An Eviction

Pete and I were standing outside a block of towards the north end of the borough. Our destination was on the eleventh floor, but sod’s law struck gold, and of course the lifts were out of order. We started the long climb.

I started whistling a song, but noticed that Pete didn’t join in – quite unusual, for him.

“What’s wrong, mate, you’re awfully quiet today.” I asked.

“I had a dog of a shift yesterday.” he said.

“That bad, huh?”

“Yeah, I couldn’t sleep, to be honest. I’m knackered.”

“Bloody hell. What happened?”

“Mate, it was grim.”

“Go on…”

“Got a call, right, from a 19 year old chick who was worried about his neighbour.”

“Sudden death?”

“Ha.” Pete said. “Well, yes, it was, but it was the worst one I’ve ever been to.”

“Seriously? Worse than the one at the tail-end of last year, where you had to shove your face down a toilet every six minutes?”, I laughed.

Pete’s face broke, slowly, into a smile, but it stiffened and the mirth faded again quickly. He didn’t offer a reply to my question.

“So, the neighbour was a 30-odd year old lady. When we got there, we could smell the death, but she was fine. She seemed completely lucid, like there was no problem at all. She was carrying a baby.”

“Ah noooo…” I said, sensing where this story was going.

“Yeah, mate. It was grim.”

“Shit, how long?”

“The baby had maggots crawling all over it, it was horrible. The mother seemed completely oblivious that her kid must have been dead for the best part of a week.”

I stopped on the landing, and leaned a shoulder against a wall. We deal with a lot of deaths in this job, and I’ve lost my lunch more than a few times. This was the first time I felt as if I might play a porcelain tuba solo just from hearing a story though.

“What happened?”

“I called for backup. I’m glad I did, mate, as soon as we said we needed to take the kid off her, she went fucking bananas. She ended up cleaving Jake in the arm with a knife.”

“What? Seriously? How’s Jake?” I asked. Jake is one of the toughest officers we have – he normally works on the robbery squad, and he’s usually the first person to dive head-first into a fight. He’s good at it, he likes it, and on the robbery squad, he gets plenty of opportunities for three-dimensional adventures in fisticuffs.

“Eh, you know Jake. He’s crazy. Proud of every scar. I’m sure he’s chatting up some cute nurse right now, the bastard.” Pete grinned.

“Jesus.” I said. I started to feel a little better.

“Anyway, so we had to section her, and ship her baby off to the morgue. Turns out it was probably a cot death or something, but she just continued changing the little boy’s clothes and diapers and trying to feed him as if nothing had happened. She was just in complete denial about it all.”

“Dude, that’s fucking horrible.”

“Yeah, tell me about it. I’m pretty shook up, y’know. Just makes you think about stuff. The woman seemed completely fine when I met her, but it turns out she was probably the craziest person I’ve ever met.”

“I’m so sorry mate. Have you talked to anybody?”

“Just you.”

“I’d give the helpline a bell, buddy. The number’s on the wall next to the lockers up on the third floor. Blue poster. Sounds like it may be worth getting it all off your chest to someone who knows what to say.”

Pete shrugged.

“Seriously mate,” I said. “Nobody’s going to think less of you for talking to someone. I’m feeling sick just hearing about it, and I wasn’t even there. I can’t imagine how you feel.”

“You know what was really fucked up?”, Pete said, after a long pause. He started walking the last few flights of stairs going up to our next call.

“Go on?”

“She called NHS Direct, apparently.”

“What?”

“Yeah. She told us. She called NHS Direct and said that her baby wasn’t eating properly.”

“Jesus.”

“They told her to go to a doctor, but she decided to wait for a few days. I think, deep down, she knew that the little boy was no more, but she just wanted to put off being told.”

It completely broke my heart, and I sat down on the next landing, my feet on the stairway. For a moment, I thought I might cry.

“That is the single saddest thing I’ve ever heard in my life.” I said.

“Yeah, I know, right? I mean… How do you deal with something like that?”

