Sergeant Ross Hanway is the Patrol Sergeant for Response Team E which works across part of the borough command unit covering Enfield and Haringey.
He has been in the Met for 17 years and in his current role for seven years and has a wealth of experience in running a response team.
He explains that his officers work a six days on/four days off shift pattern with those six days divided into two early shifts (7am – 3pm), two late shifts (2pm – 11pm) and two nights (10pm – 7am).
The first thing that happens is a handover from the preceding shift which means all the officers are briefed on any incidents, tensions, problems that they need to know about. Sgt Hanway will then post his officers to their cars. “There is such a volume of calls that they will mainly go from incident to incident without ever coming back to the patrol base” he says.
In part, he definitely puts the increased number down to the rise of mental health-related calls where someone in crisis needs either to be protected from themselves or the public needs to be protected from them. Sgt Hanway notes “In my personal experience around one third of calls have some aspect of mental health to them – often further related to drug and alcohol abuse”.
He is also very interested in the mental health of his officers and explains that if he hears of a particularly traumatic incident he will always check in with the officers attending during the next shift to make sure they are ok. “They can go from dealing with a lonely homeless person to attending a scene of extreme violence in the space of 15 minutes, the adrenaline is up and down all through a shift – it’s incredibly demanding” he finds.
As the sergeant on duty, Ross has to constantly juggle the resources he has to hand. His radio is always on so he can monitor the kind of calls coming in and work out if he has any cars available for the current call while making sure that he has something ready for the next one.
He is a big fan of body worn cameras saying “It’s great, we wanted to have them as soon as they were available, you won’t find any criticism of them from our officers. Visual evidence is very strong in court”. After every incident, the footage is recorded and uploaded to the crime report and then if needed used in court. He claims they are especially valuable for domestic violence cases.
As for public misconceptions about response officers? Sgt Hanway thinks the main one is about how many officers he has at his disposal on any given shift. “During a shift I could have 30 immediate response calls and another 30 which need an hour’s response time. Already that number is way over the number of cars I have”.
The type of calls he gets varies enormously, of course, but there are some similarities. Sadly domestic violence will be present on every shift as will missing people, mainly looked after children. Traffic accidents are also common as are mental health-related calls.
As day turns into evening, the number of violent incidents rises, there will be calls about firearms, assaults, robbery incidents and ASB. Nights can be very random, lots of clubs have closed down so the night time economy is reduced – so the call volume will generally drop after 2am.
On the subject of the public response to the
Via @MPSHaringey | Facebook
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