Saturday, February 12, 2005

View From The Front Line

In the excellent Policeman's Blog the author writes about the interminably squabbling and intermittently violent couples who form such a large part of the workload of local Police. The CPS has, for good reasons, a policy of always pursuing Domestic Violence cases, sometimes in the teeth of yet another retraction statement by the victim. The Police give these 999 calls a high priority, but that has led to the sort of situation that I saw a few weeks ago. A local couple in their sixties are both alcoholics, and start violent rows as soon as they get to the bottom of the second or third two-litre bottle of 8 per cent cider. In the last year the woman has called Police over fifty times. Police have always attended. Lover boy has been arrested umpteen times, spent weeks inside because he persists in breaching bail conditions not to see his paramour, and is usually sentenced to less than he has already served on remand. More than once I have seen them leaving the court hand in hand, presumably on their way to the off-licence, home, and a row. In a nutshell, they can't live with each other and they can't live without each other. Now I take domestic violence as seriously as anyone and I am cautious about bail, because if we get one wrong there might be a dead woman to account for. Nevertheless, this can't be a good use of police or prison resources - but what else can we do?

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