Starting today, since we lost a day because of the Bank Holiday, I've been sent out on a one-week community placement in order to better understand the area I will eventually be policing. I've been assigned to shadow social workers at a care home for children in the area, and to say it's already been an eye-opener is an understatement. The managers and assistants work tirelessly to create a welcoming, safe and relatively free environment for young people who've had to cope with an awful lot of crap awfully soon in life.
Yet even where they can see someone going off the rails, and where things are already reaching a critical level, from what I understand thus far, sometimes certain criteria have to be reached before certain protocols can be enacted. To say someone is at risk isn't enough, there has to be evidence, and patterns. So many different groups are pulling in different directions, each with their own targets and agendas, sometimes young people fall through cracks in the system whilst arguments and paperwork debate what may or may not be best for them
Two comments stick in my mind from today.
"Er, why do we need a police officer here?" [young resident, a little surprised upon being told I was a trainee officer]
"Some of your lot, only a few, just see them as little bastards..." [member of staff in off-the-record conversation]
Earlier this year I began corresponding with a remarkable young woman with similar experience of the blunt end of life. The resolve she and others display through some of the most raw experiences life throws at them is simply astonishing.
I thought I had a tricky time growing up. My parents separated for a few years and I lived in Sweden with my mother, my father and brother remaining in England, add to that the year in Australia and my bonds at schools were always somewhat flimsy, and perhaps that's why I was bullied throughout secondary school. Your own problems always seem like the worst in the world at the time, and I though I won't take that away from myself in belittling my own troubles, now that I draw back from that memory, pan-out and see the wider picture my previous doubts are now glaringly in perspective.
As 'Monk rightly pointed out in a previous comment:
There's no point worrying until I have something to worry about.
I have a good job, stable income, a roof over my head, family and people who love me.
Things could be a lot, lot worse.