• A stitch in time 31 July 2017 | View comments

  • 1st July 2017 | By David Jolley

    These weeks are filled with a mix of experiences, shifted now well away from the routines of paid employment, but with a rhythm of regular routines laced with extras. It has been a pleasure to meet visitors from Chile – friends of Sarah – they met in Vancouver. An international world which is beyond me, but here in flesh rather than via the mysteries of the internet.

    Preparations for a beach party at our next meeting of Dementia Conversations have drawn me into another world of cues and nostalgia – It is wonderful what is available when you look around.

    Battles with invasive plants feel winnable, thanks to days of rain which has softened the soil. Thanks also to a marvellous device I have learned is called a Mattock – bought from our last Car Boot sale it is a combination of pickaxe and hoe. Mattocks have a long history https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mattock: certainly the exercise makes me feel much at one with Bronze Age man.

    Preparation, preparing the ground are essentials if a venture is to have a hope of success. 

    So the sadness and frustration of the week relates to my attempts to obtain help when troubled by noisy youths promising mischief and worse on our local park. I have tried to arrange for PCSOs to call as a routine on nights – especially Fridays and Saturdays – when problems are most likely.

    They do not come. If they did we believe their presence would change the equation from uncontrolled mayhem to a situation where the law can see what is going on and can be seen to take an interest.

    They do not come because they are called away to higher priority crises where matters have escalated to danger of one sort or another.

    There is no way to contact PCSOs after 3pm on any day – and there is no way at any time during weekends when problems are most likely. 

    The only recourse when faced with behaviour which does not justify a 999 call is to call 101: on Tuesday 35 minutes on the phone failed to get through to a person who might help but introduced me to an automated message which told me every 2 minutes: ‘All our call handlers are busy’ ….and could I try contact via the GMC website. The website advises I call 101!

    A more worrying situation on Wednesday night so I tried again: 40 minutes and no contact. I sent a complaint to the Police Professional Standards unit and have made our local MP and the Mayor of Greater Manchester aware of the situation. 

    There is no police response before matters escalate to crises of 999 proportions. This is not the civilisation I have lived with for 70 years. This is a pretence at providing a safe community.

    This model is applicable in other situations, including the care of people with dementia and similar conditions.

    My mum had much wisdom and passed this to us as hymns and songs sung as she went about her work – or short sayings or proverbs. For these situations she would give us:

    ‘A stitch in time, saves nine’.

    This is a received and widely known truism. Why are we unable to act upon it?

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