Old Boys’ Network

24May08

A long time ago when you were young and I was even younger a woman was sectioned because of Social Services. I do not know what was wrong with her or what she did. After due course the section was removed and the woman was allowed to live again as a "normal" person.

She never knew why she was sectioned and it was never explained to her by the health services or social services and quite rightly she wanted to know. She asked her doctors and social services but nobody would tell her. All she did know that it was Social Services that had instigated her sectioning in the first place.

When she received no answers to her questions she started to write to senior council managers but got know reply. She wrote repeatedly sending the letters recorded delivery to ensure that they go there. She would record all phone calls she had with the council staff. The years passed by and still she did not get the answers she was looking for. Her files of letters and taped phone transcripts were now running into volumes.

In the end she decided to write to the top bod at the council, the Chief Exec. She thought that this would be the only way she could find out why she had been sectioned all those years ago. The Chief Exec did not answer her letters so she persisted. None of the letters were threatening , insulting or distressing in any way they were just persistent. In the end after still getting no response after many months of writing letters and making phone calls to the Chief Exec the lady now very old and frail put together a dossier of all her correspondence and evidence and turned up on the front doorstep of the Council Leader’s house. She thought this would be the only way to get the answers she wanted and make the council take notice of her after all this time.

She knocked on the door and the door was answered by the Council Leader’s daughter. The old lady asked if the girls Father was at home and when the reply was yes she handed the dossier to the girl and asked her to pass it on to her father. The old lady then left. Again no threats were made, no abuse was shouted. Just the paperwork was handed over and the old lady left.

Obviously the Council Leader was quite freaked out by this as his address should not be public knowledge but it is not difficult to find out where somebody lives if you really want to know. There are plenty of public records out there to be looked through if you know where to look. Does everybody remember http://www.b4usearch.com?

The Council Leader decided to report this to the police now as harassment. It was passed on to a response officer to deal with as this type of thing usually is and the response officer issued a First Harassment Warning even though technically this was crimed as a 2+ Harassment and the offence was complete according to NCRS. The warning seem the common sense approach to take as per Sir Ronnie’s request as this was the first report that had been made to the police about the matter. The crime was then closed. Or so the response officer thought…

After the old lady was given the warning she continued to write to the Council Leader, not to his home address but through the correct channels at the Town Hall. What a mistaka to maka.

The Council Leader being a pillar of society and well respected in the fair county plays golf every 2nd Tuesday of the month with the Chief Constable. Whilst on the 7th fairway he asks the Chief if there is anything that can be done about this crazy old bat who refuses to stop writing to him. The simple answer the Chief could have given would have been to write back and answer her questions or at least acknowledge her to say the matter would be looked into. But no, the Chief says to leave it with him and he will see shat he can sort out.

Over the next few days the order filters down the ranks to the Station Inspector that this old lady has got to be arrested for harassment having continued to write after being given the harassment warning. The order lands firmly in the lap of the original response officer who gave the warning as it is his job. The officer’s sergeant is very supportive of his staff and agrees to help him with it so early one morning they attend the home address of the old lady to bring her in.

When she realises what is happening she refuses to open the door. Not wanting to look stupid as this is a very old lady the officers discreetly ask for backup and the front door is put in. The old lady is waiting for them with a knife inside the address. She obviously has no intention of using it and she is quickly disarmed by the officers and has to be literally dragged from the address. Her neighbours see this and cannot believe that the police are treating an elderly lady in this way.

The lady is then taken to the police station. The officers return to her house and conduct a Section 18 search and recover boxes full of paperwork relating to the lady’s quest for answers. Someone senior finally realises that there is too much for a lone response officer to deal with due to the mountain of evidence that has just been uncovered during the search so a DS and a couple of D’s are brought on board. After all the so called victim of this is a personal friend of the Chief.

A quick flick through some of the paperwork shows that none of it is of a threatening or abusive nature so early advice is sought from the CPS. The CPS advice is very clear. At the current time there are NO OFFENCES. Their clear instructions were to not interview the old lady at the current time and to bail her immediately. All of the documentation was then to be passed to the CPS so that it could be reviewed to see if any of it amounted to a personal harassment of the Council Leader.

As things stood at the minute, although being over persistent, all the old lady had done was to write legitimate complaint letters and request information that she was legally entitled to request. It is not possible to harass a company or organisation and a person is perfectly entitled to address their correspondence to a named person within that said organisation.

