A little while ago I was on duty when a call came out, it was a social worker ringing us. She'd been around to speak with 'J', she had gone to 'J's flat to inform her that social services were taking her child off her. Upon being told this she had ran off in a distressed state and the social worker was now concerned for her.
I've had previous dealings with 'J' and had a little knowledge of the situation so I attended. 'J' is a funny sort if she hadn't been raised on a diet of cigarettes and take away meals she probably would be quite pretty, but this life style had left her gaunt and pale. Although she was almost thirty she had the frame of a teenager and if it wasn't for the tobacco stained teeth she'd pass for twenty. She was always very quiet and almost withdrawn.
The reason I know 'J' is because about October last year she attended the station with a broken jaw, in fact it was broken in three places. She told me it was her on/off partner 'T'. He'd got pissed one night, punched her in the face and kept her locked in the house all night and all the next day without any medical treatment. Just imagine enduring the pain of a broken jaw for 24 hours without so much as an asprin. Eventually he left and she ran to her friends house who took her to hospital. Whilst there she claimed she fell off a chair whilst decorating. A week after this her friend persuaded her to report it to the police.
I found out later from her friend that she'd been reluctant to contact the police because she knew if social services found out the child was there while all this was happening they'd take the child away at that time. 'J' told me the child wasn't there that night and he was at her friends, her friend was supposed to tell me this version as well but told me the truth.
So here she was barely able to talk, I took the statement, crimed it as a section 18 and unlawful imprisonment. I informed CID, hoping they would take it on, but as soon as I mentioned it was domestic related they didn't want to know. I then began trying to track down 'T', unfortunately 'T' was a habitual criminal and as soon as he found out we were after him he went to ground.
I tried every thing, circulated him on PNC, enquires at all his associates, DWP checks. I spent several mornings in plain clothes waiting for him to sign on at the job centre. I even put him on the crimestoppers website and arranged for an appeal on the local news version of crimewatch. But not a peep.
Then on Christmas eve, he was stopped drink driving fantastic! I was off over Christmas so CID agreed to take it on. When I returned I checked with CID as to how they got on.
The reply? 'J' had dropped the complaint!!! The reason? He'd managed to convince her he loved her and wouldn't do it again. Typical!
Anyway back to this call, just after I arrived the duty inspector arrived. We spoke with the social worker and 'J's support worker who were at scene. They rang her mobile and persuaded her to return, which she did.
Upon her return the social worker explained they were taking her son into care because 'T' had continued to abuse her and this made the home an unsafe place for the child to live.
I looked at her and felt like saying 'If only you'd followed through with your complaint, this would never have happened because he'd be inside right now'
I didn't say it. I didn't need to.
I looked at her, she already knew that.