For one of our lasts placements we were asked to got out on response with the Charles Cross team. There section of Plymouth is mainly the city centre. I was met by Sergeant Green at the front of the building who escorted me to there briefing room. I was met with all the officers on shift for that and was told I was partnered up with Alex and Ryan. they were both a similar age to which was really refreshing as I’m normally partnered up with someone around 45 plus! After the briefing the three of us went downstairs to grab a car for the evening.
Our first job we went to we had intel to suggest a woman had possibly fallen over in her flat as she hadn’t got in contact with anyone for a couple of days which was very unlike her. After a long time of coming up with a plan we eventually entered the home where unfortunately the lady was deceased. From what we could see she had trip over her table and hit her head. She was an older women who had within the last few months been diagnosed with a tumour in her ear which causes her a lot of them time to have dizzy spells. we believe this was the case for this woman.
My second job was a violent domestic. A daughter who had suffered for many years with behavioural problems had woken from a nap to find the pills she put by her bed had been taken. (She often takes overdoses) When she noticed they had gone she awoke quickly and ran downstairs to her mum where she started to attack her. She grabbed a kitchen knife, slashed her mums arm and then picked up a chair and hit her mum round the head with it. Upon arrival the daughter, who is well known to the police, had actually fled the scene. luckily one of the officers had seen her and ran after her. I went into the home where the mother was crying on the floor with a bloody tissues covering the wound on her arm. I ran upstairs to the bathroom to grab some more tissue to put on her wounds. The other team arrived and we were able to arrest her and put her in the van. It took 5 police officers to restrain her.
After these two dealings we went back to the office where we wrote up the reports and statement given by the second arrest.
Today was a completely different insight into the way the police deal with the public. My shift was meant to be 9pm to 2am but I ended up staying an extra 3 hours because I was enjoying every minute of the experience. I had been precautioned that we might have been walking into a deceased body on our first job, I’m so thankful I was pre warned as we did in fact ended up having one. the first few minutes of this experience I honestly don’t really remember. I felt very anxious and almost excited to experience my first deceased body. As soon as we opened the door the smell was astronomical. After about 5 minutes of being in the flat I felt comfortable to start looking around and giving my own forensic opinion (In my own head of course). It was very interesting to see how the police were trying to make sure they didn’t interfere with the crime scene, as for all we know this could have been a murder, she may have been pushed.
The second job I felt a lot of adrenaline in me. On arrival we were arresting someone, I had to support a woman who was bleeding until the other officers arrived. A whole load of feelings and again with this assault I was able to see the forensic side of things. The mother said she had the chair thrown at her head and when looking at the cut on her head, it matched perfectly with indent on the chair leg. An array of feeling went on throughout this shift but it was a very eye opening and rewarding one too.
Today we were set up in a group meeting with 9 detectives and the chief. Also some police workers who helpw ith crime rates and prevention schemes.
Upon arrival at Crownhill we were greeted by Heather at the front door who escorted us up to the meeting room. Before the big meeting was to commence we had a smaller meeting with 2 detectives where they expressed problems within the student community and police. The main bases of the problem was that students don’t trust the police. I expressed myself that whenever I see a policemen its always when they are arresting someone or dealing with a problem. My course mate Carmen also expressed that policemen are not very approachable, I 100% agreed with this. I’ve always felt police officers have a certain stance, they always seem to be padded out with there gear which almost acts as a barrier between us and them.
The main purpose of the big meeting was to gain an understanding of why students and police officers don’t have a great relationship. We discussed the ideas we previously had done in the smaller meeting with everyone and they all agreed. For this placement we have to do a project, in order to get students and police officers to be able to communicate more. We took our ideas away from this to then further come up with our project idea.
Todays session was quite daunting. We thought we were going in for a chat to a couple of officers about this topic. After being there for a few minutes we then realised we were going to have to speak in front of all of these people. I feel this has happened couple of times with placement where we haven’t been told in advance what was going on. If I had known we were going to be sat in on an important meeting I would have dressed appropriately. (I was sat in a bright red jumpsuit with flowers all over and trainers). I do feel a little annoyed sometimes when this does happen. But like anything within this type of work you never know what you are going to walk into.