“Well, she’s been sectioned, so she’s being looked after. Your turn,” I said, and looked up at Pete. He looked a little forlorn. “Seriously, promise me you talk to the people? I’ll come with you if you like?”

“I really appreciate it, mate”, Pete said.

I got up, and hugged Pete. It seemed like the only useful thing I could do.

“Shall we?” he said, after a short pause.

“Let’s do this”, I said, and we walked up the last flight of stairs.

When we arrived at the right apartment, we were about an inch of cheap wood away from a cacophony of noise and chaos; we heard crashing, shouting, squealing and barking. So far, only the barking was the cause of much concern.

“Here goes nothing”, Pete sighed, and knocked on the door.

To say that there was no response at all might have been an overstatement; but through the din inside, it was hard to tell whether anybody was coming to open the door.

Pete took his handcuffs out of the carrying pouch, and used them to bang on the door instead. That, it appears, was more effective. The shouting and squealing stopped, but the barking continued.

“Who is it?” came a none-too-friendly voice from inside.

“Police, open up”, Pete shouted back, and awkwardly bolted on a “Please” right at the end.

I had to smile – Pete had recently been accused of being too gruff, but nobody had told him that we’d been taken aside one by one, and as part of the management plan to make the police force more approachable, they had told each and every one of us, separately, that we’re too gruff and grouchy. That might be true for some of us, but Pete’s one of the good guys; I felt a little bit bad that he’d taken the management-induced bovine scatfest to heart.

A man – aged around thirty or so – opened the door, only a tiny bit. He glimpsed us, and then wormed himself through the gap, joining us outside.

“I’m surprised you came,” he started.

“You are? What’s the problem?” Pete replied.

“It’s a complicated story…”

“Not to worry… What’s your name again? I think I’ve met you before, haven’t I?”

“Oh, sorry. I’m Roger Samson. Call me Rodge”, the man replied, and held his hand out for us to shake it. We did. As Pete shook the man’s hand, I saw a look of recognition – maybe warmth, even – on his face.

“Well Ro…” Pete started, and half-way through the name decided that he was not, under any circumstances, going to call this man ‘Rodge’.  “Well… Roger…”, he corrected himself. “Start at the beginning, and I’m sure we’ll get there.”

“Oh. Sure. Well, the problem is that this is my mother’s flat. The woman you can hear shouting inside is my sister. Our mum recently had a stroke, and can’t really communicate. I don’t know how much she understands of what’s going on. My sister decided to move into my mother’s flat, and she has turned it into a place that’s completely unbecoming of an old lady.”

“How do you mean?”

“She brings men home all the time,” he hesitated. “I guess I may as well tell you the whole story. My sister has a long history of drug abuse, and is a working girl.”

He looked from me to Pete and back.

“A prostitute,” he clarified, as if the term ‘working girl’ was alien to us.

“Okay, well that’s not good”, Pete said. “How long has your sister been living here?”

“About a year, I think” the man replied.

“A year, huh? And how long has this been going on?”

“I’m… Not sure. I just came out of prison, actually. Few weeks ago. It’s a long story, but I ended up doing some things I regret, and that’s over with now. I want to turn over a new leaf; I have a job and everything these days.”

“I’m glad to hear that, Roger”, I said. “What are you doing?”

“I work at the B&Q. Give people advice about paints and emulsions, all that. It’s not very exciting, but it pays the bills. It feels great to finally be doing the right thing, you know.”

“Good on ya”, Pete said genuinely.

Despite the fact that we deal with shady characters every day of every week, it happens relatively rarely that we run into people who genuinely seem to have decided to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and follow the poorly-signposted path down the straight and narrow. My reaction is always the same as Pete’s – whenever I come across ‘regular customers’ that I haven’t seen in a while, I’ll have a quick chat with them, find out how they are getting on. There’s one guy in particular, who managed to tear himself loose from a gang following a long stint in prison after an armed robbery that went all shades and colours of wrong. You get to know the regulars quite well after a while. I wouldn’t consider them friends by a long stretch, but you do eventually develop some sort of rapport with some of them – almost a paternal thing, I think. It’s sad when we have to arrest them, and it’s great when they are doing well.

