Thursday, 16 August 2007

Suffer Little Children

There's been a couple of instances recently in the news where young children have been either neglected or actively abused by family members leading to the deaths of the children.

One of the things I found hardest to get to grips with after joining the job was coming face to face with this sort of depravity and not throwing the parent out of the nearest window. I couldn't understand how an adult could treat any child so badly, never mind their own. But there were lots and lots of examples of how wrong I was. Still, I never quite got used to it.

One particular time, we'd been looking for a guy who was wanted for theft and burglary and we knew he spent a lot of time at a particular house. The woman who lived there, we'll call her "Sara", was a raging heroin addict and had four kids. The youngest was still in nappies and the eldest about fourteen. Her place was basically an open house for any drug addled low life in the area and when her benefits couldn't stretch to her heroin she paid for them by whoring herself to the other users and anyone else she could find. She'd do this at home with the kiddies still in the house.

Anyway, we'd gone round there and put containment on the house to stop the bloke we were looking for skipping over the back wall. I knocked on the door and, after being told to "f*ck off" several times I persuaded Sara that it would be easier if she opened the door from the inside rather than us doing it from the outside.

I walked in and the sight I was met with was enough to block out the abuse she was giving me from about six inches away. As she called me every name under the Sun, including a few I'd never heard before, screaming into my ear I gazed around her "home".

The kitchen was covered in dirty clothes and dirty plates and pans. To the point that you couldn't see any of the work tops and most of the floor. There were flies, living and dead, all over and a small army of ants working their way around the days old rotting food. Turning left, I walked down the hall into her "living room". I call it that, but the only things actually living there were probably what Tony Blair was searching for in Iraq. The sofas were taken up by a group of heroin addicts I was on nodding terms with and they were engrossed in the football. I said hello to them as I looked behind the sofa for the chap we were looking for.

Instead, I found Sara's youngest, filthy dirty and with a nappy overflowing with piss and shit. He gave me a big smile and wave. His hands were black with ingrained dirt.

Sara's carpet was purple originally, but in most places had either worn away or was now more of a browny black colour. There was a stench of human fecaes that made me retch. I asked one of the bobbies with me to wait in the living room and I walked upstairs. Again, the carpet had all but worn away. On the landing there was an ironing board set up and, on the ironing board a large saucepan. Sticking out of the pan was a wooden spoon. I looked inside and saw it contained some rice krispies and milk that had long since gone off. The stink of the sour milk did help to cover the smell of urine from the bedrooms though so small mercies...

The bathroom was more filthy than the living room, the toilet caked in brown stains and the bath full of more dirty clothes. The bedrooms were equally bad, with matresses on the floor barely covered by dirty sheets. Again, the floors were covered in dirty clothes and half eaten takeaway meals.

Sara's room, unsurprisingly, was the cleanest of the lot. That said, it still stank of sweat, dirt and recently burned heroin. I prodded around the rooms with my stick and we eventually found the bloke we were looking for hiding in a cupboard set into the wall in one of the kid's bedrooms. Considering he was going to go to prison, he was remarkably compliant. I put this down to the fact he was close to passing out due to the smell. In fact, he perked up enough to put up a bit of a fight one he'd had some fresh air.

We obviously removed the kids that were there under a Police Protection Order and Sara kicked right off. The loving, caring mother was probably stressed about losing her child benefit payments. As I carried the toddler out (admittedly at arms length. I mean, I like kids as much as the next person but...) Sara was again screaming at me as she was held back by a bobby and one of her smack head mates. The temptation to drag her upstairs and stick her face in the pan on the ironing board was almost overwhelming.

Instead, as she followed me outside and played up to the growing audience of jeering anti-Police neighbours I instead just pointed out, loud enough for them to hear, why exactly I was taking her children away. All of a sudden the neighbours weren't quite as supportive of her.

As we drove away we felt like we'd done a good job all round and I definately didn't mind filling in the paperwork for Social Services to follow up on our P.P.O. Thing is, within a week, the kids were back living in the slum after Sara had given "assurances" to the social workers. Still, we felt like we'd done our bit and at least we knew to keep an eye on the kiddies in the future.

I bumped into her eldest not long ago. She'd left Sara's as soon as she could and got a place at a hostel for young people. She found a job and started a college course and she's doing OK. She's been in trouble once or twice, but not for anything particularly bad and I felt really proud of her. She's beaten the odds and I just hope her brothers and sisters do too.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good job mate. Taking kids from their parents is -for me- the hardest thing I've ever had to do. worse even than suicides and death messages.

