Unforseen consequences…

My routine before I go to work is, I guess, pretty mundane… I get up 7.15 ish…get the kids their breakfast, sort their lunches out, fees the cats, drive the kids to school…I then shower, eat my breakfast… And…catch the train to work.

Sometimes I do other stuff…you know, shop…etc…I prepare myself for the day by focusing on what I need to do…paperwork, enqs etc.

I never think “I know…today at work I am going to kill someone”…

Nobody does.

In 23-years I’ve never seen an officer hit a prisoner without good reason…never seen a prisoner that was calm be: hit, tasered, batoned, CS sprayed…

I see that once again officers are in the frame over a death in custody…

Sean Rigg, 40, who was schizophrenic, died from a cardiac arrest at Brixton police station in August 2008.

Following him kicking off he was restrained…prone for 8-mins…

Excited delirium…poor chap. He was not a well man…but really, what do we do with them?

Taser? Possibly… It stops the jumping about…

For me…it really brings home just how alone we are on patrol sometimes… I have to deal with people like this chap on a regular basis…and I’ve had them kick off and had to restrain them with other officers…

Let’s be clear: any one of them could have died.

They could have had an un-diagnosed heart condition…or other CV problem that causes strain on the heart.

…and no matter what…it would have been my fault.

No matter what they had done; what their behaviour was; no matter how gently I dealt with them…

Court always seem to put the onus of blame onto us…

This makes us more risk adverse…

I wonder where it will end?



41 responses to “Unforseen consequences…

  1. When someone is suffering from that condition it is impossible to diagnose it. They are violent, a danger to themselves, officers and others and need to be restrained. Unfortunately restraining someone effectively means they need to be taken to the ground where they will be pinned. The longer they fight or resist the longer they will be in a dangerous position. If something tragic happens to them then it is not the fault if the officers. If people want to keep blaming police officers for such tragic incidents maybe we should just stop restraining dangerous people, let them go on their way and deal with them once they’ve calmed down. In the mean time just hope that they don’t hurt anyone else or themselves.

    • Brief Encounter

      I agree.

      What immediately came to mind sounds medieval but here we go anyway. Such people could be manacled wrist and ankle to a padded board which can then be raised into a say 45 degree angle. Legs apart arms at either side. This would might prevent any positional asphyxia problems, I say might because I am not an expert but at least it would prevent the need to hold a person in a particular position.

      The person then needs prompt medical assessment and to protect police this should be an independent assessment if feasible.

      In my mind these people when in such a delirious state are ill and should be treated elsewhere by independent healthcare staff. The only trouble is that at least one officer per shift will be taken off street duty to guard that person in hospital.

      Before arrival at the station or hospital full use of body cams will protect officers.

  2. 10 miserable years to go

    You would have thought that someone somewhere would have noticed that it tends to be steroided up people, pissheads and gearheads that die in custody. Usually after fighting with either each other, police, or both. Maybe, just maybe, its their lifestyle that’s causing their deaths and fuck all we can do about it. Shame no-one with rank has got the balls to point this out.

    Oh and a possible 1st depending on who’s awaiting moderation….

  3. Frankly it’s about time some senior officers grew a pair and said just that, publicly, in response.

    But they won’t.

  4. Keeping ANYONE prone for with someone on top of them for 8 minutes risks killing them since they will have great difficulty breathing.

    • Well maybe they should stop fighting and comply. As soon as they are properly restrained then role them onto thier side. Properly restrained will certainly mean them being cuffed (to the rear) and maybe use of an emergency restraint belt to secure the legs. Until they are restrained as detailed as above then there is a risk if them being prone for sometime. In that position they can not lash out so easy and it minimises the risk of them spitting and biting and I am not going to take the risk of them doing that to me. Or maybe as I previously suggested we should just let violent people who want to fight go on their merry way.

  5. Everyone is expert in policing but us.
    The poor man died and I feel sorry for his family but what would they have done? Apart from call the police?
    Fact is they did there best in a very difficult situation and were a man died because of circumstance they couldn’t possibly have known about. Now it’s all being second guessed by so called experts ( who have I’m guessing never had to make a decision like this whilst under real pressure trying to restrain a fully from man) that are using the benifit of hindsight to beat the police down.

    Interesting the government a very keen to tell the police how to do there jobs after things have gone wrong but not so keen on telling the banks or the media. Maybe the Fed should fire a few political party donations to the government, seems to have worked for others ( I do now it can’t just making a point)

  6. So much for freedom of speech and for the record the officers are not being treated differently from other mops who are suspected of causing a death.

    • Freedom of speech? Should apply to all eh? We don’t have it at the moment…
      Our job is I’m many ways harder than a soldiers. I have done both. It’s easier to kill than to restrain (obviously from a logistical point of view)…
      I dealt with a chap that kicked off like this after he was cuffed only the other day..he was only a little bloke but it took 4 of us to hold on to him… He was kicking us, trying to bite us, headbutt us.he spat at us (got me in the face)…it turned out later he was out of his face on crack…
      Thing is…he could have easily died…all that strain on his heart…it’s simple when you think about it-if you have a police force where 99% are not armed or equipped with taser, the only way to subdue people is with bodily force… You get what you want…give us more effective ways of protecting ourselves and controlling people and we will have less deaths like this. End of..

    • There is no such thing as freedom of speech in this country. If you look at the human rights act there is freedom of expression not freedom of speech.

      So you say that police officers are not being treated any differently to members of the public who cause a death. How many members of the public have to or are willing to restrain violent, dangerous individuals who would happily rip their heads off? Not many. But if you want police officers treated the same when something unfortunate happens during an arrest then maybe we should all stop trying to restrain violent people. If that happened it would be the likes you who suffer in the long run.

  7. When our force introduced CS spray, a Ch Supt was interviewed on local radio about it and he was asked what about the effects on someone who suffered from asthma. His reply was to advise asthma sufferers not to commit violent crime. Interview ended very soon after that!

  8. Bettinson should face prosection other officers have after they have resigned. I hate double standards

  9. The ins and outs of this persons death will no doubt go on for some time. I agree that we are always the fall guy when it goes pear shaped and we are the easiest to blame. However these officers have been arrested for perjury/pervert course of justice which suggests that while what they did may not have been good enough (in the eyes of the Coroner) it is alleged that they lied(to protect themselves?). If this is the case then, well we sometimes dont help ourselves.

  10. Brief Encounter

    You guys need every piece of equipment, every training course going, support of medical and psychiatric services and most of all you need the support of the public. Having body cams will help but you need someone rooting for you.

  11. Brief Encounter

    You should set up your own staff association you could call it Starship no that’s not the word, what is it? It’s similar though union starship? No not that, Borg starship? No. I think it starts with an F…….

  12. Brief Encounter

    If only they would…..

  13. Brief Encounter

    Well planned advertising campaigns do work though, you just need an organisation to do it for you, now what was it called? My mum was in something called the Gas Federation. Umh gas no that isn’t the word I am looking for.

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