“Well, when I got out, I went to visit my mum, and my sister had been there for a while already. My sister didn’t even know our mother had a stroke; I took her to the hospital right away, but the staff said the stroke had happened some time ago.” he shook his head slowly. “It really hurts me, my mother’s face looks as if it’s made out of heavy jelly, and the hospital says that most of the effects would have been avoidable if she’d been taken to see a doctor quickly enough.”

“I’m really sorry to hear that Roger,” Pete said. “How did she not know your mum had a stroke? Isn’t that usually pretty obvious?”

“Drugs.” Roger shrugged. “A lot of drugs. She just doesn’t care about much else. It’s a shame, she used to be great, but now she’s just a wreck. I barely recognise her these days. Haven’t seen her smile since I came out of prison.”

“So, what is all the shouting about now?” I asked.

“Well, I… I guess I flushed her stash of heroin down the toilet.”

“Ah. And she was angry about that?” I asked, feeling a little silly about asking such a blatantly obvious question.

“Yes, of course, but more importantly, my mother wants my sister out of the house, but she refuses to leave.”

“Whose flat is this?”

“My mother’s”

“Does she own it?”

“No, she rents.”

“But it’s her name on the lease?”

“Yeah.”

“And you’re completely sure about that?”

“Yeah, I moved her in myself, when my dad died seven years ago.”

“Right. And your mother told your sister that she wants her to leave?”

“Not as such. She can’t really speak anymore, so I asked her if she wanted my sister to leave. She nodded.” he said. “I think she’s tried to tell my sister before, as well, but I’m not sure.”

“Right”, I said. “I’m going to have to talk to your mother, I think.”

“Hang on”, Pete said.

“Can you make sure that dog is locked away?”

“Rita?” Roger laughed. “She’s loud, but she’s a pathetic little yappy-type-dog. She won’t harm you. Couldn’t if she tried.”

“I’d still rather you locked the dog away, if you don’t mind.”

“Of course not, I’ll go do that now,” Roger said, and turned around to go hide away the loud set of teeth inside the apartment.

“Nice shout,” I said to Pete.

“Hey, I don’t care how small the dog is,” he said. “They all have pointy teeth and an unhealthy dose of unpredictability”.

Roger popped his head back out of the door. “Come on in”, he said.

As soon as we stepped into the flat, a young woman came careening around the corner from somewhere, and started shouting at Roger.

“Oh, so you’re not man enough to deal with your little sister by yourself, are you?”, she screamed, and reached deep for the worst insults she could think of. “You impotent fucking bastard. You absolute fucking…”

“Okay, that’s enough”, Pete stepped forward, getting between the eye-line of the two siblings. “We don’t need that kind of language.”

“Gentlemen, this is Sarah.” Roger said drily.

“Nice to meet you, Sarah.” Pete said.

“Fuck off.” she replied.

“Very nice.” Pete said.

“We need to talk to your mother, if we can.” I said, turning to Roger.

“Well that will not be possible”, Sarah shouted. “She can’t say a thing!” She laughed sarcastically.

“Does she understand stuff?” I asked Roger, ignoring his sister.

“She understands just fine, I think.” Roger replied. “She nods, shakes her head, communicates with her fingers, writes stuff down. I’m not sure if she cannot speak, or if she’s too shy about it because she slurs her words, but…”

“Fair enough”, Pete said. “Where is she?”

Roger pointed to a closed door at the right of the end of the narrow, sticky-floored hallway. We walked over, knocked on the door, and went inside.

In the room, we found a woman, aged around 60. When she spotted our uniforms, she did a little wave with her left hand, before placing it under her cheek. She tried to make it look as if she was just leaning on her hand, but the way she did it made me realise that Roger may have been onto something; she was shy about what the stroke had done to her, and wanted to hide the visual clues from us by hiding the affected side of her face.

