Today, for assorted reasons I won’t go into here, I spent an hour or so with a female officer from North Yorkshire Police. I’ve already said here that how you are treated by the police when you have a mental illness depends on the officer attending, and this officer was exactly what was needed.
She was careful to respect my boundaries and to ask before she did anything. She was interested in learning about my condition, asked when she didn’t understand something and apologised for asking so many questions. When someone is genuinely interested in understanding what it’s like inside my head I have no problem with answering questions.
At one point I was hugely triggered and walked out – not my wisest move but I just had to get out – and she followed me, not reaching out and grabbing me but stopping in front of me and asking if she could touch my arm. She liaised with the cause of my trigger to sort something out, and dropped me home. In the course of our conversation I had shown her pictures of K, my cat and the guinea pigs and she asked to come in and meet Colditz, checking I was ok before she left.
What could have been a horrible, stressful and triggering experience was made much easier by her attitude. Where another officer might have detained me on a S136, she was happy to let me explain that I would be compliant, and was instrumental in getting me some help for the head noise of the past few days.
When someone cares, it really does make a difference.