report wants to cut down on officer numbers as we have more than enough already, well of course we do, there were jobs still coming in with no one to send, so they were being deferred, which is totally out of order, so what happens when we lose even more?
What happens when we get shafted and officers lose the good will and stick to their guns and not doing anything above and beyond the call of duty? A lot of our service relies on the good will of officers who put themselves out, missing meal breaks, staying on late to finish work, coming in half hour earlier to take over from the shift before so they can get home etc.

So think on, those who support Mr Winsor, and those who want to stamp down on my officers, you will lose out in the end because any goodwill will be lost, so who is the fool now?

Happy April Fools Day.

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