This was fed back up the ranks to the Station Inspector who called the area Super Nintendo on his radio and told him what the CPS had said. Not wanting to look stupid in front of the Chief the message came back that under no circumstances was this lady to be released that night. She would either have to be charged and remanded or sectioned again!! but she was not to be bailed.

Around about this point the custody sergeant suddenly felt ill and went home sick. He must have come down with a 24 hour bug or maybe he just didn’t want to illegally detain an elderly lady (who under normal circumstances would never have been accepted into custody in the first place) for fear of getting on the wrong side of the Chief. So a replacement custody sergeant was found.

Despite what the CPS ha said, the old lady was interviewed by the D’s but then had to be bailed later that night. I await to see if there were actually any offences.

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25 Responses to “Old Boys’ Network”

  1. 1 blueknight

    For the first part, the lady should make an official complaint to the council to the effect that she was not being given answers. Once she has done that and if she is still not satisfied she can complain to the Local Govt Ombudsman.
    For the second part all I can say is that if a Complaint Against Police is made, the wise Officers will be the ones that have a record of who said what and who did what – and when.
    However, whatever does happen Police complaintwise, you can be sure that sh*t always rolls downhill and the Chiefs never stand in the valley

  2. 2 some bloke

    While not surprised at the ladys treatment by Social Services, who like to act as a law unto themselves; I, probably naively, thought that Golf Club networking of the type described was a thing of the past.

    Please do keep this updated Bobby ( btw, has anyone advised this lady to get some free advice from a Lawyer; Freedom Of Information, Data Protection, Human Rights, Malfaesance etc. ? ).

    Some years ago an MOP escorted a clearly deranged chap into the local Police Station; as things then stood, the Officers could take no action to help the man because he was already in a ” place of safety ” ie the Police Station itself.
    They had to let him wander back out onto the public highway and advise a patrol ( returning for lunch perhaps ) to look out for any unusual behaviour which they duly did and returned him to the station using whatever powers ” for his own safety ” then available.

  3. 3 kim

    Pity she cannot sue the council…… but I suppose there is no faith in the CAB anymore

  4. 4 nightjack

    Sweet baby Jesus BD.
    This sounds like exactly the sort of political plum kicker I get paraded on for. The milk is spilled, call for a detective.

    Early CPS advice was a blindingly good move. I can see the thinking and it was dead right. Where it went wrong was referring the decision up the Police tree before the suspect was released. The best bet would have been a long Police bail date for further enquiries then tell the bosses what you have done, by the book, with informed guidance from CPS. I am sure this was the original plan, it would have been mine.

    This gives you the time to get to the bottom of things,
    a) Make the CC aware that s/he has hold of the dirty end of a stick and should let go sharpish.
    b) Advise the “victim” that they have created a P.R. ticking bomb
    c) Dust the “suspect” down and be sure that it is nothing more sinister than a just obsession. The knife wielding thing does ping my radar a bit!

    As it is, once things went upstairs the process went FUBAR. Inspector made a bad call in trying to get his /her back covered. There is no other reason for radioing the Super. The Super made a bad call in guessing what the CC would want without proper knowledge of the circs.

  5. 5 Annette

    Why don’t they just tell her.

  6. 6 TheBinarySurfer

    The “knife wielding bit” has been misconstrued in a few reports in recent times – perception is all in these matters. For all we know they may have walked in on her making a sandwich and she refused to put the knife down until they were made?

    Having dealt with social services in the past in other ways, i suspect if questions aren’t being answered it was because someone cocked up something that they don’t want the lady to know about (legal case for compensation?)…It’s really the first instinct of any public servant if they cock up – protect self by ignoring anything and everything. Above all never, ever give a straight answer.

  7. 7 cb

    I am a bit baffled because ‘Social Services’ can’t just ask for someone to be detained under a section of the Mental Health Act. It is a legal procedure and it is not done on a whim. That is illegal. Social Services might refer for for a Mental Health Act Assessment but it is at no point a decision that a social services department can make.
    It needs to be a medical judgement by psychiatrists and an Approved Social Worker who acts independently of the local authority.
    A part of the process is that she would have follow up by mental health (health – not necessarily social services) teams and depending on the section – well, I don’t imagine anyone has got this far in reading about the process because there doesn’t seem to be a lot of sympathy for the work that social services does.
    But basically there is no way that a Council Leader would know anything about the medical history of this woman.

  8. 8 Twining

    Whatever next? I think I might have said, “no,” I am not arresting the lady if there is no evidence of harassment. Is this a joke PC D?

