Wednesday, June 06, 2007

 

You do not have to say anything... It's probably best if you don't

Another eventful night at the kiddie disco last week.
There's definitely fewer child drunks these days. Fine by me, vomit-dodging loses its appeal surprisingly quickly. Sadly they've graduated to just repeatedly beating the sh*t out of each other and then getting into trouble with the police. Oh to be young.

Actually, I had a lot of fluorescent-stab-vest-wearing officers of the law traipsing through my first aid room, leaving their helmets in corners and then having to be reminded where they put them. Three of my patients had dealings with the local constabulary:

A 12-year-old boy was brought in by security. Their verdict: pissed. Our suspicions: possible excessive alcohol consumption resulting in an unsteadiness on the feet, disorientation and a glazed expression. Oh, and also causing him to repeatedly shout "This is BULLSHIT man! Why'm I in here?

Club staff did what they always do in these situations, and try to contact a parent. Unable to do so, they decided to rope in two of the friendly policemen outside the club (they pay for a presence outside the club). They did this immediately rather than having it as a last resort, as there was a bit of a zero-tolerance attitude, e.g. "You smell of weed. You're not coming in" to someone who was carrying no drugs and wasn't in the slightest bit high.

The police managed to get hold of Mum, and agreed that the little guy would be picked up from their van outside - just as well as he was seriously disrupting the rest of the room. Oh, and he'd just decided to fall rather suddenly sideways off his stool, only avoiding the floor due to some swift thinking on my part ["Nice catch"] We were still fairly sure it was just alcohol, but we weren't certain it was alcohol as he was denying it, although I had thought I'd smelt it on his breath. He was walked/dragged to the police van with one of us following.
Then I had a sudden training flashback. Aggressive... mood swings... sweaty... appearing to be intoxicated despite not having drunk alcohol... an odour on the breath... Could I be seeing hypoglycaemia and failing to recognise it?
I dashed after the policemen and their small charge:
"Do you have diabetes?"
"Uh..."
Policeman: "This is really important. Answer the man."
"Do you have diabetes?"
"Yes! Um... I mean, no! I'm allergic to crabs!"
Gave us all a laugh, but we were a bit worried. When the police had run a check on him, his record had an 'ailment' mark on him. The nature of the ailment couldn't be shared with the officers out in the field, but we did wonder whether it could be causing his erratic behaviour. Because the police are not in the habit of 'hoping everything's OK' when they have a 12-year-old boy in their care who appears to be slipping in and out of consciousness [except for retaining some muscle tone in his grip on his phone], they decided to request an 'ambo'.

Whilst waiting for the crew, our patient decided to carry on with the 'unconscious' act. Quite convincingly, as he pitched face-first onto the pavement from his seat on the side door step of the police van. He then failed to respond to pain, giving my colleague a bit of a scare. Fortunately at that point the NHS crew arrived, administered a sternal rub, and established he was, quite simply, inebriated [probably Jack Daniels by the smell of his breath, they thought]

I wasn't there, but I heard his mother didn't seem that bothered that her son was lying on the pavement between a police van and an ambulance with assorted emergency services and voluntary ambulance service personnel surrounding him.

Meanwhile back upstairs someone had injured their hand. How? Punched someone. Two icepacks later, and the police came round for a 'chat' They were still interviewing the assaulted person when we left over an hour later. So that was the second casualty placed under the supervision of the boys in blue.


Two very tearful girls were brough to us, with blood on their clothes. Smeared mascara was everywhere. On further examination and after clearing the mascara, we were dealing with one cut lip and one wonky nose which was bleeding profusely. Two girls had taken offence at the request not to dance so close, and in pulling them off her friend [cut lip] one of them had got quite a few punches for her trouble. As well as the misplaced nose, once she'd turned to walk away, the attacker had grabbed her hair and punched her a couple of times in the back of the head. Charming.

The police took details, but as after a dozen walks round the club with security the less-injured girl couldn' t spot her attackers, they were honest:
"They're probably long gone. If they've any sense, they'll have walked out the doors before security had any idea they'd done it. They'd have to be very silly to hang around. However, children don't always think logically..."

Just in case their attackers were still in the club, the two victims were placed behind the desk in the ticket office to watch the people streaming out. I was out of the first aid room doing something else towards packing up, and as I walked past, there was a shout of "that's them!" and both assaulted girls burst into tears. Evidently the two suspects were particularly dim. Very dim it would appear from what happened next.

The two girls who matched the earlier description, but had proved elusive on the dancefloor were apprehended and guided into a side room. Which happened to be the first aid room.
Police officer: "Do you know why you're here?"
"Yes"
"Why's that then?"
"Bit of a scuffle on the dancefloor"
"Well, there's been an accusation made of Actual Bodily Harm. I'm arresting you both on suspicion of actual bodily harm. You do not have to say anything, but it may harm your defence if you do not say when questioned something which you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be taken down in evidence against you. Do you understand?"
"Yes." "Yes."
"How old are you?"
"15." "15."
Ever been arrested before?
"No." "No."

What was startling was the calmness and nonchalance of the two girls being arrested. They'd basically admitted the crime to a police officer, had probably been caught on CCTV, and had two victims who were wanting to press charges.
Sadly it would appear they were probably too young to realise the impact of their actions on the rest of their lives.

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Comments:
What a jolly exciting night. Is this what happens to the kids i teach during the day?
 
Mimi: Quite possibly, during the school holidays anyway. During term time it's probably cider & WKD in the park.
 
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