Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Quiet Night In

A recollection from the custody desk. It started with me thinking the foolish thought "It's quite quiet tonight"...

Cue a Pc come in through the back (prisoner) entrance with a slightly harangued look about him. "Sarge.........."

They had a prisoner who was a complete nutcase. He'd been arrested in a domestic violence context and he had previous recorded history of being exceptionally violent towards police. The Pc was just about finished explaining this previous history (quite handy that he found out beforehand, quite often I found out a bit too late) when I hear a massive commotion going on in the yard. Next thing the door crashes open and 4 Pc's are literally carrying in this bloke who is shouting at the top of his lungs, screaming obscenities about what he would do to us if he found us alone, whilst trying to get a limb free to kick or punch anyone with range.

Did I say it was a quiet night? Damn it.

My first thought is annoyance. Not because of the noise level suddenly going from quiet hum to screaming filth, but because he was secure in the van and I was going to go out and speak to the lad to talk to him and gauge him for myself. I have to be professional with even the worst most deserving arrestees because I am now responsible for them whether they or I like it or not and building up some kind of rapport with prisoners can prevent a whole load of conflict happening. So long as he knows that I'm in charge but not looking to do his legs.

Anyway that option has been taken from me so I quickly extract myself from desk and supervise them taking him to a cell. Coppers can be prone to having too much adrenaline when they have a violent prisoner (especially if he's been violent towards them) but I have to keep them reigned in and make sure things are done properly.

He's safely deposited in the cell. I hear from the arresting officer the justification for the arrest. He'd gone out, got drunk, got back, thrown his partner around the room before (literally)throwing out of the house nigh naked with threats of serious injury should she return tonight.

I'm supposed to give through a number of procedures with every arrestee but there is thankfully a clause which says if he's too violent then it can be delayed. I decide waiting a while will be the best option. While he's still drunk it'll be fairly fruitless

I give my jailers the glorious responsibility of checking on him every 15 minutes while I keep an eye on the CCTV monitor, and call in a doctor to make sure he's fit to be detained. I haven't seen any reason for why he should need a hospital trip but in the current climate where it's my job on the line I call in the FME, so if he does have a hidden heart defect or has taken a dangerous combination of drugs, then it'll be the medical expert explaining himself to a court, not me.

I then have to write a tome on the blokes custody record as to why he got taken straight to cell, the details of every officer involved in doing so, and why I'm delaying informing him of his rights and entitlements. There's about 30 cameras with sound recording in the custody suite and I'm very tempted to write "look at the bleeding video" but decide against it.