We have a coded phrase in the LAS, that when spoken on priority or on open mic, will alert whoever is listening that urgent police are required and needed on the hurry up! It’s used so that attackers don’t obviously know you are calling for help. Unfortunately, not everyone in the LAS knows about this.
Just so there is continued secrecy to that phrase I have used the phrase, VECTOR VECTOR instead . . . as it’s equally as stupid as the real one.
As the woman sat on the floor screaming, the two men set about beating her again. This time, I acted instinctively – I’d had enough. And, rushing forward I placed myself between the screaming woman and the two men.
“Get back!” I pushed them back a step or two and pressed priority on my radio – nothing.
The two men charged at the same time, one brandishing a walking crutch above his head as if to strike. This time, with instinct, I open-hand pushed both men away in their faces, pushing one to the floor.
“Get BACK!!!” I shouted and again pressed priority on my radio – nothing again!
I was now consciously aware of the ludicrousness of the situation. Here I was, maintaining a heroic side ward stance, one hand outstretched to the two men stood, poised ready to pounce either side of me. Whilst my other hand was outstretched to the woman sat cowering behind me on the floor. Some might of suggested this was the epitome of chivalry and heroism, like a Mexican standoff . . . but really, this was nothing more than a ridiculous end to a pathetic situation which I really wish I’d never been sent to in the first place!
When I first arrived on scene the “poor defenseless woman” in question was busying herself screaming profanities at the staff of a rehabilitation center. In a near psychotic frenzy, she would hop from one bare foot to another, screaming and crying – first in a pleading and begging fashion, then changing instantly to a spitting and vile attacking banshee. Her east end howl made all the more unpleasant to the ears due to the throaty edge of someone who had been shouting for weeks, and smoking for centuries.
Beside her were two men of similar demeanour – both scrawny, unkempt and thin. One was using a pair of crutches – but only when he remembered that he should.
Half the time the men would back the woman’s despair and support and defend her, claiming that all the staff and world were “evil selfish bastards”, then, with no reasonable consistency, they would change and start attacking the woman for lying and playing up. This betrayal was especially forthright when the woman performed pathetic B-rated pseudo faints.
For a while I stood bewildered. I really wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do with this – or why it was I was there in the first place. Neither could the staff for that matter – they’d called the police . . .
Ah . . . I thought, this would have been automatic dispatch then. That is, when the call came through to the police, they would have automatically dispatched it as an LAS call also, due to possible mental health or injury issues “unknown”. And as this was the case, I was the poor sod who’d arrived first.
Well, sod my luck.
I had a student with me at the time and we both just stood there watching the three stooges bounce off each other. Eventually, the woman threw herself to the floor and feigned a particularly long pseudo faint . . . with shaking, and hitting her head repeatedly on the floor. At this point the two men turned their virulent ire toward me.
“QUICK!” Crutches man chimed, “Do something! She’s dying!”
“Don’t just fucking stand there wanker! Fucking ‘elp ‘er!” The other pitched in through a toothless scowl.
Seeing that a crowd was gathering on the street to watch the theatrical antics unfold (most were school kids with their phones held gallantly aloft to film everything), I shrugged my shoulders and sighed. Then ambled over to the woman lying on the floor. Shaking her gently on the shoulder I called to her,
“Terina*. Terina. Come on dear. Stop this hey. It’s a bi-”
Terina’s eyes popped open and she spat through a toothless mouth up at me and started kicking and punching. I backed away to where the staff and my student were and shrugged my shoulders again. Again, the two men turned on Terina, berating her disastrous theatrical talents, but this time striking her where she lay. Terina started screaming louder than before.
I moved forward and suggested they stop the attacks. It worked – but now I was involved! Terina crawled toward me and attempted to grab my leg whilst the two men shouted at her. All their arguments swapped and changed form from; lack of drugs, each other using each others’ drugs, wasting each others’ time, being stupid, and rape and physical assault accusations.
Sod. My. Luck!
And again, just out of the blue, Terina jumped up. This time however, she ran out into the road. Here, she completely failed to get herself run over. The last car to pass her, did so with gentle ease. But Terina – from the World School of Shit Actors – pretended to be hit by it anyway, and performed a perfectly executed 360 degree pirouette before sitting down in the middle of the road and laying back. Then she threw her arms back.
Cars continued to weave around her.
The crowds were amused.
I was not however. I walked up to Terina, grabbed her by the arm and dragged her out of the road and back onto the Rehab Unit’s driveway.
“Terina! Stop fucking around! You’re gonna get other people hurt! And you’re about to get yourself arrested. Probably 136’d!”**
The two men gathered in and started having a go at her also. But, their attacks were bitterly personal. And in response, Terina’s were worse back. Again, her accusations of rape started bellowing out and pretty soon all three were at hammer and tongs again. Eventually however, Terina moved away from the men back up to where we were standing and collapsed to her knees pleading with us all to save her from them.
It was at this point the two men moved in and started physically attacking her. And it was at this point I stepped in . . .
. . . So, here I stood, like a Knight stood over and protecting a damsel in distress. Albeit, I wasn’t entirely sure who should be protected here, but here I stood. I pressed the priority button for the third time – nothing. This time however, I noticed I’d actually been pressing the “double text size” button by mistake. Twat! So, this time I went straight for open mic . . .
“RED BASE! Z952. VECTOR VECTOR TO MY LOCATION – NOW!”
The two men edged closer but I kept my stance.
After a few seconds silence, my radio buzzed into life, “. . . er, Z952, is that urgent police you wanted?”
Feeling like the dramatic “moment” had just been lost, I dropped my shoulders and sighed. I answered the radio – nonchalantly now.
“Red Base. Yes. Urgent police please.”
Strangely enough though, this had a desired effect and the two men backed off somewhat. And within a minute two police units arrived to help with the situation.
However, it took a further ten minutes before any of the police had any idea on what was going on either. But give them their due, they took control and managed to get rid of the two men quickly enough.
And as for Terina? Well, true to the warning, and sadly enough, she ended up being 136’d and taken to hospital for assessment. Of course, she had to be kept in a separate room as she continued to be aggressive both to herself and others – and unfortunately, no Mental Health team were going to touch her until she sobered up.
I eventually left them all arguing over whether the police had to stay or whether A&E were going to sedate her or not in the interim. I’d had enough and had finished my part in all this. I wanted to go home.
I finished my paperwork and headed off . . . two hours late.
*not her real name of course
**If a patient, in a public place, becomes a danger to themselves and/or to others then the police have the powers to use Section 136 to remove the patient and take them to a place of safety for further assessment. https://www.rethink.org/living-with-mental-illness/police-courts-prison/section-136-police-taking-you-to-a-place-of-safety-from-a-public-place