It's night duty, a few weeks after being signed off to patrol independently and I’m crewed with my team tutor and mentor who I shall refer to as W. Having a massive three and a half years service (anything more than a year was massive at the time) and having already served on a proactive surveillance team, he has my complete trust and respect. A couple of years older than me, quite a bit shorter, and considerably more ginger, he has no issues in fully utilising his officer safety instructor skills to gain the upper hand with everyone I have seen try to fight him (at least a dozen at that point, which was loads) Whilst tutoring me, he was always serious. He still answers any question I have sincerely, no matter how stupid or based on having been told complete lies. Like me, he's come from a Services family and had been aiming to join the Marines to follow his dad but chose the Police instead. Having worked with him for a few weeks since my last course at the training unit he is completely different, more relaxed, and more of himself than when he is in teaching mode.
We're skulking around one of our rougher estates looking for anyone to spin when the call comes through the radio “a unit to attend 40 South Street, call from a family member, drunk male attacking his wife” I later read through the incident message and the exact words the 17 year old caller used were “please help, he’s drunk again and punching my mum, I can’t stop him, please help”
It's after pub kicking out time and the roads are relatively empty so we get to the address in good time. As we are walking along the path up to the door, I can hear a man shouting and the sound of furniture being thrown about. W asks me to get an update to the control room and get a van running. The hall light isn’t on but I see the front door open as the caller comes out. He’s 17 and looks like any normal kid although he is upset that he can’t protect his mum from his dad. Apparently he’d got back from the pub drunk after watching the football, his team lost, so naturally, he took it out on her. Again.
The kid says he called us, he tried to stop him from hitting his mum but his dad just pushed and kicked him out of the room. As we walk into the house, W goes in first and tells me to get the kid out of the way. We go in and I see the stairs on the left of the long hall and I tell the kid to stay outside the room. I hear a woman sobbing from the front room off to our right, the door is ajar and I can see her sitting slumped on the floor, she’s hiding her face from him as he is standing over her screaming into her ear about something but I can’t make it out. W pushes the door open and we start to go into the room. The man doesn’t acknowledge us, he keeps his back to the door and just shouts “I told you to get OUT!!” The woman lifts her head up and looks at the door, her left eye is bleeding and is already starting to swell closed, her bottom lip is cut badly and blood is pouring down her chin, I can see the cuts on her legs, more than likely from where he was kicking her on the floor.
For a second she can’t understand what she is looking at, and then as she realises her face contorts in horror, this gets her husbands attention and he turns around to look at us. For a moment he is shocked and then angry and shouts at us “get the fuck out of my house, you’re trespassing” W says to him “I don’t think so pal, step away from her, you’re going to be coming with us” He shouts at us again to get out then sees his son behind me and screams at him “did you call them you little fuck? You’re done, I told you to keep your nose out you little bastard” I tell him that we could hear him down the street and neighbours called us but he ignores me and stares straight at W who has already got out his baton. As he racks it and starts moving into the room, I move to his left.
We’ve done a few takedowns together and as he took the time to practice with me and a couple of the other guys in the back yard I know W favours going in from our right side to control the left arm. W moves in and raises the baton, placing the tip on his right shoulder, he then shouts at the man “I said get away from her NOW” We get closer as the guy starts to turn fully square to us. He starts to drop his head and roll his shoulders forwards, as he starts to bring his hands up I know that he is about to move on us. W has stepped forward again, closing the reaction gap and I move with him. Just as the man launches forward and goes to grab him, W drops down low and strikes the guy as hard as he can across the left knee causing him to scream in agony and fall forwards. We both move in taking our respective arms, folding them up behind his back and we use his momentum to push him face first into the floor.
