I have decided to write a blog about some of my life experiences, most of which moulded me into the woman I am today. My first is an experience from my days in the Police where I dealt with many cases involving Children. I will try hard to keep each case anonymous. If anybody reading this thinks they may have identified the incident or people involved PLEASE do not reveal any identities. I don’t want to have to deactivate my Twitter Account.
The irony of this blog is that, as I type it, I can hear “Children in Need” in the background on TV, illustrating that this is not a one off case. It was not the catalyst to write this blog as Mr M and I have been talking about it for several weeks, but again it just goes to show the fight goes on to protect all children all over the world from whatever danger they are facing.
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In hindsight, life in Magnet Mansions was never normal. My children never knew if Mummy would be home to tuck them in or indeed give them breakfast. I relied heavily on Mr M and the Au Pair to pick up the slack. I love Mr M for that deeply, he is a brilliant Father and a wonderful Husband.
It was 8am. I had coffee in my hand and was trying hard to listen to my children tell me about their last two days. They were excited to see me and even though I was exhausted I was very pleased to see them. Then the kitchen suddenly filled with the dreaded sound of my Job mobile ringing. Both of my children knew I would have to leave. I cuddled them, gave them kisses and told them we would be on our Christmas Holiday soon.
I answered the phone and walked upstairs “Sorry Katie I know you did not finish till 2 am but “They” have been found, they’re alive but in bad shape. The Officers on scene are distressed and the Locals cannot deal. There is a car on its way to collect you and the Duty Officer will meet you there.” “How long have I got “ I replied “ Ten minutes max, sorry mate I dispatched the car before the Local Officers got to the scene. Call me back when you’re on route and I will update you “. “Well I have had a coffee so I guess you’re forgiven “. I replied.
I grabbed my stuff, turned out the fairy lights on the Christmas tree and left.
I was updated in the car as it drove me to the scene. “They” were 5 children. The eldest was aged 10 and they had come to notice over 200+ times. I had sat in Case Conferences where Agencies had promised to complete actions, but No Reply Repeated Knocking, had clearly taken on another meaning to them. All I really knew before arriving at the scene was that the Local Officers were distressed, which is always a bad sign. The 10yr old had gone to a phone box in her dressing gown and called 999 to say they where home alone. The Parents/Carers had not yet been located and there was a Flagship that makes people run for the hills, there might be possible Mental Health issues.
I arrived at the scene. The car parked outside the house. It was a nice street with some lovely houses. As I gathered my things the Duty Officer walked towards me. I knew instantly he had kids, even though I had never seen him before, his look gave it away. To describe his look is difficult, he had an emptiness in his eyes, where you could tell that what he had seen would remain with him forever. He was desperate to understand. I knew his kids would have extra cuddles when he got home. I also knew if he ever saw me again the same look would drift over his face before he looked to the ground, collected his thoughts and then acknowledged me.
Briefly he told me the children were inside, they were fine but severely neglected. Social Services had just arrived. I asked why they had not been taken to Hospital but already knew the answer, no one had taken control.
As I walked towards the house I saw a young Officer clutching a wall, he had vomit on his shoes and a look that still killed me even though I had seen it so many times before. He had an expectation that I had a reason or an explanation for what he had witnessed. I opened my briefcase gave him some wet wipes to wipe his face and shoes and told him I would speak to him at the debrief.
The Social Worker stood at the front door “My colleague is upstairs, we are just waiting for our Managers to make a decision “ The smell hit me immediately, I could understand now why the Officer had vomited. I walked into the house with the Social Worker following me twittering away, she said “We are so sorry we never thought anyone lived here, we have been to look but we couldn’t believe anyone could actually live here !” I turned and asked “How did you know that?” Their reply made me very sad. “We looked through the letter box, it looked so bad we thought it had been trashed by squatters”. My first thought was “What the fuck am I fighting against, you or criminals? Are you one and the same? My reply was “I am here now let’s all calm down and deal with what we need to”.
The house was situated over three floors, to say trashed and filthy would be an understatement, so I won’t bother describing it. I walked into the lounge and that is when I saw “Them”, 5 children, 5 precious lives that looked empty, weak and filthy.
The 9 month old baby lay quite on a soiled mattress, in what once could be described as a white baby grow. The room was freezing, I scooped the baby up. It looked into my eyes and had a natural reflex to grab my shirt for comfort. An Officer in the corner of the room said, and I will never forget this in all my days “Careful “it” has lice, possible scabies “ At that moment I turned to the Social Worker and said “Hospital now, we will work out the rest from there “. Inside I was thinking “What am I battling against this time”. Had they fallen through the net, had the System fucked them over or was there just no love in this family?.
To be continued …