Tuesday, 12 March 2013

 Letter to David Cameron 
"I am proud to say that in this country, we have by far the best police service in the world." -
Not the words of a police officer, but from another member of the 999 family, Paramedic Ella Shaw from her excellent blog http://www.tryingmypatients.com/
Please take a couple of minutes to read her 'Letter to David Cameron' -

Please Sir, can I have some more?

Dear David

I'd like to start by wishing you and your family well in these tough economic times. You and Samantha's combined salaries of £400,000 plus shares and bonuses must be really getting spread thin. I empathise, I really do. Like you, I seem to work all the hours god sends yet that £25,000 seems to just disappear! Still waiting for my mileage expenses to come through though, so that will be an extra £42 in the piggy bank! I love expenses! Anyway, the point of this letter is one of a more serious nature.

I have waited a long time to write this to you. Let me draw your mind back to your first assault on the Police service. In case you'd forgotten you cut 16,000 officers. Less is more! Quality over quantity! Needs must! Look at the bigger picture! We will all feel the pinch! No one is immune from cuts! All very very true. We must indeed all pay the price for the bankers and politicians sticking our country in the economical dark ages. But, there are consequences to your ill advised cuts. Let me share a story. A story that brings back painful memories. A story that still bears real scars.

As a paramedic, one who has been through years of training and sacrificed friends and family for such a fulfilling salary, I understand that part of my job, in fact, part of my salary is danger money. Well, not officially, but being abused is part of the job, right? As the Right Honourable Ann Widecombe, recently said, "Public servants worry more about their own safety than that of the public, Britain has sunk to a new low". I'm guessing by your lack of condemnation of these comments you must agree wholeheartedly. So, as an 'ambulance driver' (yes, we are that low in the food chain), a bit of danger comes with the territory. One afternoon, I was called to a residential address to a man who had 'passed out'.

When I arrived that man was lying on the grass. I approached him, on my own, and he appeared drunk. I went about my business, checking him over, when the ambulance crew arrived. We began to get the bed off the ambulance all the while making sure the member of the public was OK. We are public servants after all and serve we shall. Without warning the patient stood up and swayed a little, then staggered into a fence. Poor guy eh?!

He then beat me with a fence post. He also beat the other members of the ambulance service. Three of us in all. Do you know what it feels like to be helpless against a man beating you with a lump of wood? Despite all of our broken bones we managed to press our emergency button. Let me share a conversation with you.

Me: "Red base red base, urgent police, we are being attac......." I stopped because the lump of wood has been broken over the back of my head and then broke my hand.

Crew 1: "Red base, my crew mate has been hit over the head, urgent police" he says with 3 broken ribs.

Red Base: "Getting the police for you now, are you all OK, can you get to safety."

Crew 2: "I'm now locked in the car, I think my wrist is broken, he's still attacking us."

Crew 1: "We are away from him but he's coming after us. Are the police on way?"

Red Base: "The police have no units to send, try and maintain a safe distance."

Crew 2: "He's trying to get in the car, he's hitting it with the wood"

Crew 1: "I think he's stopped, he's lying in the road but we can't drive off."

Crazy stuff isn't Dave! No units to send?! But aren't the police supposed to be there to protect us? Surely in a real emergency they have someone to send. Surely you didn't cut too many? It's OK, 9 minutes later two undercover officers arrived. Part of their job is getting abused too. I should probably mention now that in their efforts to protect us from the patient they too both got broken bones. They were struggling to restrain him on their own so much, that we all helped. We all restrained him for 10 more minutes until more help arrived. Guess what we did then Dave? We all took the patient to hospital for treatment. With our broken bones and bleeding wounds, we checked his blood pressure, he even got to travel on the bed. He is of course a member of the public and we are all their servants.

Now, do you still think less police is the right answer? What if you or your beloved family were trapped somewhere in real fear for your life? What if you called for help? What thoughts would go through your mind when you heard those terrifying words "No units to send." The officer who came to my aid told me that it used to be a team of 25 to police the borough on this shift. Today it was a team of 7. No doubt they got complaints from the public for not coming to their aid quick enough whilst 2 of the 7 were sat in A & E with me and my colleagues. Tut tut. We really must all work harder.

The good news from all of this, was our patient was treated professionally by us and the hospital. He was arrested and charged. He was sent to prison. However, because of your cuts to the prison service he has already been released and I could bump into him anytime of any day. Oh wait....in fact, only last week, I was sent on a job to his house. Can you imagine the fear Dave, can you? Luckily he wasn't there.

I am proud to say that in this country we have by far the best police service in the world. The things they do and the dangers they face without a gun on their belt. The professionalism they show at all times is nothing short of amazing. That is in the face of your assault on their salary, their pensions and their working conditions. Now you are making a career in the police as unappealing as possible by slashing the starting salary and rushing through the 'Eton Old Boys' to top ranking jobs without ever having to be spat at, kicked, punched, stabbed, shot, sworn at, had missiles through at them and put their lives on the line. It is plain and simple Dave. There are not enough of them any more. Not enough by a long shot. So, in the words of Oliver Twist, 'Please Sir, can I have some more?'

Just a thought, you know that publicly owned bank, RBS? You know, the one we all bailed out with our taxes. Well they are paying their staff £950,000,000 in bonuses this year. As they are PUBLICLY owned, why not use the money to fund the salaries for 38,000 new police officers on £25,000 a year. I think my maths is right. There are other banks to you know. Other ones we all helped fix. How about they now help fix us? I know, I know, I'm probably not looking at the bigger picture, but in that big picture I just see the words 'No Units To Send'. Silly me.

By the way Dave, this wasn't a work of fiction for effect. This actually happened. To me. Have a read. http://www.barnet-today.co.uk/news.cfm?id=3449&headline=Man+in+court+for+paramedic+assault

Good luck with the economy Dave, there are tough times ahead.

Your Sincerely

Ella Shaw (Public Servant)

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