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Lone Females by Ian Woods and Sgt Simon Wilson:
The sad case in the press this week of India Chipcase serves to underline one of the main priorities of Street Angels – https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/aug/02/ex-bookkeeper-edward-tenniswood-found-guilty-murdering-india-chipchase
Some of you may recall the incident I encountered when Steve and I shadowed Stockton Street Angels of a young girl in drunken state who was attempting to walk home without any friends. We managed to find her friends who promised to take her home safely.
Similarly during our first few weeks on patrol in Northallerton, we have come across similar situations outside Amadeus of girls in an inebriated state who we have managed to sort out.
The chilling words from the press article attached are “ Others nearby thought from the way he spoke to her that he knew her”.
Sgt Wilson adds:
Please consider when handing over a drunk individual to ‘friends’ or more worrying ‘friend’ who have stated ‘they will make sure they get home safe’ that the victim and responsible person actually know each other and they are not a potential offender taking advantage of an vulnerable individual. I would hate for an SA to hand over a vulnerable (drunk) female to a male claiming to be a friend to then find later in the night that an assault has occurred.
Whilst it’s easy to highlight such an issue its more difficult to prevent.
My thoughts are do whatever you can to establish if the victim knows the ‘friend’ and ask some questions if you can with both apart from each other confirming if the ‘friend’ knows the persons address, name, family, friends and verify with the victim if the answers are correct. I know if the victim is drunk this can be very difficult but you can only do what you can in the circumstances.
If in doubt ring the family to come and collect if you can.
Ian Woods concludes:
The case of India Chipchase has received wide publicity so in the event that someone questions as to why we are asking for information, it will be a reasonable response to refer to recent ‘incidents’. I have spoken too with Steve Brock from Stockton Street Angels and he has confirmed Sergeant Wilson’s advice and has added that if the patrol still has concerns to get the CCTV team to monitor and even consider calling for Police as a last resort if you are not satisfied with the answers been given.
Of all the things we do, this is perhaps the most sensitive BUT THE MOST IMPORTANT issue that we will encounter.