Last night I had the opportunity to visit the local policing team in Worcester. Every opportunity like this is a window into another world – I’m struck by the bravery and compassion of these men and women. We generally sleep at night with little thought about what these people do for us.
The police don’t operate in a vacuum, they work with all manner of social and health services. Case in point witnessed 1am last night: a man was reported to be suicidal by his friends and could not be seen. Our patrol car was dispatched and streets combed until he was found. He was assessed and the police officers made a judgement that he needed to be seen by a mental health professional. Mental health services at the hospital don’t admit people at night. A police cell or waiting room at the station was not the right place for this man so he was taken to hospital and the officers would have to wait with him until morning. Care and compassion bordering on social work.
And yet these same people also need to be tough enough to break up a fight, arrest drunk and drug related people on the street. I’m told it’s not uncommon to be injured. Some (many?) officers have several trips to hospital each year. This was staggering but not as staggering as the way they told me that this was normal.
I’m in awe and full of respect.