Last week saw a couple of small milestones. On Thursday Sue attended her first Adoption Panel. She had previously been a member of a Fostering Panel which met on Wednesdays,this often clashed with the Licensing Committee so Sue decided to swap. Little did she know that the Purple Panel as it is called dealt with Adoptions not Fostering. This requires even more reading than before but Sue's first day went off ok although she had done a full day at Licensing the day before.
Keith, also on Thursday, carried out his last Custody Visit to local police stations. The Custody Visiting Scheme was set up in the wake of the Brixton riots which were in part caused by concerns about the treatment of people in police custody. Lord Scarman recommended a system of unannouced visits by local people to reassure the community that all was well. Keith has been doing this for about 6 years but recently time pressures have begun to tell and Keith decided that something had to give. The first two custody suites were quiet but all hell had broken out at the third where two very violent prisoners had been brought in and both were making a hell of a row which was upsetting the other people in the cells. It was very tense all round but the inspections have to be carried out as normal. The staff were very calm and efficient and it is a mark of their proffessionalism that despite all this the only people in any danger were the police officers themselves.
One disturbing aspect was a 12 year old boy who told us he was in for the third time. There was also a young man who told us he was being recalled to prison and would be spending his 8th Christmas inside. All very depressing.
On Sunday Keith and Sue were at Lyttleton House, an Elderly Persons Home, for their Christmas Party. This was very jolly and very good fun. At least some people know how to enjoy Christmas.