It was a cold Saturday evening nearing to midnight and Street Angels were patrolling around their normal route circulating around both the old & new town. Whilst heading up towards North bridge in their high visibility clothing, our assertive volunteers noticed there was a male taxi driver who had slowed down near the bridge and then waved towards our angels. The angels remained calm and quickly made their way towards the bridge, being aware of dangers and staying together. Once there, our team spoke to the taxi driver who said he thought someone had fallen into the sinking mud under the bridge and needed urgent help.
Without delay our team radioed over to CIVIC (CCTV) to ask for support from emergency services, relaying clearly the information by that time that they could see and the account from the taxi driver. In the meantime, the other street angel reassured the male taxi driver and asked him to stay around as he was potentially a witness to the events. CIVIC sent emergency services who were soon on the scene. In the meantime, our angels reassured the person under the bridge and reminded the person not to move, as hard as that may be (sinking mud). The angels assessed their own dangers and obviously felt they did not have either the expertise or the equipment to save the male single-handedly. The emergency services arrived swiftly and saved the person under the bridge and paramedics assessed their health. Our street angels were able to give an account on what they saw and were able to give clear instructions to CCTV as to where the person was located.
This is an extreme example of the night-time shifts we undertake, but it shows the severity of what our angels can and occasionally do come across.
GETTING HOME SAFELY
It’s so called ‘mad Friday’, the last Friday before Christmas, and three of our teams are out patrolling the city centre. Bars are full, with crowded streets, people mostly in high spirits and some highly intoxicated fairly early on in the night (10pm). One of our patrols noticed a female, on the floor alone, just hidden in the darkness of one of the side alleys off a busy street. The female appeared to be unconscious and our angels followed their first aid training to assess for dangers, approach the female and communicate with her to see if she was alert, looking for signs of movement/breathing. She was breathing! But not responding verbally. A strong smell of alcohol and some nearby sick on the alley and some on her clothes gave us a good indicator she had been drinking that night. She was alone, with no signs of friends or family around her, wearing very little to cover her modesty and to keep her warm. We assessed her using our trained first aid techniques and after the assessment placed her in the recovery position, using foil blankets and jackets under and over her to protect her dignity and keep her warm, meantime reassuring her with who were and asking her to tell us her name. The female has a small cut to her head which we treated and became aware that concussion was a concern. After a short period of reassurance the female started talking to us, albeit very slurred, and we managed to sit her up and encouraged her to drink some water slowly. We assessed her for concussion and she was not showing any signs. We convinced the female for us to call her partner who would come and pick her up because taxis and emergency services were very busy and she needed to sober up, albeit under the supervision of a loved one. Her partner arrived a little time after and we passed on all the details and reiterated our advice about concussion. In the meantime, the female was sick several times in our sick bowl and was much warmer. She had managed to drink some water. We made sure she had her possessions and advised she had the window down in the car for some fresh air. We helped her partner safely get the female into the car. We put a bracelet around the girls arm with our details on and advised the partner to make sure she sleeps on her side, with a pillow propped behind her back, preferably in the recovery position. The female told us which bar she had been to and explained she’d had lots of shots, in fact her friends ‘dared her’ to drink 18 shots in a row as it was her 18th birthday.
We noted our concerns to CCTV and the licensing department at the police, feeding back this information led to a conversation between the premises holder and the police about safe drinking. The next day, we received a long email from the couple thanking us so much for our support and to say that although she was feeling a bit tender, she would have hated to think what could have happened and that she will think ahead in the future. We provided some advice around staying with friends & family on a night out.
FLIP FLOPS AND ADVICE
Whilst out on a Friday evening, our street angels noticed that a group of females were walking out of a club on their way home and appeared to be quite intoxicated, walking on the cobbles with no high heels/shoes on. Our team took a friendly approach and greeted the girls, asking if they had a good a night. The girls told us they were making their way across the other side of the city centre to their friend’s flat. We offered the girls flip flops which they gladly took (and promised to re-wear on an upcoming holiday!). The girls were offered water and some guidance about the safest way to walk in well-lit areas where the cameras were present and to stick together. We offered to walk the girls across the city centre as the flat they were heading to was within our remit. The girls said they would be just fine. We called CCTV and asked the operator to monitor the group of girls for their safety & provided descriptions so we could be sure they got to the flat safely. CCTV later reported they were able to get home okay and thanked us for our support.
