Kent police take on the heavy work
Once again the police provide the muscle for social workers to seize children, says Christopher Booker.
Mother and child are often torn apart by our system of child protection Photo: Alamy
Eleven days ago a Kent mother noticed a small mark on her five-year-old son’s ankle. He couldn’t say what had caused it. She dabbed on some antiseptic cream and thought no more about it. Two days later his school noticed the mark and contacted social services. The mother was summoned to hospital and told to sign a form allowing her two children to be kept in care by social workers until she had been interviewed by the police. She was driven 15 miles to Folkestone police station where she was interviewed and held in a cell until midnight. The police then confiscated her BlackBerry, saying it was needed as evidence, and told her she would have to walk home.
Terrified and crying, she walked 15 miles in the dark, arriving home as dawn was breaking, She then discovered that at 9.45 the previous evening, three police cars had arrived at the house with sirens blaring. Four policemen and a social worker had woken her [other] seven-year-old daughter to remove her, sobbing, in her nightclothes.
Last week the parents were told by social workers that they would face a care order on the children, whom they were allowed to see briefly on condition that they did not discuss why the children had been taken from home. The police promised the mother’s solicitor that they would return her BlackBerry, worth over £200. But they then told her there was no record of it on their system.
I emailed Kent police twice last week to ask whether they could confirm or deny the details of this story, but have had no reply.
In my item last week headed “Why are the police providing muscle for forced adoptions?”, I described how a south London mother was removed to a psychiatric hospital with the aid of six policemen and three social workers, in order to hand her two children to their estranged father. After the two girls tried three times to escape, and a tribunal found there was no reason for their mother to be detained, the family was last week happily reunited.
But once again I must ask why the police support social workers in this astonishingly heavy-handed way, when too often, it seems, there is no good reason to snatch children from their homes in the first place.
Telephone: 01622690690 is now the single non-emergency number
for Kent Police across the county.
Use this number for non-urgent crime reporting, incidents of
anti-social behaviour and general enquiries
Watch and listen to this video clip from Chief Constable Ian Learmonth who says that he's "thrilled and honored" to have been appointed "to such a prestigious force as Kent police. It has a fantastic reputation up and down the country".
The Police around Maidstone are a shambles. Try getting a police man on a saterday night at about midnight you won't get one, but drive in to town and you will see police all around the town sitting in cars watching the young girls comming out of the clubs and when you ask "we are here to stop the fights if the young yobs want to fight let them or make the clubs pay for it"
2. Ranter wrote: (08 Jul 2010 )
Here are a few suggestions for starters Ian:
Get rid of all the PCSOs. Absorb the good ones into the regular force. That'll save £21K or thereabouts a pop!
Reduce the number of specialist target based squads now that Dave and Theresa have abolished the nu-labor targets and the ineffective neighbourhood policing teams and return to 24/7 divisional based policing with proper supervision. You can massively reduce all the quality assurance/finance and HR posts.
Stop spending on non-police activities and training e.g. diversity/equality and the funding of representative groups. Let their own members pay subs like any other organisation.
Examine your various outsourced services and bring some back into the organisation.
And stop mailing that glossy load of rubbish to every household and other similar things - they all end up in the bin anyway.
3. Robert wrote: (07 Jul 2010 )
Cuts should be made from equipment not people,get rid of gas guzzling high powered cars.
4. Ruby wrote: (07 Jul 2010)
And will the cuts be from his budget? How much will his Chauffer cost the Tax Payers of Kent?
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