Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Back to the Future (where everything is beautiful)

I'm getting really worried about some of the brawling, hapless, hopeless excuses for humans that I had to extricate from each others punches and threats and whose various offspring I removed to places of safety and notified social services about and who, in turn, `did their best for the family` in their aftercare visits.....[pauses for breath].  I'm getting worried because those of them who are still alive and most likely still screaming and kicking, probably have grandchildren who, taking a lead from their parents on what constitutes the building blocks of childcare, are as likely as not repeating much of the same. It makes me wonder that if one of them gets killed in a DV incident, will I suddenly turn up in the enquiry and get the blame for not castrating one of their ancestors when I had the chance?

Based on the sound bite attention grabbing headlines of,  `murder "could have been prevented?"` referring to the latest tragedy to knock poison cucumbers and FIFA off the front pages, I may well be up for some sort of investigation. There's plenty to choose from amongst all the domestic violence jobs I went to, where I separated warring parties, slung partners out of their own abodes, whisked kids into the police station for safe keeping, took pages of statements only to find a half page one, withdrawing all allegations, waiting in my in-tray a few days later. All the poor lost, mainly female, souls I pleaded with to take a grip of their life, take the advice I could give and to be strong and walk away, knowing that it was a hell of a thing to do but in the forefront of my mind knowing that even if I got the violent bastard locked up, it wouldn't be forever and there was always a chance he'd come looking for her when he was released. Knowing that she couldn't pay for a private security firm and that I couldn't be posted outside her house for the rest of my service or until the ex died, didn't seem to sink in. It could have been heartbreaking had i let it get to me. As it was it was always a serious concern and, like many of my peers and doubtless todays officers, I probably took home more worries about domestics I'd attended than most other types of job because, even though you knew you'd done pretty much everything you could do, a lot was left to chance, including the ultimate plight of the victim. I wonder how many lives a pop star with multi-million £ assets could save if she set up a charity that paid for minders for women under threat of attack from their violent  partners/ex partners?

In my latter years in the police I was amazed at how much more detail was being gathered in respect of domestic violence and of the multi-agency strategies and councils with their own DV officers. It is no surprise when one considers that with the `modern` police service having intelligence led strategy as its main driver, that this should be so. I was not amazed to see the setting up of dedicated DV units because, based on the previous comment, if you want to predict where the next murder or violent assault is coming from, your stats will tell you that domestic violence is a good place to start looking. But I'm not sure things are any better in respect of the root causes and the basic commodity you are dealing with. I'll conclude this little piece by quoting from a comment I left on one of Inspector Hobbes's posts recently. It relates to one of my first encounters with a case of domestic abuse.

I recall my first week at a busy London station (Deptford aka "Dirty Deptford", "Fort Apache, SE8" etc etc). A young woman of Carib origin came in and rattled off several sentences in patois so strong that, because of my greenness, my ears weren't attuned to it. The Sgt advised me that she was saying, `me man beat me then he sex me` - essentially a rape allegation of sorts. She was interviewed by a female officer and flatly refused to either be examined or to make a complaint. What she expected, as a recently arrived resident in the UK, was the sort of help she would get from her former local police force in Jamaica, that being the local cops to get hold of the boyfriend, whisper advice in his shell like and then beat seven shades of excrement out of him to drive home the message. She went on to explain that in domestic disputes the same sort of treatment was metered out, only to both parties.

Naturally, London's finest were not going to do that and she left the station disgusted at our indifference to her pleas for justice.

I wonder now, on looking back over my own record of dealing with domestic violence incidents (nobody ended up killing anyone) if we are failing to face up to the truth of the matter and trying to baffle nature with science, or maybe we just have the science all wrong, or maybe the Jamaican police knew a thing or two about human nature?


sparkflash said...

I'm always amazed that in a world that will happily take in excess of 100,000,000,000 lives a year, just because we like the taste of meat, we get all sqeamish at the idea of chopping some scumbags bollocks off.
I must have slept in late, that day at school.

Blue Eyes said...

"get the blame for not castrating one of their ancestors when I had the chance"


Blue Eyes said...

Sorry for the multi-comments: blame my lack of attention span.

"could have been prevented?"

= someone screwed up the paperwork on a previous job, I am guessing.

"maybe the Jamaican police knew a thing or two about human nature"

no doubt, but the problem with shaking the rule-of-law edifice is that the wrong blocks will probably fall off first...

Hogdayafternoon said...

Spark`: I never met an animal that felt sorry for itself - except maybe my dog when it fell in a stinking bog - but even then he wasn't sorry for himself for long and never blamed me for it.

Blue: "could have been prevented" it's the old put it in inverted commas trick, the journo get-out clause. As for the Jamaican police, my research into that method is not empirically sound nor is my example from 1970. It's just always baffled me how the police can prevent a domestic assault from happening anymore than they can a random attack anywhere else.

Anonymous said...

It would be interesting to know whether there has been any improvement over the years. What we needed 30 years ago was power to intervene sensibly, given that many patched up their differences and only a few cases got to the really serious stage. Much probably never got reported because we were so useless.

Now there are special DV courts under evaluation. I wonder whether we have it all wrong.

Hogdayafternoon said...

ACO: That is what my gut was telling me as I wrote the post. As a `custody` sgt I also used to book in 3 prisoners at a time without the world coming to an end or a long queue of officers waiting to be let in to the charge room aka `custody suite`. Just saying.

sparkflash said...

Funnily enough, my dog was never happier than when out running through fields too thick to see through and falling blindly into drainage ditches - coming out beshitted from nose to tail in the most unspeakable run-off. I had to throw imaginary stones into the river to get him in to wash some of it off.
But then he was an English Pointer and his elevator didn't quite go to the top floor.

TonyF said...

Striking another person for no reason other than self gratification is inexcusable at any level. I suggest anyone who does this to their 'loved' one should be post natal aborted, as something not going to be human.

Anonymous said...

I seem to remember finding the odd prisoner not booked in at all. I am struck that once these procedures snap in the actual problem disappears in them, though remaining unresolved. One very interesting thing is the hard-line rhetoric in claims by police and local authorities and what they actually do. Temporal logic (really we do do it) could well use some actual case studies with real outcomes to compare with official claims that always lack them!
One social worker asked how any woman would ever sleep with my ex-neighbour and took offence when I whispered the truth (because they are slags and he's a drug-dealer). I sense this answer put me in more trouble with her than he was!