• Ben Westwood

When the police treat you like you don't even exist

Bit of an anxious time for me right now, with reflecting on the constant number of let downs I've experienced in this false-advertising society, and economy built on numbers instead of actual humanism. Anyway, I'm done keeping quiet now, this has gone on for far too long.

So what you moaning about now Ben? I hear you ask. Well, over a year ago now I was reflecting on the time I'd been kidnapped and held up with a sword in a flat. (It's the Edmonton Green poem in Poems From a Runaway) when it suddenly dawned on me that there was no investigation into it. Ok so we're talking 25 years ago now, but this man could have done the same to many people, who knows what could have happened.

I even remember where the flat was on, and knew there could be a slight chance the guy could be traced, unless it had actually been a squat, which there's a chance that's the case too. So I made a report to the Metropolitan police, in which they told me that someone from my local police force would come to see me to take some statements from me. My local police force is West Mercia police. A year went by and I hadn't heard nothing, and with my previous experiences in recent years with the police in situations where I'd only been trying to do the right thing, I was left feeling totally deflated with no trust in the police anymore whatsoever. Sure, they put themselves on the line so often, I get that. But when it comes to abuse, and in particular child abuse (be it sexual or non-sexual) , like many I've simply seen an ever-repeating pattern which feels to me that too many of them simply don't care enough, or at the very least - I wasn't worth listening too. Perhaps if I'd of been from a more better-off family or something they would of taken me seriously, but the fact that I'm a former runaway, former homeless and treated with such disregard by the police is certainly not a unique story to myself. People that come from where I come from, with the exception of my series of court cases in 2009 where Met police officers were charged with perverting the course of justice, that's the treatment us lot usually get. Some may claim that it's all in my own head, but ask around enough and you'll get the picture as clear as day. Not everyone will understand the mental health effects of such experiences. Being let down by the police in such instances has often caused me extreme anxiety, panic attacks and there's been times that I've felt I've been lucky not to go and smash up a police station because of it. I know it sounds aggressive, but can you imagine having your reality turned upside down, where you realise those that you thought would do the right thing simply see you and treat you as a nobody? It's one of the most damaging things for my mental health that I've ever been through. After a year of not hearing back from them, I blew up again with rage at the fact I was left feeling like I'd been treated like I didn't exist. Could the police not even of called me to say they were busy or something? Nothing, nada, not a single peep. So I lost the plot bigtime, this time shouting up to the building so that actual police officers could hear my frustration, instead of being fobbed off to a phoneline-exchange where I knew everything would simply get buried. OK, so I would have looked a bit mad shouting up that the police that I was fed up with seeing this happening all of the time when it comes to child abuse, and two officers came to the window looking a little startled, in which I immediately apologised and explained why I'd felt the way I had. One of them was a female officer and she seemed nice, I didn't get her name or police number but I wish I had of done. I'm not always too great at these things. Anyhow, she explained she'd go down to talk to me, and she did, in which she wrote a couple of brief notes about what I said, but certainly no statement with the finer details. She explained that although she was busy, she'd call me later on that day to speak with me more about it. Surprise surprise, that was the last I ever heard from her, or anyone from West Mercia police despite them having my address and phone number. I'm left feeling like there is a marker on my name, as some of you know I feel like this in other areas of my life too, but particularly when it comes to the police. Like there is something going on that I'll never be able to prove but that people in all parts of society are warned not to go anywhere near me. The truth is, I never wanted to write articles like this, I just wanted people to do what they tell the world they do. But this is 2022 isn't it, who am I kidding? I'm not sure if this will get the attention of the police or not, and my first instinct after all of this is that they will hate me for writing it and that life will only get worse. But what other choice does someone like me have that get's completely disregarded at every turn. No wonder I'm so paranoid about my life. So, West Mercia Police, if you read this and actually have the decency to give me a phone call back at least, you know I'll be waiting. But I certainly won't be holding my breath. Thanks for reading. Ben. If you've not read Poems From a Runaway and might want to, now's the perfect time to show your support and purchase a signed copy for Christmas from my online shop page at https://www.benwestwooduk.com/shop

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