“Mrs Samson?” I asked.

She nodded.

“Hi. Your son Roger called us. Is it OK if we come in and talk to you for a moment?” I asked.

The end of my sentence was drowned out by more shouting and screaming from Roger and Sarah, but Pete nudged me forward, and pointed behind him with his thumb. His sign language was clear: I deal with the silent mum, he deals with the shouty offspring. Fair enough.

Mrs Samson beckoned and pointed at the sofa. I took a quick look around; the bedroom was simply, but tastefully decorated. There was a small green sofa – more like a large chair, really – a small coffee table, and another chair, too. On the far wall, there was a small, old-fashioned writing desk. Mrs Samson was sitting in front of it, in what looked like a cheap, but rather comfortable office chair. The single bed was in the corner of the small room, and had a curtain drawn around it, as if to turn the bedroom into a small sitting room instead, by hiding the presence of the sleeping furniture. The room contrasted with the rest of the house by being immaculately clean.

I sat down in the sofa-cum-easy-chair, and faced the lady in her office chair. She smiled slightly, and nodded as I sat down, apparently encouraging me to get comfortable.

She turned to the writing desk. When she turned back, she held up a small piece of paper that read “Tea?” in neat cursive lettering.

“No thank you Mrs Samson, I’ve just come from my lunch break”, I lied. I wouldn’t have minded a cup of tea, but I really didn’t fancy putting her in a situation where she had to brave her descendants to brew me a tea.

She turned away again, and came back with a new message. “How may I help, Officer?” it read.

“Roger says he is your son, is that right?”

She nodded.

“Great. And Sarah, is she your daughter?”

She nodded again, a little less enthusiastically this time.

“Do they both live here?”

Shake.

“Just Sarah?”

Nod.

“Have you asked Sarah to leave?”

Nod.

“How long ago did you ask her to leave, Mrs Samson?”

She held up four fingers.

“Four days?”

Shake.

“Weeks?”

Shake.

“Months?”

Nod.

I nodded in reply.

“So, you asked her to leave here about four months ago. Did you ask her again later?”

Nod.

“How many times?”

She removed her left hand from her face, and wiggled all her fingers at me for a while.

“Many times?”

She nodded again, and nestled the left side of her face back onto her hand.

“More than ten times?”

She nodded with great enthusiasm, and made a sound. It sounded like she said “Many”.

“Many more than ten times?”

Nod.

“Right. And it is correct that it is your name on the lease of the Flat?”

Nod.

“How long have you been here Mrs Samson?”

She held up three fingers, then four more.

“Thirty four years?”

Shake. Not thirty four. I had to think for a little while what three then four might mean. Suddenly, I understood; she didn’t want to remove her hand from her face again…

“Seven years?”

Nod.

“And your daughter, how long has she been here?”

Three fingers, then three again.

“Six.” I said. “Months?”

Nod.

“Okay, so your daughter has been here for six months, but you’ve been wanting her to move out for about four, is that right?”

Nod.

“Did you invite her to come live here?”

Shake.

“So she just moved in?”

Nod.

“Did you give her a key?”

She turned her head at an angle.

“Did you lend her a key, and she made a copy of it?”

Nod.

“Without asking you first?”

Nod nod.

“Okay. What about your son, does he live here?”

Shake.

“When your daughter moves out, will your son move in?”

Nod.

“Is that OK with you? Do you want your son here?”

She nodded for a long time, before moving away to her writing desk, and started writing for a long time. When she turned back, she showed me what she had written. “He is a good boy. He looks after me. I can’t live like this.”

“I understand Mrs Samson.” I said. “My colleague and I are going to remove her from the flat for you. If she comes back, and you don’t want her there, you have to promise me you’ll call 999 immediately. Even if you can’t say anything, please call 999. They will send somebody over to come and help you right away, do you understand?”

She nodded.

