"999... what is your non-emergency?"
Julie Spence thinks that the public do not expect police to attend every 999 call.
If she's referring to people who dial 999 to ask how to boil an egg, or because they need to renew their driving license, she probably has a point. And it is perhaps unfortunate that her quotes in the above article are put in conjunction with a report of a man who called 999 to be told no police were available, and was then get beaten up by his assailant.
However, her remarks reflect a Senior Management Team blindness to the reality down on the front-line. During my first month as Acting Sergeant, I was the duty skipper on a Friday night. At about 1am I ran out of troops: my seven or eight PCs being either in custody or at other emergencies. Over the next hour there were a number of unresourced jobs, and at least four of them running simultaneously were of a nature where the public would expect the police to drop everything and attend:
A 'no requests' 999 call with a female screaming at the top of her lungs in the background.
A guy being beaten up by a group of five others.
The pressing of a 'high risk' domestic violence victim's panic alarm.
A burglary-in-progress: three masked intruders smashing in a window to someone's house.
I had literally no staff to send. My inspector had no staff to send from other areas. The next areas over again had no one. The jobs were not attended.
Three hours later I returned to the station and logged onto the terminal. The four above jobs were still there, unattended, along with ten or fifteen less urgent ones (involving missing teenagers, assaults where the victim just got home from hospital, burglaries from last night). I updated the inspector that we still had four 'grade ones' unattended.
'Well they're not exactly Grade Ones any more, are they?' was the response.
As the rest of my team was still not back from their commitments, I drove to the four locations myself to establish that- bizarrely- the woman had stopped screaming, the guy was not lying in the road, the high risk victim's alarm had stopped, the burglars had run off. As it so happens, my inspector was right: by the next night the jobs had transmogrified into missing teenagers, assaults where the victim just got home from hospital, and a burglary from last night.
Since the above, our minimum staffing levels have decreased, we now have a single-crewing policy, we aren't allowed to drive more than a certain speed even on 'blues', and we're under more pressure than ever to detect priority crime which means carrying out lengthy enquiries into every incident no matter how minimal the chance of conviction.
No doubt my blogging about this will be labelled 'undermining public confidence' in the police.
Well I have news for CC Spence and Blandshire's Senior Management. It isn't blogging about unresourced jobs and under-staffed response teams that scares the public: it's under-staffed response teams. It's picking up the phone in your hour of need and no one coming.
If you don't like us blogging about it, DO something about it.
What I would like to know is why doesn't the daily fail refer to the police officers themselves as uncaring and lazy for not being able to attend to every emergency that gets called in?
They are immediately defended by the Daily Fail as being hindered by government targets or management cock ups. Their senior managers are blamed rather than the individual PC.
When a lone nurse caring for 20 critically ill patients by herself is unable to answer a call bell to bring someone a vase for their flowers because she is up to her eyeballs in preparing and administering life saving meds the Daily Fail labels her uncaring and cruel.
What about when a registered nurse has 5 critically ill patients who need one to one monitoring and intervention at mealtime (no they don't just suddenly get well so that I can leave them and feed people) on top of 7 patients who all need to be spoonfed at the same time?
What about that fact that the nurse has 20 minutes ONLY from the moment the food gets brought out until the moment the domestics collect it back in? Have you ever spoonfed 7 people in 20 minutes? People who take 15 minutes each to process and chew one bite? Even if I did leave the ill patients who will die if I leave them to feed the others I would still fail to get anyone fed. In this situation the nurse is accused of intentionally starving people. Papers like the mail never look at what our senior managers are doing.
My Trust still thinks that losing RN's and staffing each ward per shift with 1 or 2 RN's and 3 untrained assistants saves money. It kills people, it costs money and it completely stops the RN from being able to function at all. They are aided along in this premeditated murder and encouraged to keep RN's away from the bedside by a media who will slam the nurse for failings in care without looking at what else was going on during the time that the failings in care occurred.
If you remember anything I ever wrote on here remember this line:
If you do not know who many other patients your RN has and understand exactly what is going on with those patients, then you DO NOT understand why you were not attended to or why failings in care occured. So don't even start with the "my nurse didn't bother" bullshit.
I wish someone would explain that to this asshole, Frank Fields MP.