Our priority is to keep people safe

This blog by PC Gareth Tanner, an officer in South Cambs, is part of the force’s May campaign to raise awareness of vulnerable adults and the risks they face.

Our number one priority is to keep people safe from harm. We do this by working with our partner agencies and this case was a great example of how it works.

Social services staff visited a bungalow in South Cambs District Council (SCDC) sheltered housing to provide care and medication to an elderly man but found themselves refused entry by his daughter who also lived there.

The man, his wife and the daughter were not in any immediate danger but it was clear that, in the long term, he would suffer significant harm.

The three agencies – social services, SCDC and police – got together and shared information to get a full picture of what was happening. Our enquiries suggested the daughter may have been abusive to her parents: controlling them with intimidation and threats of violence, restricting their use of the telephone and preventing them from using the whole of their bungalow, forcing them both to live solely in the small box room.

Together we were able to formulate a plan to deal with the complicated issues and safeguard the parents, who were too vulnerable to solve the problem themselves and too intimidated to call for help.

We booked a hearing at court and agency staff worked together into the night to prepare.

I attended Cambridge County Court with Claire Gilbey of South Cambs District Council and obtained an interim injunction with immediate effect to prevent any nuisance, abusive or threatening behaviour.

After serving the injunction later that same day, Claire and I explained to the whole family that their living situation was harmful and that the injunction was necessary to change it for the better, providing them all with freedom and independence.

The daughter left the bungalow voluntarily and accepted SCDC’s offer of temporary housing. On May 5, a court injunction was granted which forbids her from residing overnight or visiting her parents without their permission. It also orders her not to cause nuisance or annoyance or to harass, threaten or be abusive to anyone at the property.

Social services are now also free to provide appropriate care to the mother and father who have thanked agencies for restoring control of their home to them.

By working together with our partner agencies, we helped a vulnerable couple who weren’t able to help themselves.

Below is a short video released as part of our campaign, which runs throughout May.

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