Saturday, 22 December 2012

Firemen Aren't Social Workers, And Cops Aren't Mindreaders...

In March, Humberside Fire and Rescue Service was called to Jess's house when she set her bedroom alight. Realising something was wrong, the attending crew manager filed a PN1 form, an internal document used when officers come into contact with a child they believe might be vulnerable. However, his concerns were not shared with health professionals or social services.
The paperwork was lost in the system. Would it have made a difference? Doubtful, as she was already well known to the appropriate authorities:
Jess first came to the attention of social workers in October last year after she accused her dad of hitting her. An investigation showed her claims were completely untrue.
Soon afterwards Jess began to self-harm and, on November 23 last year, she was referred to the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services. Meetings continued until February 29, when Jess and her mum both felt things had improved and she was discharged.
She then set the fire. Did her parents take any action, or did they think 'Oh, well, the fire service'll do it'?
The officer argued any changes to a firefighter's role, such as expecting them to identify children at risk, must be properly thought out.
He said: "The fire service has to evolve and nobody's got any problem with that. We're all happy to evolve if the training is given properly.
"If we're going to take these things on, we need the correct training, not half an hour on a wet afternoon."
Maybe the best thing to do is...not take them on? Stick to the job you are paid and trained for?

It's two years since their daughter was murdered, but for the first time Joanna Yeates' parents have criticised the police investigation that eventually caught her killer.
The body of the 25-year-old landscape architect was found by dog walkers in Failand on Christmas Day 2010 after she had been missing for eight days.
Her parents said they now think police were not aware that their daughter's killer, neighbour Vincent Tabak, had been alone in his flat on the night she vanished.
They began treating him as a suspect only after a phone call to detectives from his girlfriend Tanja when the pair were away on holiday in Holland for new year.
Yes, that's right. They started treating him as a suspect when evidence emerged of his involvement.

Before that, how could they possibly do anything? I'm as fond of armchair quarterbacking as the next blogger, but let's be realistic here!


blue Eyes said...

I expect the requirement placed on the Fire Service is a result of the Every Child Matters process following the Victoria Climbie issue. Having said that, surely all that needs to be done is for the firefighter to take a note and let the info be forwarded on to the relevant social service?

JuliaM said...

BE, I suspect you may well be correct.

It seems that he did what he was supposed to, and it was the back office staff who failed to pass it on. What else are they there for?

Anonymous said...

I love the quaterback quote I big american football fan and its a well used saying.