I am reminded of a domestic at one such home a few weeks ago. The door is opened by a grubby four-year-old wearing pyjama bottoms and odd socks. His mother immediately coaxes him to one side and reminds him of the wise saying that "Yer don't open the door to no f**king police, d'ya hear!"
We are here for Our Lewis. Our Lewis is smashing the place up.
"Did he do that?" I point at the wood splinters that appear to have come from the living room door and are now about to become teething toys for the two toddlers sitting on the third stair up.
Irene isn't sure. She is sure that she has had Enuff and She Ain't Takin Him Back This Time. I suggest that maybe we should talk out of earshot of the toddlers. This is apparently unnecessary. Irene beckons me through to the kitchen where I enter in time to see the back door slam behind a hooded figure. The security light illuminates Our Lewis crossing the yard and climbing into the garden shed.
It turns out that Our Lewis has taken a baseball bat to the Plasma, which now only boasts 31 useable inches. It was right in the middle of Dancing on Ice. I agree that this is unacceptable.
Irene wants Our Lewis arrested. Having surmounted two washing machines and some corrugated iron sheeting, I feel I deserve the arrest and muscle my colleague out of the way to get into the shed.
"I ain't fookin being arrested," says the hoodie. His hands are tucked into his arm-pits, the cord of his hood is pulled so tight that just the dark oval of his eyes is visible, his lashes stuck together with tears. Lewis is thirteen.
"You've smashed the place up, Lewis."
"Yeah well you can't arrest me cos I'm not listening."
Fortunately I possess the skills to overcome teenaged logic. I persuade. I advise. I warn. Finally I take hold of Lewis' arm. He fights, spits, writhes, cries, screams and we finally wrap him up in velcro and carry him out through Irene's front room. She yells after him that he is a waste of space and with any luck the neighbours will see him being carted off.
Some neighbours come out and see him being carted off. Irene tells them he is going to jail. Once in custody, Lewis reverts to human form. When his hoodie is taken off him, it is revealed that his forearms are covered in razor slashes from elbow to thumb.
Later, whilst taking down Irene's statement, the four-year old pulls down his pyjama bottoms and defecates on the living room floor in front of us. Irene takes a swig from her whiskey bottle and says someone will have to clean that up some time. Out of possible embarrassment, the four-year-old hits the three-year-old on the head, and the crying wakes up Irene's husband who has been asleep on the sofa throughout and is not amused at the Bleedin Racket.
As I get Irene to sign her oldest son into the care of the local authority, I wonder whether I will still be working for Blandshire when the toddlers are arrested for the first time.
Copyright of PC Bloggs.