Archive for December 1st, 2010

December 1st, 2010

Here comes another policy change

Posted in The Job - General by 200

‘Concern for Welfare’ is one of those dreaded calls. This is generally where someone calls up worried about someone they know or are related to. They fall into many categories, the most regular calls are to people threatening suicide. They usually call us (or the ambulance) themselves. These are the people who generally will never commit suicide but just crave attention. People who commit suicide or with the real intention of committing suicide just go & do it without focusing attention on themselves. They might leave a message, but they generally go off & do it without fanfare.

Another other common concern for welfare are the teenagers who decide not to stick to their parents’ rules & just fuck off out for the evening. Usually the parent/s ring the police & expect the local constabulary to drop what they’re doing to go & find their offspring.

The other main category is people who can’t get a reply from a house they expect someone to be inside. Usually older folk, it’s often a carer or neighbour who calls us. They have gone round to see the person as usually, who, for whatever reason, doesn’t answer the door. The police are called.

The other, similar, call we get is to abandoned 999 calls. We get many abandoned 999 calls each day. Most are either children playing with the phone, usually babies & toddlers who are allowed to play with a live telephone & end up pressing the 9’s until they make a call. The operator is duty bound to pass the call through to the police id the call comes from a residential property & we are duty bound to do something about it, often we just ring back & speak to an embarrassed parent who apologies profusely & promises not to let their kid play with the phone again.

Other 999 calls are kids who think it’s a good idea to dial 999, shout ‘cock’ down the line & hung up. We also get calls from people who are embroiled in some kind of domestic with their kids or partner & threaten to dial 999 in an effort to gain some advantage, they then dial the number & hang up not realising the call will be connected.

The other one is silent calls. These are a pain when you ring it back & nobody answers or the phone is engaged. Even more so when you can’t get through after several tries. It means you have to send an officer round.

The pain arises when you get round there & can’t get a reply & find no signs of life. You have to make a judgement about whether it is like 99.999% of all similar calls & perfectly explainable or whether someone is lying inside the house, either dead or dying.

Which houses to you break into & leave the householder with a large bill, or the taxpayer, & which ones do you write off as just another ‘line fault’, child playing or mistake (it’s amazing how many women dial 999 while dusting their phone).

Wiltshire Police will, no doubt, be changing their policy after a man died following several 999 calls. He had called 999 threatening to self-harm. Ambulance crew attended, presumably with police, and it was felt no further action was required. He then dialled 999 3 more times, the first 2 he said nothing & police were not despatched. After a 3rd silent call police attended & found him collapsed. He died some days later.

The IPCC have recommended changes to the way Wiltshire deal with abandoned 999 calls.

I’m guessing that from now if you dial 999 & fail to speak, expect to have your windows put in by the old bill.