30 October 2007

What shall we do with a drunken sailor?

PNDs...splendid things....we could use them on rowdy revellers who were drunk and disorderly (£80) or merely drunk in a public place (£50), give them a ticket and continue policing the rowdy idiot-filled streets. Huzzah!
Oh wait, if they're drunk and we deal with them, we have a duty of care, and how are they supposed to understand that they've been given a ticket when they're drunk? They might not even find the ticket until weeks later when the dry cleaner tries to chip off the pop-rivetted vomit and blood off their soiled jackets. And what then if they die in a pool of their own vomit/slobber in the gutter and during the search of the body or at autopsy they find a PND? Surely the officer will have looked to protect the health of this poor innocent, not send them on their way with a non-judicial punishment and a friendly "lets be having you"?
So no PNDs should be issued for drunkenness in the street. So we arrest, take back to custody and stay off the streets for the next 6 hours booking the drunken tosser in, completing notes, avoiding the barbed comments and basilisk stares of the custody skipper for bringing a smelly, pissy drunk into his or her custody "suite". Er no. Even with half-hourly rousing, the custody skipper doesn't want somebody who really has a medical condition (poor little bunny) when they should be being checked by an ambulance crew or hospital at very least.
So you call an ambulance. Of course, the reason you wanted to give them the PND in the first place was because they were being rowdy and drunk or drunk and incapable. Particularly in the former case, the amby crew turn up and "refuse to take" because Mr or Ms Pissy-Drunk swears too much at them or imagines that one of them tried to spill their pint, or their fluorescent WKD (if they're classy!).
So we're left in the street with Mr/s Pissy-Drunk to whom we have a duty of care. The ambulance and hospital don't want them as they get enough vomit and assaults and don't need any more, the custody sergeant (or puffed-up civilian substitute depending on your force area) don't want them as they don't actually want the super-special attention that a DIC would give them, we can't mug them off with an "instant" fine in the street which is what the poxy tickets were designed for in the first place in case they die on us (because *I* don't want a DIC on my record either, thanks very much!).
In fact there are SO many restrictions on the issue of PNDs that they are largely now issued from custody, for those occasions when the CPS are too spineless to actually charge someone but we think they should get something at least (so then, most prisoners, as Mr/s Pissy-Drunk always seems to get dealt with by Mr/Ms Pissy-Pants the Prosecutor).
The licensing laws have also, of course, changed so that instead of this all taking place late at night, it can now also happen at Stupid O' Clock every morning, including Sundays.
So again I have to ask: what SHALL we do with the drunken sailor, earleye in the morning?
[Probably ignore them]

PND = Penalty Notice for Disorder
DIC = Death in Custody
CPS = Couldn't Prosecute Satan
My views are my own and would probably not endear me to my dear employers.