I was partnered up with PC Smith for 5 hours. He was working on a sexual offences case with minors and an 18 year old. The case was very complex and was proving hard to catch him for anything because there was only allegations against him and no evidence. We were writing out a police notice against him which meant he couldn’t have any contact with a certain individual. With the intel we had about this person we were able to track his location to hand him over the notice for him to sign in agreement that he would stay away from her. Upon arrival we were greeted by a school girl who we knew very well in the police department. She was another victim of the 18 year old which he wasn’t allowed contact with either. There was also another minor in the flat with him who was drinking. We arrested him there and then for breaking his previous notice, giving minors alcohol and carrying a weapon with intent. (He had a pen knife in his pocket)
Overall I learnt a lot within this team. It opened my eyes out to how much paper work and investigation goes into 1 person. The whole 5 hours I was there we worked on the one case and when I left PC Smith had another 3 hours left on shift which he said he would use on this case. At the start of the shift I felt very excited to be working on a sexual offences case, as this is something I want to work in when I’m older. I felt relief that we had caught this young man but I was also very angry with him for what he had done. The 2 minors had no idea what they were n for and I was grateful to the police officers for going at the time we did, who knows what would have happened if we went a few hours later or even the next day. I had a quick look at the Sexual Offences statistics in Plymouth and to my surprise the stats each month over the past 2 years has decreased. The number of offences is still high, March being 1,315 in that month only (Devon & Cornwall police statistics, 2019)
Randy Thornhill believes that sexual offenders offender due biological factors. He believes people are born wanting to rape and sexually offend. According to this theory, men who are predisposed to rape may have more reproductive success. Over long periods of time, this reproductive advantage results in a widespread predisposition to rape among males. Other theorists argue that predisposition to rape is not an adaptation itself, but the side-effect of reproductive adaptations, such as the pursuit of a number of partners (Randy Thornhill, 2004). For me, biological explanations for rape naturalize the reality of what has happened and somewhat excuses the perpetrator’s behaviour. Leading to the conclusion that it is acceptable and potentially unchangeable. These theories also diminish the victim’s pain and suffering which I don’t think is right.
I was so happy to be involved in this special day as all women in my life mean so much to me. I went along with my course mate Beth as volunteers to help out at this convention. It was located in the Exeter at the fire station. Our roles for the day were to show people around and checked people into to the talks. We were also able to sit in on talks as well. It was a very inspirational day and I felt I learnt a lot in empowering women and feeling comfortable in your own skin.
I plucked up the courage to go and ask one of the ladies who gave a speech about her life. She had joined the police force in her early twenties and made it all the way up the chain as chief inspector. She was a very passionate lady and very inspiring to talk to. Women like her give me self belief that I can as a women become high up in the services if I put my mind to it. We are very much living in a world now that women are being seen as more of an equal to men and I love that.
Gender inequality is a long list of statistics showing the imbalance of power between men and women. In real terms, gender inequality is a major problem on local, national and global levels. Not only does it affect the lives of individual men and women, but the inequality between genders also stunts economic growth and hinders development.
Gender equality benefits everyone, it has been nominated as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (UN SDG) number five. As an organization working toward brighter futures for all individuals, GVI is committed to tackling discrimination and meeting the end goal of gender equality (Petrina Darrah,, 2019)
Today has hands down been the best part of the placement so far. Today actually linked into my first placement which was with Inspector Nick Lindsey. It was about the suicide car park near Derriford A&E and Glanville mental hospital. I was partnered up with Sergeant Dave Thatcher. We got speaking about a lady called Maddie who is part of the council. She is a real believer in working along-side the police and trying to close down and prevent harmful places. Sergant and Maddie had a meeting with the people in charge of this car park, in aim to see if we can either get it shut down or get some fencing around each floor of the car park. Before the meeting started we were quoted £100,000 per floor to get the fencing round it. In the meeting we got some really positive outcomes for the car park, as we intended we would have bad ones. We could get fencing round each floor for a total of £38,000 for all 5 floors. We could also get CCTV on every floor for a total of £12,000 down from £96,000.
Today was a really positive day for me because I was able to use my confidence to sit in on a meeting that I wasn’t scheduled to sit on in. It was also amazing to be able to start off my placement learning the carpark and the horrific number of people who go their wanting to take their lives and seeing how much time the police put into this car. To finally getting and seeing the result we wanted all along. The carpark will be up and running safely and securely by the end of May. We also made a declaration that if the carpark wasn’t sorted we could shut it down. What a day!
Open arrival at Charles cross we were greeted by a lady on reception who told us to wait whilst she went and grabbed the people we were having a think tank with. We were all a little confused as we all have a pass to get us in and out of the building and normally we would go straight on through because we had access. About 25 minutes had passed and we were still sat there, a man came down and collected us and escorted us up to the room. As we arrived we felt the ladies sat in there who were taking the think tank were a little frosty. There was a mis-communication with the whole situation downstairs and one of the ladies eventually asked why we were so late. I explained we were late due to being told to wait in the waiting room and for us to switch our phones off as well. So the start was a little frosty but we soon got into it. We introduced ourselves and were asked to give our views on sex crimes and if we have any experiences ourselves. The most common thing that was bought up was how many sexual attacks happen that go un-reported. My personal experience was when I was in first year staying in halls. I lost my friends in Pryzm nightclub and ended up walking home by myself. There was this one guy in the club who kept standing by me and following me around – I really felt there was nothing to it. Unbeknown to me he had actually followed me home. I was about 5 minutes away from my halls when I realised, he was quite close to me. Luckily for me I used to run 100m for for South England so I knew I could get away fast. I started running and he also started running. I had my key phobe in my hand ready to let myself in. I got in safely and went to bed. I never reported this as I felt it was just a one off, I’ve never seen that man again. In hind sight I should of reported it.
