An internal police investigation is under way after officers "abandoned" two young children with a stranger following the arrest of their mum.
Liza Butler, of Old Lodge Lane, Purley, was left to care for the toddlers, aged just one and three, despite repeatedly stressing she did not know them or their mother, who is her neighbour.She is, as neighbours often are these days, a stranger. That didn't seem to matter much to the police:
Miss Butler said: "They asked me to watch the babies while they spoke to the mum and then asked me if I could carry on looking after them when they took her away.
"I kept saying to them I cannot keep these children, I don't know them and I don't know this woman.
"I think I've said good morning to her once. I don't know how long she's lived there, I don't know her name, she doesn't know mine. I don't know her.
"No one was taking a blind bit of notice to me. They did not take my name. No social services came. The children were just abandoned in my care. "And so Miss Butler decided that what's sauce for the goose...
Miss Butler left the toddlers with another neighbour, Natasha Brown, while she went to pick her own children up from school. The arrested woman's 18-year-old son collected them two hours later.*speechless*
Miss Brown, 27, said: "We were asking what we should do with the kids because they didn't know us and the policeman just said that wasn't their problem.
"I don't really know them so I thought it was wrong, but I felt obligated to watch them.
"It seemed like the police didn't really care about the kids, only about getting the people they wanted in the van."I guess there's no tickbox for 'ensuring the kids are safe'. Or, if there is, just about any stranger will fit the criteria to allow them to tick it!
A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: "We can confirm we have received a complaint in respect of a warrant executed in Old Lodge Lane, Purley on September 30.
"This is now subject to a local complaint investigation and as such it would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage."The usual refrain. We'll see.
And yet, doesn't it also illustrate how fragmented we've become as a society? Once, this police action would have been as normal as can be, because the woman's neighbours would have known her, would have had a common bond, a shared identity in 'their community', and there would have been no issues with this practice. But then came the permissive society, and multiculturalism, and transitory culture, and a whole host of things designed to improve our lot.
Progress. They really should find another word for it.