“Right. Thank you very much for talking with me.” I said. I felt bad for the old dear; she was clearly perfectly lucid, and seemed really frustrated by not being able to speak to me directly.

She reached out one hand to me, palm down. She kept looking at her hand, rather than at me. I wasn’t really sure what she wanted, but I leaned forward, and took her hand. When I did, she looked up, eyes meeting mine.

“Thank you” she said. The words were slurred to the point of being unrecognisable, but the message was perfectly clear.

“It’s my pleasure, Mrs Samson. Really.” I said, and she let go of my hand.

I got up and walked out of the room, where Pete had the two siblings sat down at opposite ends of the tiny living room. It was pure comedy, how they had chosen seats as far away from each other as was humanly possible in such a small room, and were sitting at the far edges of their respective seats, in an effort to be even further away from each other.

“Sarah, your mother wants you to leave the house.” I said.

“You can’t do that! I live here!” she protested immediately.

“Get out, Sarah.” Roger said.

“Would you mind,” Pete snapped. “Let my colleague deal with this.”

“Whatever.” Roger said got up, and left the room. He started rummaging around somewhere in the flat.

“You’ve been told to leave many times over the past few months,” I said to Sarah. “And today, you’re going.”

“You can’t throw me out of here, my toothbrush is here! I live here!”

Between her flawed logic, her twitching and the fact that she seemed to have problems focusing on us or really comprehending what was going on in the room, I figured she was on drugs.

“Have you taken something?” I asked her.

“I’m not a thief.” she replied.

“You know what I mean.” I said.

“None of your business.”

“Well, it kind of is part of my business.” I said. “Either way, you’re going to leave this house in the next three minutes. Grab your stuff, let’s go.”

“But I’m making a sandwich!” she said, and started chewing on the right side of her lower lip.

“Sarah, you’re sitting on a sofa, talking to a police officer,” Pete interjected. “You are quite obviously not making a sandwich, and you’re not going to either. You’re going to get your stuff, and leave.”

Right on cue, Roger re-entered the room with a binliner.

“Here’s your stuff,” he said. “Get out.”

“Is that all her stuff?” I asked.

“Yeah, I think so.” Roger replied.

Sarah leapt up.

“Where are you going?” Pete asked.

“Sandwich.” she said by way of reply.

“No sandwich.” Pete said. “Leaving.”

“Sandwich.” she said again, and started walking out of the living room. Pete stepped out into her path, blocking her.

“Do you have anything that is yours in the kitchen?” he asked.

“Tea bags?” she said.

“Anything else?” Pete asked.

“Yeah. Bread.”

“Anything else?”

“A corkscrew.”

“Your fucking corkscrew is already in the bag here”, Roger said, shaking the binliner so it made a clunking and rattling sound.

“What else do you have here?” Pete said, drawing her attention from Roger back to himself.

“Clothes.” Sarah said.

“Got them.” Roger replied.

“Hairbrush.”

“Yup.” he said.

“Toothbrush?”

Roger just shook the bag in reply.

“Anything else?” Pete asked.

“My money!” She remembered suddenly.

“There was a twenty and some change on the kitchen counter, and another tenner and a bit in your room. It’s in your jewellery box, in the bag.” Roger said, shaking the binliner a bit more.

Sarah started crying.

“All I want is a fucking sandwich.” She wailed.

“Look,” Pete said. “You’ve got all your stuff, and we’ve run out of time. You’re going to leave.”

“You said five minutes!” she screamed, suddenly very angry.

“I said three minutes,” Pete corrected her, “Not five. And anyway, we’ve been here for seven, so your time is up. You’re going. Now.”

“What about my…” she started.

“Look, you’re just wasting everybody’s time now. Either you take your stuff and get the hell out of here, or we’re going to remove you.”

“You can’t make me!” she shouted. She threw herself back into the sofa, and grabbed a hand-ful of the throw that was covering the sofa with her right hand, and the armrest on the other side with her left.

“Sarah, have you ever been arrested before?” I asked.

“Yeah, so what?”