You never know maybe she even cares enough about the kids that the risk of losing them again will make her clean up. Literally and figuratively.

Minty said...

Some people don't derserve kids...
Hoping "Sara's" eldest continues to buck the trend. And the others get a decent crack at life and don't become another sad enquiry into how social services could have done it better.

Girl With The Golden Touch said...

I can only repear the first line of Mintys comment. Heres hoping the other kids can follow the eldests lead.

Mika said...

Totally agree with Minty. Have just read an article about gun related crimes in the UK and increasingly it seems it is the young who are involved. Failed first by their parents and then by society/state. A loving foster parent is better than a lady such as Sara.

Annette said...

I was going to suggest sending round Kim and Aggie (how clean is your house) but she probably woudn't keep the cleaniness up.
It wouldn't take long to get back to how it is now.

Judd Corizan said...

Congratulations! This post of yours post from August 16, 2007: “Suffer the Little Children” has been selected as our Post of the Day on “The Rising Blogger”. It is a site that awards posts, not blogs. We will email your winning badge to post in your sidebar and answer any questions, if you contact us with your email address. To encourage your readers to comment on your award, it helps if you make the first comment on our post about your blog, yourself. We ask winners to nominate a post favorite of a fellow blogger. Call it “paying it forward”. Neither is a requirement. You have won this award because we truly feel you deserve it. To reach “The Rising Blogger” site:

http://therisingblogger.blogspot.com

Have a great week!
Judd Corizan
The Rising Blogger

Akelamalu said...

I just popped across from Rising Blogger to read your winning post. The award is well deserved, not only for your writing but for the job you do! It never ceases to amaze me that Social Services actually allow the children to go back to a situation that will never improve.

Alexianna said...

Hey there! I'm glad you are alright. Good to see you back.

The post is quite sad. But it's good that her eldest kid is doing better for herself. I can't imagine being forced to live in such filth, as a child. I don't know how people can be so selfish.

x

Roses said...

Typical. She gets it together to 'clean' up her act long enough to blag to Social Service and presumably life continued pretty much as normal after.

I do think the eldest doing well for herself, makes this a happier ending though. I really hope that her example is enough for the other kids to get it together.

Twining said...

Oi, Thin Blue Line, I am back too! Hope you are well.

Wozza said...

And people wonder why some kids run feral.
What I find utterly shocking is that social services gave the kids back to her. How bad, or how frequent, does the abuse have to be before they take them away for a meaningful period of time ?

Mousie said...

We'll be needing Kim and Aggie to come round here before too long - the dust will be inch-thick if you don't come back soon!

Have you run off with the chief super's wife (again)?

Your public needs you...

Anonymous said...

OO reading this reminded me of something my Policewoman friend told me. She was in a similar situation to you.. crack house, filth.. young children. While searching the house she found filthy little boy upstairs, (there was poo on the floor around the upstairs of the house!) .. She called back in to tell her superiors she was bringing a little boy OUT (admittedly she was newish to the job).. But they told her to LEAVE him.. and come back to the station now. She was told he was being kept and eye on by the Social Services and to leave them to it.

She was upset about that for weeks., and just couldn't understand why she had to leave him behind. So I dont know what happened to the PPO then?..

Area Trace No Search said...

I echo mousie (again)- where are you mate?

Winston Smith said...

Your eagerness to split up families is most disconcerting.

I wonder what sort of a sicko actually gets enjoyment out of splitting up mothers and children?

Anonymous said...

The sort of sicko that hates dead children dead from abuse and neglect.

Girl*Next*Door said...

Winston Smith, you have no idea what you're talking about. You're telling me that child would be better off living in filth, in amongst drugs & alcohol abuse? Not being clean or fed properly, cared for even? I don't think so.

Alice said...

Excellent writing, if graphic. I have surveyed buildings with animals like this infesting them, and your description of the smell takes me back.... unfortunately!

Nicholas Hough said...

Like most people have already said, firstly, Sara doesn't deserve kids. And it's also a shame that her kids ended up back with her so quickly!

However, the fact that her eldest escaped and is managing to make a life for herself now is a very, very good thing! And shows that there's hope for her children. Hope that they won't end up the same way as Sara.

Regards
Nick
http://nickhough.blogspot.com

Ron Knee said...

This I cannot understand. My daughter very nearly had her hamster taken away from her because she hadn't changed the water for for a week. Even pigs in stalls keep their offspring clean. (no pun intended)

And the sort of filth that would sit and watch the teevee knowing that there was a child in need of a wash and do nothing????

Tis a good job you do, don't let the attitude of the ungrateful few spoil your commitment, sir.