  9. 9 Twining

    I am not surprised at the messages that flow down stream. What did Jan Berry say about balls? Clearly lacking in this case…………

  10. 10 Twining

    I thought the Custody Officer had jurisdiction over Custody, not the section Inspector? If there is no crime, then we should release without charge. What would have happened if this had become a death in custody?

  11. Twining this is not a joke. From how I understand it there was enough to get the woman in initially on SUSPICION of Harassment but following the Section 18 of her house and the type and quantity of evidence recovered it became apparent that all was not as first seemed. That is why the CPS said not to interview and to bail to allow them to review the evidence before the investigation continued. And with regards to the Custody Sergeant although (s)he has ultimate power in the custody suite, when the orders are coming down from the very top this one decided to go sick rather than stand up and enforce their said powers. Mud sticks as they say…

  12. 12 Twining

    Nomally the CPS get things wrong; but this one’s different. Some of CPS decisions are so poor one often thinks they are second hand car sales men or women not lawyers. This is brilliant.

    1 We arrest an elderly person for harassment of a counsillor.

    2 CPS say release and review, not interview.

    3 We interview.

    4 Custody officer goes sick.

    5 Replacement career cha wala is found; yes person.

    6 Counsillor is friends with Chief allegedly.

    6 Custody decisions are made by someone higher up.

  13. 13 some bloke

    “Some of CPS decisions are so poor one often thinks they are second hand car sales men or women not lawyers. ”
    Carefull Twinning; just one little comma would have the world caving in on you.

    “Some of CPS decisions are so poor one often thinks they are second hand car sales men, or women not lawyers.

  14. 14 Angry Dave

    They put her door in !!!
    Bloody hell that’s a bit much for a basic HAR S 2 job in it.
    Further on that PC needs to grow a pair – a bit of basic ground work in the begining would have established dotty old bird syndrome rather than stalker from hell.
    Quite word of advice to both parties and ditch the bloody lot.
    I can just imagine bringing in some DOB ( dotty old bird) on those grounds to my old custody skipper – in fact I can’t it’s that ridiculous.
    Ahhh- this is the sort of thing that winds me up and cost dumbshire new computer screens all the time.
    Lets stop moaning about extra work load and bosh the jobs we can as soon as we can – and this is a job waiting to be boshed if ever I saw one.
    No wonder people hate us.

  15. 15 Twining

    Twining! I meant some of the CPS…blah blah blah….

  16. When did this happen, Bobby? If it was post-SOCPA, there is no power to force entry to arrest someone for s.2 Harassment because it’s not indictable. Nor to do a s.18 search. Oh dear…

  17. Somehow i missed the point. Probably lost in translation 🙂 Anyway … nice blog to visit.

    cheers, Medicean

  18. 18 Reactive Reactionary

    I have, over the years, been “told” on several occasions to arrest someone, by sergeants, by inspectors and once by a jumped up superintendent. In each case I have simply turned and said “I don’t have any suspicion – you clearly do, I believe you have a warrant card, knock yourself out.”
    Blindly obeying orders to arrest is neither professional nor is it wise. In this instance the CC should be brought to task for showing partisanship towards his golfing buddy. I’d like to think any subsequent investigation will cost him his pension – but we all know that’s about as likely as Ali Dizei finally getting his just desserts.

  19. Old ladies up here can sleep easy….. the PF (unless he/she plays Golf) first and, if it miraculously got past that hurdle, a Sheriff would hopefully bounce any warrant application sought under the terms detailed above.

    I remember a wee acronym from Tulliallan about how a Constable (including the Chief) should conduct him/herself without FFAMI or in full: without fear, favour or affection, malice or ill-will.

  20. 20 sarah

    this story is almost identical to my own and let me tell you i was eventually charged with harassment of the social worker i tried to complain about the summons read that i pursued a course of conduct which amounted to harrassment… in that i sent letters and emails to her friends and work collegues of a defamatory nature, convicted and threatened with a custodial sentence imposed a tag for six months and a two year restraining order preventing contacting victim despite magistrates noting that there had only been two attempts at direct contact since 2006 and not since feb 2007 my case was heard in july 2008 so this poor little old lady better get a good solicitor as my LA chief exec is also secretary to the magistrates advisory committee of my local magis ct where i was convicted

    ps there has never been a hearing in the QBD re the alleged defamation the CPS established in the magis ct that the statements were defamatory

  21. 21 BHJP

    The Council’s Leader is an elected politician; his/her address is a matter of pubic record.

  22. This is like a scene from the film Brazil

  23. Speaking of an Old Boys Network, I think I have solved an old crime and as we already know.
    Oswald didn’t do it


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