“It’s not a police job” – but we needed to solve a problem
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Lying in the street in front of cars, throwing rocks at passing vehicles, verbally abusing local residents, and causing damage to public property – this just a snapshot of anti-social behaviour caused by one boy in the space of a few months.
The local community was being blighted by this behaviour, and we understand when people may have wondered why we weren’t doing anything.
Well, it might be that you just didn’t see it.
Officers from the local Neighbourhood Policing Team (NPT) in his area were constantly intervening, he was given warning letters, removed from situations we were called out to, and we worked with the school and other agencies to put further support in place.
Then late last year, the behaviour escalated, and in just one 24-hour period, we received 15 calls about separate incidents.
So we called in other services, including the housing team at the local authority and social services, and met with him and his family the same day.
As with a lot of cases, there was an underlying issue, in this case, a need for medication to manage a condition which contributed towards his behaviour. But we quickly found out that the medication had ran out and replacements not organised, coinciding with the escalation in issues.
We helped his family fill an emergency prescription that day – including our officer driving to the pharmacy to collect it.
Some people might ask why we did this, and suggest that it’s “not a police job” – and it’s simple. This is problem solving policing.
We won’t do this in general – there are health services and support available, and indeed they were brought in to provide education to the family – but the issues we were seeing had a direct correlation with the lack of the right medication. Ensuring that was managed meant one of the underlying issues leading to the ASB was tackled to prevent offending and make the community a safer and happier place to be.
And it was a good decision.
Since we intervened, there have been no more calls for service relating to this boy. We hope it stays that way, but we’re ready to step in if we’re needed.
We are not naming the local area or people involved to ensure that the boy’s anonymity remains, but we hope that by sharing this story, we can show you a snapshot on some of the work that goes on to keep you safe that you won’t know about.