We got a lot out of this think tank, we made the ladies who were in charge more aware that there isn’t a lot put in place for sex victims to get hold of someone. We made them aware that not all students get the welcome pack with all the phone numbers on and support lines. This is something we feel should be put in place more. Especially for students who have come from a far.
I found this think tank a little hard. I did feel a little reserved today as ive always found this subject a little scary to talk about. I feel one day I will be gradually be more confident about talking about as I do want to work in this field of work. Milgram talks about reasons as to people don’t come forward about there personal sexual assaults. The main problem is the shame of the assault. Shame is at the core of the intense emotional wounding women and men experiences when they are sexually violated. Expert on shame Gershen Kaufman stated in his book ‘Shame is a natural reaction to being violated or abused. In fact, abuse, by its very nature, is humiliating and dehumanizing’ (Gershen Kaufman, 1980).
I also think I felt a little reserved due to the start of this placement. I feel as a volunteer we take our on time out of the day to be there and help the police and their services out, I felt the way we were treated at the start was very unfair and should be taken more seriously. I looked into a couple of surveys online and found that volunteers and specials tend to have a good time whilst working in the police but I did find a lot of them felt mistreated more often then none. 66% of specials and volunteers feel there efforts are well recognised whilst 34% of people felt they weren’t. I also found less than half of volunteers feel that their force understands the skills and experience they bring, and has given them opportunities to use them. (Citizens in policing survey, 2017)
Today, we had a 2 hour slot with an Inspector who has mainly worked in drugs for the 20 years. Upon arrival we met with students from Plymouth University outside Charles Cross, who have been doing the volunteer project for a few months longer then us. We all went up together where the room was and sat down with Heather and the Inspector. Like any think tank the person in charge who has called this think tank to happen is there to ask us questions on the subject and to ask what solutions we may have. He started off by asking us what drug problems we think there are in Plymouth and any experiences we have had with them. We went round and expressed our thoughts and experiences. When it was my turn to chip in I felt the main problem with drugs in this city is that its hardly reported. I know of people who sell drugs and take drugs but it had never crossed my mind to tell the police about them.
The main problem we found with drugs is that it links to almost every crime. We also found out that drugs are a very hard subject to keep control of as everyone and anyone can do it, it’s mainly kept under lock and key. People running drugs are normally people who have had a bad life, so if they were ever caught they hardly ever rat on the person in charge because they are scared.
This think tank was very successful and again I felt very comfortable and confident to speak in front of the Inspector and other people. I felt the Inspector was very approachable and respectful of all of us when we were talking. I think today helped both sides to gain a better perspective of drugs. Us as students gave them information they had never really had before. Such as bouncers in clubs when told about drugs in the night club don’t tend to do anything about it. Also that less students take drugs then the police think they do. Nick Leffer has written a blog about why we should share things and I really felt these think tanks link in with this. He’s very big on ‘if you give, you receive’ meaning by sharing certain ideas and thoughts on something helps you to get information and feedback on this. I believe if students and police came together we could create ideas and ways to lower crime rates. Looking into statistics, shockingly the South West of England are the biggest drug users in the UK. 9 adults last years confessed to using illegal substances. The Home Office suggests usage of drugs had risen 9.5% in the South West in the following year. Nearly 100 people have died as a results of drugs in the past three years. The most commonly used drug in the South West is Cannabis with 9.4% of people admitting to taking it last year comparing it to 7.1% in 2016/2017 (Plymouth Live, 2019)
Our custody insight was based at Charles Cross. On arrival we were greeted by a male officer who escorted us through to the custody suite. We were introduced to one of the men in charge for that day and he kindly showed us round. He showed us how custody worked, the cells, the holding cells, the interview rooms and integration rooms. He spoke about precautions put in place to stop people from hurting themselves or others. He explained how the beds were low to the ground to stop people from jumping off to injure themselves or drunk people from falling off. He showed us how everything was sealed tightly shut around every part of every cell. No toilet had a seat as that could be used as a weapon or a way to self-harm. He basically said every precaution has been taken into account to make this as comfortable and safe for anyone who enters a cell. He also explained they are still finding new ways of how people try to dig out a weapon in the cells or how they inflict pain on themselves. They also have sky lights and a dim light on at all times so the cameras can see what you’re doing. He also showed us a new techniqual piece of equipment that they were trialing out. They were one of 5 stations in the country to be the first to trial this out. The equipment monitors your heart rate and respiratory rate. This is useful equipment for the people monitoring the cells as they have a quick indication whether someone isn’t feeling well or causing harm on themselves. Throughout this tour I felt very confident in asking questions and getting to know the ins and outs of how custody works.
