It’s not as we know it…

Last night it dawned on me… and then I fell into utter confusion again.  I joined the police to… wait for it, yes, ‘to help people’ and I have come to work for the past 27 years on continual shifts and on front line in order to do that, and there is nothing more exciting and satisfying than walking away, looking back and seeing the smile on a previously frightened face. But that seems to be disappearing and without me having noticed it.

Society seems to have changed, respect is disappearing fast; it’s now used as a badge to warrant hurting someone, not to be a reminder to be kind to people.

I find myself and my colleagues attending the same addresses time and time again.  We are the parents that come along and bring order to the chaos, but it comes with a whole lot of risk assessment and statistic collecting in order to show we’ve done all we can if it all goes badly wrong one day.  Reading my thoroughly respected (in true meaning!) colleague Commander John Sutherland’s book ‘Blue , A Memoir’ he writes,

“Domestic Violence is terrorism on an epic scale, a disease of pandemic proportions – and the single greatest cause of harm in society…”

Something is wrong with society.  We pull together when necessary in times of crises such as the Grenfell Tower fire, and the latest terrorist attacks in London and Manchester, and maybe that’s it, maybe we haven’t had sufficient disasters and trauma in our country to remind us we are caring human beings who need each other.

Nightly, I hear of my colleagues going to the same addresses, with the drunk occupants arguing and fighting, and then, as with last night, turning on the officers who were trying to help.  At some point, those drunk and often very violent victims lost control.  It could have been sexual abuse as a child, domestic abuse that has continued its life long strangle on them, or they could have simply enjoyed the trappings of life and fell into alcoholism unable to hold a job down.

Whatever it was, there are a lot of victims out there and there aren’t so many cops to put a plaster on it any more.  There is incredible work with the police and all the agencies pulling together as a community should do, and they find the cause, and they tackle it, so the offender’s stop being offenders and the victims are shown the path to avoid becoming a repeat victim. Often given the emotional and physical support needed to leave that abusive relationship.  But I fear it’s a drop in the ocean.

So as with last night, my colleagues and I threw our heavy BMW X5’s across the countryside for an hour to an isolated village to help another victim.  A victim who through similar reasons became drug addicts and we’re now calling on us as there were men with knives and machetes coming to collect their unpaid debt. They didn’t tell us this of course.  I turn up and when asked questions to identify who we should intercept, I am met with a, “No comment”. Yes, my victim said, “No comment”.

With ambulances having stacked up jobs to attend for similar victims, I don’t dare to tell you how many on occassion, I look around and see a mess around me.  A mess where people are taught to scream and shout and not to listen to each other, a mess where for a generation, from birth, they’ve been told to be themselves and don’t change, when in fact they need to change and stop being their vain, pompous, selfish selves, hidden behind a continuous fog of  alcohol as they get older and a generation taught not to ‘respect’ authority, but to complain against it.

Everyone seems to be vulnerable, and they all seem to be disadvantaged, and a good proportion of them are, I see that.  For those that will try to manipulate my words into saying victims have themselves to blame, be adult and read my words as they are written, not what you think they should say, but it seems that it is no longer required to at some point, take some responsibility for oneself, and not blame the police or society or anyone other than themselves.  It needs a dual approach, for society to grow some self respect again, and then for society to offer out that secure comforting arm, and lead them as a whole into a better life.  A utopia I dream of, which will never exist, but give me a few minutes to imagine if you would.

I put a tweet on recently I knew would attract lively debate at some risk to me, and it said that some were not vulnerable or disadvantaged.  Some held on to that title and stole the empathy from others more worthy.  I was told that I didn’t understand the hidden lives and perhaps so.  My experiences show me some have just learned to take and wouldn’t contemplate giving, and that’s supposed to be okay.

In the meantime, I will deal with each victim as if she was my mother in that predicament, as if he were my brother I love so dearly, and we shall just carry on.

twitter – @DC_ARVSgt

Facebook  – Sgt Harry Tangye Devon and Cornwall Police

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3 thoughts on “It’s not as we know it…

  1. You are absolutely right Sgt Harry although I would like to add a caveat to your blog.
    My experience with men in prison, a few from privileged backgrounds but not many, carry the same feelings and thoughts of not being enough, a sense of incompleteness and mainly a sense of fear, often masked by instilling fear. As one prisoner said to me only yesterday, I instilled fear in others because I felt so fearful myself.
    Addiction is an attempt at self repair and as we all know does not heal them or change anything. Only recovery does that which involves taking a deep look at emotions, thoughts and behaviours and a new cognitive way of responding and reacting to life . Their way doesn’t work yet they continue to repeat it until they have enough (or not ).
    Addiction is a habit, a learned way of responding; underlying habits that characterise addiction are often intermingled with habits born of anxiety and shame. Every prisoner I have met with addiction issues is riddled with shame.
    You, on the front line are the recipients of their fear, shame and projection. That is tough when you can see the chaos and dysfunction which belies their behaviour.
    You are right get when you say it is a societal problem – and today’s police officers like yourself and many others including John Sutherland see this on the front line daily and I hear your empathy and compassion. I also understand your sense of powerlessness and frustration at the revolving door. Until society takes the time to try and do some healing nothing much will change. My volunteer work in addiction psychology is to help break the cycle you wrote about and help repair the wounded inner child.- it is crime prevention too.
    Your actions as a police officer, your blogs, John Sutherland’s book, your tweets and messages are all part of the process of change.
    You and your officers do an amazing job in a world of policing which is far more complex, more professional , more demanding in an ever changing picture which is fast moving and where police officers are daily put on trial by social media.
    I remain in awe of all of the blue light services and I thank you too – keep blogging Sergeant Harry – your experience articulated so beautifully is part of the process of change.

    Liked by 1 person

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