“Well, then you probably know there’s an easy way and a hard way of doing this,” I said. “I don’t really care which one we take, but it’s going to happen now.”

“MY! SANDWICH!” she wailed, sobbing, and grabbing a bigger fistful of sofa-throw.

“You have some money.” I said. “You can buy stuff to make a sandwich.”

I feared we were going to have to drag her out of there in handcuffs, but she sat really still for just a moment, before her will just seemed to give: She almost seemed to deflate right in front of us, as she gave up.

“Whatever. You’re fucking pigs, you know that.” she said, and got up, calmly.

She walked over to Roger, and snatched the binliner from him. She took a step back, before dropping the bag, and lunging at her brother.

“You bastaaaaaaard!” she howled, and went for him with both hands. She landed a punch, a slap, and a kick before Pete managed to leap in and pull her off Roger.

“Will you calm down!” Pete shouted, but she just kept trying to tear herself loose to attack her brother again.

“Right, sod this,” I said. “Sarah, I’m arresting you for assault.” I said, and fished my handcuffs out of their pouch. She completely failed to hear me, and continued kicking Pete and trying to get at Roger. He did the only wise thing, which was the shrink away into the hallway and around the corner.

Because she was flailing her hands at Roger, it was easy to get one of her hands into a handcuff, but that didn’t stop her from trying to wrench herself loose.

“Take her down,” Pete said to me, as he hooked a leg around her legs. I grabbed a firm grasp at the handcuff I had in my hand, and made two quick steps into the hallway. Pete had her legs, so she stumbled, and ended up face-down on the ground.

Sarah wailed in pain. Understandable – being moved around by a handcuff can be rather painful. In OST (Officer Safety Training), these manoeuvres are referred to as ‘Pain Compliance’, and for good reason. We use them sparsely, but they’re extremely effective in bringing a struggling prisoner under control.

Once she was on the floor, I used the rigid handcuffs to quickly move her hand onto her back. Meanwhile, Pete grabbed her other hand, and wrenched it behind her back. Her free hand met up with the other cuff, and soon both her hands were tucked neatly away in stainless steel bracelets.

I finished my arrest procedure by reading her the police caution, the reason, grounds, and time of arrest. Pete remained with her, and kept her on the floor by placing a knee on the back of her upper arm. Whenever she started struggling, he put a little more pressure on her arm, which immediately made her calm down again.

“Mike Delta receiving two-six” I transmitted via my radio, referring to our call-sign rather than my shoulder number.

“Two-six go ahead.” Came the reply, immediately.

“Still at our last assigned. We’ve just had to arrest a female for common assault. Do we have any spaces back at the nick?”

“Stand by” the reply came.

I looked up at Roger, who was massaging his face with his right hand.

“You all right?”

“I think I put a teeth through my lip.” he said.

I took him aside, out of earshot of Sarah.

“Lemme see.” I said.

He moved his hand and grimaced. There was quite a lot of blood in his mouth, but it didn’t look like a particularly bad injury.

“At least it doesn’t look like you’ve broken any teeth”, I said. “Shall I call you an ambulance?”

“Er…” he said.

“You don’t have to… But we do need to take a statement from you about this assault.” I dropped my voice so I couldn’t be overheard by his sister. “To be honest, mate, us having to arrest her is probably the best outcome. It think it would have taken us at least another half hour to get her out of here, and then she’d probably have come back, so we’d just have to come back again later. This way, at least she’s at the other side of the borough, so perhaps she’ll think twice about coming back.”

“Yeah, that makes sense. Do you think we should change the locks, too?”

“Two-six receiving Mike Delta,” my radio announced.

“Go ahead?” I replied, as I nodded to Roger.

“Yeah, definitely change the locks.” I said to him.

My radio sprung back into life.

“We have a space reserved for you at the Hyatt.” the CAD operator said, jokingly referring to one of the police stations on the borough that is placed right next to a large hotel.

“Great stuff. Can we get a limo as well?” I replied, stretching the metaphor.

