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February 27, 2012

Daughters of Dementia Sufferer Angry at Officer's 'I Don't Care' Comment (WALES, UK)

 Daughters of dementia sufferer angry at officer’s ‘I don’t care’ comment
by Ciaran Jones, South Wales Echo
Feb 24 2012

THE daughters of an elderly dementia sufferer have complained to police after officers were called to an assisted living community following a dispute over a table knife.
Video footage seen by the Echo shows a South Wales Police officer telling frail pensioner Concetta Verma’s daughters he intends to take the great-grandmother to a police station. When they tell him she has dementia, he replies: “I don’t care.”
Staff at the Sunrise senior living community in Cyncoed Road, Cardiff, called in police because the former shopkeeper was in possession of a knife.
The daughters of the 79-year-old claim they have been left “traumatised” following the incident, in the early hours of Sunday, and have now submitted a formal complaint to the force.
South Wales Police Inspector Paul Crowley described the comment as “inappropriate” but said it had taken place in a challenging situation and added that officers “always strive to be compassionate and understanding”.
A spokeswoman for Sunrise said the well-being of staff and residents was its “number one priority” and it was “very unusual” for police to be called to one of its communities.
Mrs Verma’s daughter, Ivana Hackman, said she had received a call from staff at Sunrise at about 1.30am on Sunday.
Ivana, 53, a former senior carer in a nursing home for 15 years and now a housekeeper, said: “They said, ‘Your mother is agitated. She has got a knife and we are calling the police.’”
Ivana’s sister, 55-year-old Adelina Febbo, said when they arrived at the home she removed the knife from her mother.
But mother-of-five Adelina, who lives in Splott, Cardiff, said she was shocked when a policeman approached and said he intended to take Mrs Verma – who has six children, 18 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren – to the station.
Adelina added: “I was petrified. I felt like I was fighting for my life. I thought they were locking her up in a cell.”
But when both women tried to explain their mother suffers with dementia, the uniformed officer replied: “I don’t care.”
Grandmother-of-eight Adelina told the Echo: “My hands were to my face, I felt traumatised and couldn’t breathe and started panicking.”
The sisters held a 90-minute meeting with Insp Crowley on Wednesday.
“Me and my sister decided we want to make a formal complaint to ensure that this never takes place again,” Adelina said after the meeting.
Two officers attended the incident at Sunrise.
Insp Crowley said: “Having viewed the CCTV, it [the ‘I don’t care’ comment] was an inappropriate comment made during a challenging incident but I can reassure all those concerned and the wider community that the officer concerned did care and, along with his colleague, was trying his best to resolve the situation peacefully.
“Officers are often called upon to deal with emotionally charged situations involving people at crisis points but always strive to be compassionate and understanding while ensuring the safety of all those involved.
“I have met the family personally to discuss their concerns and have received a formal complaint which is now being progressed.”
A spokeswoman for Sunrise of Cardiff said: “The well-being of residents and staff is always our number one priority and guides the professional judgements we make every single day.
“It is very unusual for the police to be called to a community, but in this instance it was deemed to be in the best interest of the lady involved, the other residents and staff.
“After all appropriate diversionary techniques were applied, the individual still presented a risk to herself and others, so it was our duty to engage further support.”
Mrs Verma has been living at the £22m, 90-bed assisted living community since April 2009. There are 27 Sunrise communities around the UK, with just one in Wales.

 SOURCE:      WalesOnline
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