Picture the following - four children (legally, you are still a child if under the age of 16) walking into Halifax at 5pm on Thursday November 8, to go the cinema to celebrate a birthday.
Suddenly they are attacked by a gang of five thugs, one who grabs a child, my grandson, holding his arms to his sides, whilst a second punches him in the face and a third punches him in the kidneys. Three of the boys escape, one turning back when he sees his friend in trouble and the other, as this is an emergency, as advised by the police, dials triple nine. Yes, he does get a reply and is told to wait and help is on the way. The boy says that the gang have started to walk towards People’s Park but he is still frightened. The emergency is then downgraded to priority. The lads then ring their parents who arrive within minutes. Thirty minutes later the 999 operative rings back and the lad is then told that he will be visited at home. One parent waits for 30 minutes but nobody comes. Two other relatives go to People’s Park and, although dusk, it is unlocked and the gang could be anywhere. When my daughter complained, she spoke to a person who said he was a sergeant and was told that even if this was a 999 call and the attack was still ongoing, they did not have anybody to deal with it because all six response teams were busy! (At 5.10pm on a Thursday evening?) If this is so we need more police! The local police station is about two minutes, by car, from the scene of the ‘mugging’. Whoever made the decision to downgrade the 999 call should be made aware that an opportunity to catch a gang of thugs, who no doubt think they have got away with this and, in all probability will repeat their crime, was lost.