After we had the tour of the cells, the officer handed us over to one of his colleagues. This man showed us how they monitor on the camera and explained how they do ‘walk rounds’ every 30 minutes. And every 15 minutes for serious offenders. This was to check the person is okay, breathing and sane for the best part. He also shared with us that if they have a suspect in custody who is suspected of smuggling drugs, within themselves, normally up the ‘lower regions’ as he explained while laughing. That they keep them in custody until they have ‘deposited’ the drugs. He said they had a guy in a few weeks ago who kept the drugs up his anus for 18 days. He then went on to show us how they scan in suspects. Such as, taking photos and fingerprints. He explained fingerprints only ever needed to be taken once and they are then always in the system. But photos are taken of suspects every time they come in. He loaded up the most recent photo taken. This guy had been on the system since 1998 and had 17 headshots alone. The man explained that not every time they come in their photo is taken either as sometimes the suspect isn’t compliant.
We then were escorted upstairs to have an informal chat with the man in charge of sexual offences at Charles cross. If I’m honest I found the man very rude and quite explicit when he was explaining some of the jobs he had worked on. For a group of young girls who had never met him before I felt he was slightly obnoxious and a little creepy. I politely interrupted after he had spoken for about 15 minutes to let him know our time was up. Normally we would sit there and let the time carry on but I felt it was best to end there.
Overall today was a great insight into how custody works, I loved asking questions and meeting new people. I was shocked to see how people in the cells think of ways to make weapons or to try and harm themselves. Also at how many people smuggle drugs into custody and believe they can get away with it. Looking into the statistics of drug smuggling into custody in the Uk, it has increased over the last year by 14%. (Police Statistics, 2017) Showing people are becoming more confident that they will be less likely found out.
Today I had been set up with the ‘problem solvers’ who work along side Inspector Nick. Their job role is to look at crime rates around Plymouth and look into where and why they either go up or down. How they can decrease these problems and to look at people who have just been realised from prison.
Luckily on the day I arrived it was there 2-week presentation with the force. The 2 problem solvers I was working with were both called Matt. Every 2 weeks they put together a presentation to present to the team to make them aware of the crime rates over the past 2 weeks.
Open arrival Inspector Nick met me at the front doors of Crownhill police station, he escorted me upstairs and introduced me to both Matts who I would be working with for a few hours. They both gave me a bit of an insight into what they do and how they come about this job. We then went onto the computer where they took me through the presentation they were going to present. The presentation was a breakdown of each crime that occurs within Plymouth. Within each of these crimes were a list of suspects, or people who have committed the crime and people who have recently been let out of prison who could be linked to the crime. Along with these crimes are solutions put in place to help stop this from happening or recurring. Learning from what both matts have done over the last 7 years working as problem solvers was a lot! The crime rates have gone down in most areas. They both emphasized the importance of having a structure like theirs in place, not to just highlight the problems but to also come up with ideas on how to help it. To my shock one of the biggest problems of crime in Plymouth is burglary. They highlighted to me that because this is primarily a student city, many students leave their houses unlocked and may often lose their keys. There are also massive problems with drugs in Plymouth, which I wasn’t surprised about. Drugs are everywhere nowadays and are often the cause for many other offences.
After we had been through the power point, touching it up etc they showed me how they access the crime rates and profiles of offenders. They have a huge system with all of this on and you can really specify down if you are looking specifically for something. One of my main interests in crime is sexual offences. I hope to work one day in sexual offending to help put more people behind bars and help victims feel more comfortable about coming out with their attacks.
Due to inspector Nick being held up in a meeting a few towns away I was unable to stay on for the meeting as I had work. I learnt a lot in this experience alone. It really opened up my eyes as to how much crime is happening every day and how the police actually deal with it. Also, how under staffed the police are and how grateful they are for us as volunteers to be able to give them a helping hand and some fresh ideas.
I left today wanting to look into crime rates around my area, Mutley Plain. After looking at the stats I was shocked to see how many burglaries happen, this is the 2nd hotspot for burglaries to happen in Plymouth. Comparing stats from last January (2018) to this years January (2019) there has been an increase of 24.5% of burglaries in Mutley Plain. I also had a look into sexual offences and again compared them t last January. The offences had gone up by 29.7% in the last year. Looking into these 2 crime stats alone has made me slightly more weary when I step out of my house in the near future.