“Sure thing. On the hurry-up?”

“Nah, no rush. We’re at the 11th floor though, and there’s no elevator, so we’re going to need a bit of extra assistance getting her down. She’s a bit lively.”

“No worries, the Limo is triple-crewed today. They’re not far off, give them ten minutes.”

“That’ll be an hour then, including the walk up the stairs.” I joked.

“Very funny, Delito.” the slightly chubby driver of the caged van cut into our conversation.

“Hey!” another voice cut through on the radio. “Professionalism, gentlemen.”

Whoops, seems like the shift sergeant didn’t really see the funny side of our exchange.

“Received. Sorry sarge”, I transmitted in reply.

I suppose he was right to challenge us; there wasn’t just us and the CAD operators who were listening in; anybody within earshot of a police officer would have heard that little exchange.

“Damn right”, he shot back. “You’re buying the doughnuts tomorrow.”

“And a stick of celery, for me, please.” came the voice of the caged van driver. I grinned.

The CAD operator interrupted with an urgent call to a burglary in progress somewhere, putting an end to our radio-transmitted banter.

“Are you going to stay calm now?” Pete asked Sarah, who was still on the floor.

She nodded and mumbled something.

“I’m going to help you up, and you’re going to sit back down one the sofa.” he said. “But I’ve had it with your fighting, and if you don’t stay calm, you’re going back on the floor, okay?”

She nodded again, and Pete helped her up, leading her to the sofa.

It was rather annoying that we had to wait for the van crew to arrive, but I didn’t fancy my chances in bringing Sarah down ten flights of stairs; it doesn’t take a strong or heavy person to drag three people down a flight of concrete steps, and if you’ve been following these blog posts, you’ll have caught on that I have a strong preference for keeping myself out of A&E as much as possible.

I took the opportunity to take an MG-11 (witness statement) from Roger about the assault, as Pete was babysitting Sarah.

After about twenty minutes, the three extra officers arrived, and we were able to take Sarah down to the van without incident. We spent a painful hour-and-a-half at custody to get all her property booked in properly. It is usually pretty straightforward, but it rapidly turns into a rather long procedure of itemising and arguing about the colours and names of items, when your prisoner is carrying a plastic bag containing everything she owns, and insists on itemising each individual item of clothing.

This resulted in loud protests when I put three items of clothing on the custody skipper’s desk and proclaimed that we should itemise three pink tops. Let’s just say that I, for one, had no idea that there was a difference between a ‘coral tank top’, a ‘rose camisole’ and a ‘salmon crop top’. Apparently there is – and she had all three garments, but exactly zero ‘pink tops’. Go figure.

Once Sarah was fully booked in, searched, fingerprinted, and shuffled into a cell at the station, I slumped into a chair in the writing room, next to Pete.

“I’m knackered.” Pete said, half sitting, half laying in the creaky old office chair. Whilst I had been locked in a battle of wits over the names of various item of clothing, Pete had finished all the paperwork. We were ready to hand Sarah over to the case progression unit, who would be interviewing her on tape, and taking her through the rest of the process.

“Me and all.” I said. “Do you want some moral assistance and do that phone call we talked about now?”

“You know, I had completely forgotten about all of that,” Pete said, looking pensive. “Nothing like evicting a druggie from her own mother’s house to get your mind of stuff, I suppose.”

“Well, in that case…” I said, giving Pete an easy way to get off the hook, “Pub?”

“You know,” Pete grinned, “I think that is the best idea I’ve heard since the last time someone suggested going to the pub.

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2 responses to “An Eviction

  1. When I was a kid my dad (ex met), gave me 3 of Harry Cole’s early books to read & I adored them.
    I’m only a few posts in, after being recommended your blog; but this is like a modern day version. Bloody excellent, thanks!

    (and I hope Roger is still doing well….I’m on the “other side” as a probation officer & the start of his story sounds promising).

  2. Enjoy reading your blog, worked through a few entries all ready. Did you ever go back for her stash in the kitchen?

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