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Force 'plainly found the whole episode trying and frustrating'


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Judge concerned after 'highly-disturbed' 11-year-old boy restrained for extended period by police.

Mr Justice MacDonald: Police felt it was

 Mr Justice MacDonald: Police felt it was "not their job" to deal with the situation and thought that care professionals involved were "mishandling" the incident

Date - 29th July 2019
By - Nick Hudson - Police Oracle
3 Comments3 Comments}

 

A High Court judge has voiced concerns over the “nature and extent” of restraint used by police on a slight and highly-disturbed epileptic 11-year-old boy.

Mr Justice MacDonald said the unnamed force had "plainly" found the whole episode – published online following a Family Division hearing – "trying and frustrating".

The judge said the boy, who has a complex range of behaviour difficulties, was carried to an ambulance and kept in handcuffs and leg restraints for an “extended period” until he arrived at a hospital.

Police removed leg restraints so that he could walk into the hospital but he was kept in handcuffs until he calmed down.

The judge has raised concern about the incident after being asked to make decisions about the boy's care.

He analysed the case at a recent private hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London and has outlined detail in a ruling published online.

Mr Justice MacDonald said the boy could not be identified in media reports of the case but said social services bosses at Barking & Dagenham Council in London had responsibilities for his welfare.

The judge said he had concluded that the boy should go into long-term council care.

He has not identified the police force involved.

The judge said the boy had gone into temporary council care and earlier this year been placed at a specialist "therapeutic" residential facility.

He said police had become involved after the boy's behaviour "escalated" when at a school in March.

The judge said staff caring for the boy had placed him in "holds" four times before he arrived at the school, because of difficulties with his behaviour.

His behaviour had "escalated considerably" when he arrived at the school and "further holds were applied", said the judge.

While being held he had suffered a seizure.

Paramedics were called, then they called police.

Police had handcuffed the boy and fitted leg restraints – officers said such moves were necessary because he was lashing, and kicking, out.

Mr Justice MacDonald said police had "plainly" found the episode "trying and frustrating".

They felt that it was "not their job" to deal with the situation and thought that care professionals involved were "mishandling" the incident.

One officer said he had sworn at the boy when trying to calm him.

"The situation that arose (in) March must give cause for concern given the nature and extent of the restraint used, in particular the fact that there came a point when (the boy), a slight and highly-disturbed 11-year-old child, was handcuffed and placed in leg restraints by the police for an extended period, including during his transport to hospital," said Mr Justice MacDonald.

"Whilst the situation was clearly challenging for all involved, it is plain that it had an understandably adverse emotional impact on (the boy)."

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Why did we even turn out never mind take responsibility? We are our own worst enemy at times. There were clearly staff there trained in therapeutic restraint and there was a paramedic on scene. We had no additional skill to offer so leave them to it. 

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59 minutes ago, SD said:

Why did we even turn out never mind take responsibility? We are our own worst enemy at times. There were clearly staff there trained in therapeutic restraint and there was a paramedic on scene. We had no additional skill to offer so leave them to it. 

Absolutely right. Someone should have got a grip of this in the control room and declined to attend.

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55 minutes ago, Sceptre said:

Absolutely right. Someone should have got a grip of this in the control room and declined to attend.

 

1 hour ago, SD said:

Why did we even turn out never mind take responsibility? We are our own worst enemy at times. There were clearly staff there trained in therapeutic restraint and there was a paramedic on scene. We had no additional skill to offer so leave them to it. 

Probablytbecause police is seen as the 1st emergency service and even though there may have been others with more relevant training, there tends to be an expectation that police will take the lead and make decisions for the other services present. Yes there are exceptions but as a trend police decisions tends to take primacy.  
Perhaps things may have differed, had police been pro-active by asking the paramedics etc to lead and to see their decision making as the lead.  
Police can be their own worst enemy (as above) by expecting, assuming and taking the lead, whatever the occasion.

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Well we know who to call nest time now don't we - the man with all of the answers Mr Justice MacDonald.

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I find this difficult to understand. All the response ambulances I have seen have stretchers with restraints, should they be needed. The whole thing also shows how ineffectual  the Social Services are.

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2 hours ago, David said:

Well we know who to call nest time now don't we - the man with all of the answers Mr Justice MacDonald.

Or....leave it to those who can do it and not pretend we (cops) know all the answers. It clearly wasn’t and emergency incident and there was time to consider all options. One of which was to do nothing.

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I can’t help but think we can thank the ridiculous THRIVE model for this sort of thing, this is why we attend a huge proportion of incidents where we either shouldn’t be attending in the first place or simply putting the phone down on people. 

The model means we end up going to things like this but often don’t bother sending officers to actual crimes.

The cops have been placed in a difficult situation. Clearly restraint was required. I would imagine from experience everyone stepped back and looked at the cops to actually get hands on.

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1 hour ago, Hyphen said:

I can’t help but think we can thank the ridiculous THRIVE model for this sort of thing, this is why we attend a huge proportion of incidents where we either shouldn’t be attending in the first place or simply putting the phone down on people. 

The model means we end up going to things like this but often don’t bother sending officers to actual crimes.

The cops have been placed in a difficult situation. Clearly restraint was required. I would imagine from experience everyone stepped back and looked at the cops to actually get hands on.

Whilst I agree there was nothing stopping cops from walking away. I’ve been to a similar job (Autistic kid kicking off and special school couldn’t control him). We helped corral him into a classroom and as expected the staff then stepped back and asked what our plan was. They were told we were there to support them NOT take over so what was THEIR plan. Lots of bluff and bluster later they finally accepted their fate and resolved the issue themselves.

You can be polite offer support and still say no.

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