It was a Saturday evening & we were out on patrol when we came across a couple sat on a doorstep on one of the busier streets in town, with a sleeping bag and a rucksack and who stated they were street homeless with no-where to go. We discussed their situation and our role within the community night time economy. We were able to find out that the couple had tried several hostels in the area but unfortunately had no where to sleep for the evening as they did not wish to be separated as a couple for the evening. We provided water, reassurance and some information on local soup kitchens, hostels and night shelters. We provided the couple with foil blankets and some gloves to stay warm with. We signposted the couple on where would be best to go, to gain some bedding and to find shelter for the evening. We also advised the couple on the homelessness claim process and of homelessness charities who can assist the pair. Whilst we were talking, because of the good links we have with staff that work in the night time economy, the lady working at the burger van waved us over and offered two large burgers for the couple, which they gladly took. We thanked her. We told the couple the times our service operated and that we would see them later the same night. We were told by the couple later on that evening that they had been given some money from the public on the night out and were able to afford a B&B for the evening and that they would contact the homelessness charity the following day from there.
Around two weeks later we were out on patrol and the same couple were coming around the corner at the same time and told us that they had found a small flat, albeit basic, through the homeless charity and knew the places to get food parcels from whilst their benefits application was pending. They generally looked in better health and appeared more optimistic that they would refuse to take alcohol and drugs.
A CALMING INFLUENCE
We were asked to attend a busy nightclub because a fight had just been separated by the police and there were several people very upset in the area because of the arrests they had made, but it was holding the police back from being able to move onto custody. We approached with caution and risk assessed the situation. We were able to approach a few females who’s partner had been arrested for what appeared to be an assault on another male. The females were very upset and unsure of what would happen. We asked them to come and sit down on a nearby bench and calm down. We provided reassurance & used strong communication skills to bring their heightened state down to a calmer state of affairs. We made sure the females know what the plan was for the rest of the night, and we understood their next steps IE; they decided to head home together in a taxi. We made sure they had the money collectively to get a taxi and that they knew the numbers of the taxi firm/the nearest taxi rank. The police thanked us for our attendance noting that it helps their emergency service to stay just that and we were pleased to free them up to get on with more pressing and relevant work.
We attended a student event at St Stephens Shopping Centre to promote our service & the need to stay safe. We handed out numerous freebies, talking to each person about how they can use the product and what we offered as a service. Many people left their details for further information on our charity, which was followed up by an informative email to explain the purpose of our safety and prevention work and how to interact with us in the near future. The items handed out included, glasses with measuring marks on the side, personal attack alarms, safe drinking information & information on local taxi ranks/licensed taxis, along with a whole host of other leaflets/handouts. Later the same evening, we networked with a number of other agencies at the event, including a local taxi firm who agreed to get in touch about working together to prioritise picking up people who were intoxicated or vulnerable when we called and they had an option of using a taxi which had an interior covered in plastic to pick up people who felt or maybe had been sick but were safe to travel in a taxi.
We provided first aid to a female who sustained an injury to her right ankle by falling over in a nearby pub. She was limping on the ankle and not able to apply much pressure. The female appeared in discomfort. The doorman radioed for our services. We swiftly attended the incident and escorted the girl supporting her at either side of her shoulders to get to a nearby bench where she sat down. We examined her injuries, applying our emergency first aid knowledge. We noticed the female had a cut underneath her foot which was bleeding heavily and which required cleaning and bandaging. We reassured the female and assessed that in this scenario the female would need paramedic assistance because her ankle was causing her a great amount of discomfort and she was likely to need an X-ray to determine how severe her injuries were. We radioed the paramedic car, providing full but concise details of the female’s injury whilst a colleague stayed with the female reassuring her. The paramedic car arrived a little later and took the female to Hull Royal Infirmary with her friend.
NOT EVERYONE HAS BEEN DRINKING!
We approached a male who had fallen backwards in the city centre square and hit his head onto concentrate, leaving a small cut to the back of his head that was bleeding perfusely. We attended the incident and arrived on scene first. We reassured the gent and after first aid assessment lifted him up to a sitting upright position and provided treatment to his head. The male stated he had not been drinking but suffered with arthritis in his knees and fallen backwards after losing his balance. His wife was able to verify this was correct and he did not appear intoxicated. The male was not suffering any of the events of concussion at the time of the incident and we provided advice on concussion to both the injured party and his wife. The male decided he did not wish to go to hospital as the bleeding had stopped and the cut to his head was not very deep. Although with the shock of the incident the female had forgotten where she had parked her car. We reassured her and discussed it through. We walked the couple to their car and luckily the wife was the driver out of the two. We gave them extra bandages for later in the evening and advised on how to clean the cut and what action to take if matters became worse.