As we all hit the floor I hear the wife shouting “please don’t hurt him” I look up at her and can’t believe what I’m hearing, this man has just literally beaten her black and blue, probably scarring her for life given the state of her face. W shouts at me to get his arm round, he’s already managed to get a cuff on the left arm and he has it half way up his back, ready for me to get the right one in. As I try to pull his arm up he pulls against me screaming and swearing at us. He manages to pull his arm round enough to start to tuck it under his chest. The only thing I can do to control the arm is to punch out his bicep, causing it to deaden to give me enough control to turn his arm round in the socket allowing me to put a ‘goose neck’ lock on his wrist. Once I get the lock on I can then bring the hand back round behind his back and force it into the handcuff.
As I start to punch the arm the son shouts out “why are you punching him, you can’t do that” as he starts to walk towards us, W shouts at him to get back. I again punch the arm and get a good hit in but the only thing going through my mind is “what the hell is wrong with the people in this family?!?” As I lift the arm out I manage to turn it round, locking out the elbow and turning the wrist towards it giving me complete control of the arm, I then get the hand down and W pulls the wrist into the cuff. The guy is still screaming and swearing at us but I hear the diesel engine at top revs and I see the flashing blues in the window telling me the van crew has arrived. A second later I hear them bang through the front door and into the hall, shouting out to us to check we’re ok. As one of the guys puts his head round door, the son shouts at him that we’re beating his dad up and my colleague says to him “hang on a minute, didn’t you call us?”
The man hears this and goes ballistic, he screams out “ I fucking knew it you bastard, you called them” he starts thrashing around on the floor, trying to turn to W, biting out to try and get the nearest thing to him. W asks me if I’m ready to go, I change my leg position to get ready to stand up and as I do so W nods at me. With our arms locked around the guy’s arms and shoulders and with the help of adrenalin, we lift him up easily. As we start to move to the hall my colleague goes to the front door to hold it open and I see the son move further up the hallway into the house. At least he’s now out of the way. W starts to turn so he goes out through the door first, the hallway is narrow so we have to go sideways with the guy bent forwards. As we get into the hall the man is still screaming and swearing but he’s now started spitting, he tries to head butt W and kick his legs out, missing and falling forwards as his weight shifts. We fall against the stairs and I bang my head and I hear the son screaming now “what are you doing to my dad, get off him, you’re hurting him!”
I ignore the son and regain my footing, pushing the guy further forwards to keep his head down, at least that way he can’t see what he is kicking at or trying to head butt. W shouts at him to stop resisting but he’s still thrashing his legs around as we try to move him down the hall. We’re bouncing off the wall and the stairs as we get closer to the door, trying to shuffle through the hall with someone trying to kick out isn’t easy. By now we are both screaming at the guy to stop resisting and trying to kick us but we are nearly at the door so W starts to move out to his left, giving him space away from the guys legs to make it harder to kick out.
As W is right at he door I feel a huge impact at my right side, knocking me forwards. I realise that the son has just tried to jump on my back and as I turn to look at him, I lift up my head to see W let go of the dad and jump towards me. As I turn to my right I see the son with his right arm up in the air, moving towards the back of my head, W throws a punch straight towards me and before I can finish thinking ‘what the fu…’ I see his fist move past my face, striking the son straight in the mouth, causing him to fall to the floor. As the son collapses in a heap I see him drop the biggest Phillips head screwdriver I’ve ever seen.
This kid, who had called us to stop his dad from beating his mum up, has just tried to stab me in the neck with a screwdriver.
I started to fall on top of the dad as we were both completely off balance, W scrambled over both of us and jumped on the son, as my colleague holding the front door moved in to grab hold of the dad’s right arm. W pinned the son to the floor as we got the dad out and dragged him – still screaming – to the van, putting him into the cage. The van driver rushed in behind us to help W handcuff the son, who was then walked out and put into the back of our car while someone requests another van to take him. I'm stood next to the front gate of the house, my hands shaking from the adrenalin and the fact that I was just nearly stabbed, all I can picture is the screwdriver on the floor. W walks over to me and says “that was close. I didn’t see that one coming. Are you alright?”
I just look at him and say “I need a fucking brew”