Risk assessments - are they just a way of apportioning blame when it goes belly up? I'm hearing a lot of talk from senior management about doing a dynamic risk assessment before attending calls, this is all since single patrol has been imposed. It would appear I must even record in detail my rationale if I deviate from this diktak taking into account the risks to be managed.
I've seen the ambulance service is also stricken down by this mindset. I'm aware of three calls the other day where the ambulance control called us because a risk assessment showed they shouldn't attend without police. I'm not talking about high level risks surrounding firearms but perceived low level violence. We will if we have a unit always support our first responder colleagues, but I've noticed they won't even approach the address until we get there.
Already one such call turned into what we call a critical incident because the casualty was at risk of death. If he had died, because there had been police contact a major investigation would have been launched putting every single police officer under scrutiny. It was touch and go at one stage meaning every constable had to justify what he did and why. I had an overview input after he reached hospital and without going in to details could see that, we the police would have got slaughtered had the casualty popped his clogs. A very near miss and suffice to say the single patrol policy and other decisions made by those enjoying their week-end off played a part. I could almost hear the inquest narrative highlighting systemic organisational failings and our retort of being very sorry and promising to learn from our mistakes.
The facts were evident and a number of circumstances conspired together contributing to what would have been the death of an individual. No police officers did anything wrong but the spotlight would have been on them when the blame actually lay elsewhere, around saving money and resources.
I did a report highlighting the issues and somebody higher up will read it and breath a sigh of relief. Will we learn from it as an organisation? I doubt it - but I had all of my team in to discuss things in depth. They are in no doubt they are the ones who would have been left out on a limb and criticised when actually they assisted in saving a life. It will go into their experience banks and some of them with 30 years to go will benefit from it. I'll keep the report to produce when something similar happens and somebody tries to point the finger - stating risk assessments.
Death following police contact includes non crime stuff - like us trying to save life too.