Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Working with Partners

I get a call to help out. In the front office of the police station we have a young mother, a Social Worker and a lady from a women's hostel. The young mother and her boyfriend have had a row and he has taken their 13 month old daughter to his mothers address nearby and says he is keeping her. They want the police to go and seize the child and hand her to the mother.

I ask some pertinent questions. I am nice and polite and want to create a good impression with these partners. The lady from the hostel is rude and ignorant. She clearly hates men and loathes the police, so I have no chance. The Social Worker is polite but naive in the extreme.

I explain that we have no power to just go and seize this child. The lady from the hostel has the simple view that the child belongs with its mother and no man is fit to be looking after her. Clearly not been on the police Diversity Course. Perhaps we could offer her a space and build relationships?

I know the lad who is the father. He has been in a bit of trouble but he is not bad and I know I can talk to him. I tell them that the Social Worker and I will go and visit dad, while mum and hostel lady can park up nearby and we will see how we get on. I go to the door with the Social Worker, it is answered by the lad. The Social Worker immediately says. " We've come to take Kylie (not real name) away." The lad says. "You can fuck off." And slams the door shut. I suggest to the Social Worker that perhaps that was not the best opening line. I will speak to the lad alone. I knock again, get invited in, The lad is their with his mum. The child is fine and being well looked after. After a cup of tea and a chat he agrees that he cannot look after the child. He has work in the morning and it would be best to hand her over to her mother. I call Social Worker in and child is taken to mum. Sorted. Hostel lady is still scowling.

I quite like working with partners generally, but many of them are ignorant, useless, bigoted and rude. If I behaved like that I have no doubt they would make an official complaint about me. The police tend to accept this behaviour from partners as if we are in some way deserving of it. I didn't complain about these people. Perhaps I should have?


  1. The only 'partner agency' that I find to be routinely helpful and friendly are the LAS. Everyone else seems to see us as useful idiots, worthy only of rudeness, contempt or just dumping work on.

  2. "Clearly not been on the police Diversity Course."

    That made me laugh in its context : ) This was such a funny post about what must a pretty tedious aspect of your job, its awesome that you retain your sense of humor. Thanks for the chuckle!

  3. We exist to nothing but the bidding of our Partners and Government- or so they seem to think.

  4. "After a cup of tea and a chat..." haha! I wonder if this would ever happen here in America. I can't even picture my small-town suburban cops doing it

  5. Perhaps I should have?

    Would it have got you anywhere? Do they even have a complaints procedure? I bet your force has.

  6. It is the uniform, all decent folks hate plod.

  7. I assume this was before 5 pm - otherwise you would never have got the "partners" to come out, even if there was a child at risk!

  8. It's the same on my area. I tend to have to deal with institutional rather than individual incompetence but we're increasingly getting the impression that social services, mental health teams and hospitals are dumping a lot of their responsibilities on us.

    Here, as with MPS Probbie, the Ambulance service are the exception.

    Is there someone in your force responsible for liaising with these agencies? Is it worth writing to that person?

  9. Absolutely - you should have complained about her scowling, bullying manner. You should have said that you felt intimidated by her unprofessional manner trying to make carry out illegal acts - you know that you really want to do it. Give them a taste of their own medicine.


  10. One of the first things I was taught at Bar School when we did negotiation was that the aggressive approach rarely gets you anywhere. I'm always amazed how many people manage to turn seeing a policeman minding his own business into their being arrested for no reason.

    The social worker sounds very naive if she thinks that sort of approach will work on somebody who is clearly angry and upset and who wants to be with his child.

    Well done to you is all I can say.

  11. I'm just curious. The child was being cared for and in no danger. What would have happened had the lad refused to hand over the child?

  12. The police have no power to remove a child from one parent and hand it to another, in these circumstances. The mother would have had to go to the family court and it would have been for a judge to decide where the child should reside.
    If the police had grounds to believe the child was at serious risk of harm with the father they could take the child into 'police protection.' They would then have to liaise with Social Services and the child could either be given to the mother or put with foster parents until the family court decided where the child should reside. Lex