This is the official blog of Sgt Ellie Bloggs, a real live police sergeant on the front line of England. It's not the official opinion of my police force, but all the facts I recount are true, and are not secrets. If they don't want me blogging about it, they shouldn't do it. PS If you don't pay tax, you don't pay my salary.


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Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Child Revisited:

Blandmore is in the throes of a Non-Festive week at the moment (these are the worst kinds of week and take place for 70% of the year), consequently I am too tired to post anything new.

Here is "The Child Who Wastes Police Time", from August last year.











Danny is eleven. He's a scrawny kid, with an unflattering home-made haircut and clothes that are too big.


Right now, he's sitting on a bench outside a parade of shops in the Porle, the nether region of Blandmore. I spot him under a flickering streetlight, the orange glow lighting up the shadows under his eyes.

It so happens that Danny is a Misper - a Missing Person. He ran out of his foster carer's home at 6pm and we've twice been passed a description of him over the radio, which is how I know to park up and approach him. I should mention that I have a knack for locating Mispers. This is not to suggest I have any kind of special skills, nor that I try any harder than anyone else to find them. I just do.

It is clear within two minutes that Danny has no intention of getting into my police car and going back to his carer's house. He is quite happy sitting on the bench, making shadow animals on the floor between his feet. I suppose, technically, I have the power to forcibly drag Danny to the car, in handcuffs if need be, and take him somewhere safe. Instead, I turn down my radio and sit down beside him.

After five minutes of silence, Danny tells me that he hates his foster carer. He hates his new curfew, the rules about supper-time, not being allowed to slam his door or swear. He hates not being able to ride his bike in the street, because it's been confiscated to stop him running away on it. He hates being at a different school to all his friends, and he hates being told he can't take the train to London to see them. He hates that he sees his mother less than once a month, and he hates that when he does, that fat woman from Social Services is always sitting in the corner making notes.

For ten years, Danny's only rule was to keep well away from a series of his mother's boyfriends, and to call 999 when she put a needle in her arm and started turning blue.

Danny agrees to come to the nick, where I tell him that he's only eleven, and when he's an adult he can choose where to live and how often to see his mother, and can ride his bike anywhere he wants. He and I both know that's a long, long time, and by then he will be in and out of the probation service for fighting, swearing and stealing.

I help Danny write a letter to Social Services and show him how to use our fax machine to send it - no mean feat. Then I drop him back to his temporary home and the carer greets him with a shrug and the words, "There's some cheese in the fridge." I follow up the fax with an email telling Social Services that the carer's home is clean and warm, Danny has his own room and appears to be looked after. After some thought, I add that he's depressed and lonely. I feel like a real hero for that bit.

The fat social worker did read Danny's letter, and I heard he got moved to a new foster carer, just around the corner from the last. He still goes missing from time to time, but I haven't yet found him back on that bench, and I haven't yet arrested him either.

I don't know if he remembers me.

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12 Comments:

Anonymous cb said...

At least the fat social worker listened.

12 June, 2008 18:28

 
Blogger uncommon said...

Ellie,

It is in the dew of little things that the heart finds its borning and is refreshed. (Gibran)

Good Job.


brendan

12 June, 2008 19:01

 
OpenID inspectorgadget said...

Oi - I have a home made haircut!

12 June, 2008 22:59

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, I have a home made "haircut" too! I trim the split ends when need be, and my daughter does my roots, cos I is poor and on benefits for the "crime" of being treated badly as a child, and an adult, which caused disabling illness. I hope the boy fares better than myself, poor lad.

The care and interest you showed the boy will probably be one of his positive memories. One that he can hold on to, when times are grim, because someone was kind to him, and more importantly actually helped him get out of an unhappy situation.

Fat social workers sitting there taking notes, is humiliating for the child and the parent, and should be banned as degrading.

Did anyone help the mother with the cause of her distress, which drove her to take drugs to block it out? From what I know of social workers, they appear to take comments out of context, twist things and actually cause a lot of trouble because of the "spin" they put on things.

I noticed last year on coppersblog that the attitude to "mispers" was harsh and uncaring, dismissive even. A child who runs away from home or "care" is quite clearly suffering extreme distress. Otherwise they would stay put, where they feel loved, fed and happy.

Good on you Ellie, for showing the lad some care and humanity.

12 June, 2008 23:22

 
Anonymous Dr Melvin T Gray said...

Guilty as inspectorgadget, home haircuts should not assign criminal profiles to either of us. The measure is not so much one of economy, as it is to avoid the modern Sweeney Todd liberally distributing head livestock, inoculation with tinea capitis, impetigo, S.aureus and viral infections such as Hepatitis and HIV. (Perhaps a medic could add something horrendous to the list.)

14 June, 2008 11:53

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Doc T Gray....Well I shall count myself rather fortunate in my lack of dosh for professional hair services, if that is the hazard it presents. I can think of nowt more horrendous than the diseases [bugs] you listed, and I'm no medic.

14 June, 2008 21:47

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Go on tell us how you can get HIV from a haircut. How many cases a year are there ?

15 June, 2008 05:50

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Many males have the back of the neck shaved which contaminates blades and thereafter, other hairdressing equipment. As in Tattooing or common needle use by drug addicts, cross infections from carriers occurs from subsequent poor hygiene. Observe the practises in your local Barber's shop if you need to be further convinced.

15 June, 2008 08:53

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm on the verge of tears PC Bloggs. Thankyou SO MUCH for treating that boy like a human being and not a waste of time and space. Too often I hear children like that dismissed as bad lots because you know right and wrong by that age. I really am so grateful to you for making the best difference that you could to that lad's life.

Sarah

15 June, 2008 14:33

 
Blogger Unresponsive said...

Those 5 minutes with your radio turned down were probably the only 5 minutes he has ever been given.

That was a good thing you did.

15 June, 2008 18:51

 
Anonymous TheBinarySurfer said...

I guess that comes under making the best of a bad situation. Some poor kids never really get a chance at "the good life".

And IG: So theres a reason you hide your head in those photo's aside from anonymity (spelling)?

15 June, 2008 22:28

 
Blogger staghounds said...

He does.

17 June, 2008 20:27

 

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