Rank - SC
Experience – 14 Months
Duty – Saturday 1900-0400
I hadn’t done a Saturday night for a few weeks so I joined the same shift I’d been with in the week for a couple of duties. I include it in the blog because of one particular incident which show what factors affect the decision making process.
All timings approximate.
1900 – Get in and catch up with the shift. We are fairly flush for officers and they are catching up on paperwork as there isn’t much coming in.
2030 – My S/Insp (We’ll call him Dave) comes in and he fills me in on his Divisional meeting earlier in the week and the new intake of Specials going through training.
2100 – The Sarge asks Dave and I to go down and assist in a search so we take the big van as the rest of the shift can’t drive it anyway. Dave has IPS so we can patrol together though Specials don’t get response training. By the time we arrive there isn’t much to do, though I know one of the lads from my day job – he’s been arrested for possession of cannabis and later receives a caution.
2230 – MISPER, a teenager hasn’t met up with his foster carer as planned. She has a vague idea where he is and after 30 minutes another patrol locate him at a party. Again the Sarge askes me and Dave to go and assist.
2300 – We arrive and the lad is in the back of a patrol car, there is a gaggle of teenagers including one very drunk and vocal individual. We get him calmed down with the surprising assistance of his girlfriend who is known to us and can be a bit of a handful.
All of a sudden the lad in the car kicks off and starts trying to kick out the windows. Dave opens the door and pulls him out but he starts going for him. As I come in Dave takes him to ground but he is really going for it. Dave is underneath and I get an elbow in the face. At this point I get my spray out but I decide not to spray for two reasons. Firstly I can’t get a clear shot without giving Dave a mugful as well (and I don’t want to do that, at least not to him) and I have this sudden thought of the follow up of spraying a 14 year-old. As it happens I manage to get a cuff on and we control him – getting him cuffed and into the van. I ended up with a few bruises and I ached the next morning.
When we get to custody he has calmed down – apart from not wanting to see Dave. We calm him down further and he becomes reasonable. Another officer and I eventually run him back to his foster home.
0200-0400 Various knobbery and general stupidity in town. One arrest for assault before I got there and another for D&D as I arrived. There seemed to be an inordinate number of total idiots out and we were very busy indeed keeping a lid on things. There was one unconsciously drunk woman at the end of the night and we hang around ambulance arrive.
0400 Knock off.
I spoke to the Sarge later on and he agreed I’d have been fully justified in spraying the lad, but also agreed with my reasons for not doing so. In training we were told ‘assume everything you do is being videoed’ so I could imagine the POLICE SPRAY INNOCENT 14 YEAR OLD headlines, ignoring the fact that he was almost as tall as me (and I’m 6 foot +) and had a serious attitude problem fuelled by drink. I’m sure some people will criticise me for hesitation, I prefer to think of it as a very dynamic risk assessment, which led me to decide not to spray which I think now was the correct decision given later events.
Thanks for reading and all comments welcome