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Safeguarding Query - advice please?


TinkThing
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Sorry, wasn't sure the best place to put this, but I know you'll all help :)

 

I am concerned that one of our parents is drinking and driving - with the child in the car too.

 

I had suspected before but had not seen him drive away, but now I have. He reeks of alcohol (yes, at 12.15pm, although he is a night time taxi driver, so perhaps has a drink at the end of his shift in the morning?)

 

So, my question: I feel I must say something about this, but who to? The local safeguarding team, or the police? I am concerned that they will tell the parents who has reported a concern and they will remove the child from the setting, just as we are about to implement additional measures as we (and his health visitor) suspect SEN...

 

 

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Totally agree with purplewednesday. It's everybody's nightmare scenario. How do you feel about actually telling him that you can smell alcohol on his breath? Tell him why you're worried. See what his reaction his? It's not illegal if it's under the limit, however much we wish it was.

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Could you not speak to him or whoever drops off and say, that you won't release the child if he smells of drink. Depending on how that goes ring your local safeguarding board and ask them what to do if he turns up smelling if drink. If drunk there is no way you could release the child.

 

If he does remove the child inform the health visitor and let her sort it out.

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I had this situation many years ago and was advised by a friend who was a senior police officer to call the police, letting them know details such as what time the dad collects the child, description of car, reg number if you know it, etc. He advised me that the police could arrange to be in the area at collection time doing 'vehicle checks'.

We didn't do this in the end as the dad in question stopped collecting quite soon after. Can't help wondering if he got caught & lost his license.

It was a tricky situation as he wasn't so drunk that he appeared not to be able to take care of his child, just smelled as though he probably shouldn't be driving.

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We had this situation a year or so ago. One member of staff stalled him in the car park 'chatting' - while I phoned the police. The police were VERY quick to respond and arrived outside the car-park gates out of site of us within minutes. They told us they were treating it as an anonymous tip off so that we would not be put at risk of revenge,

 

The child told us the next day 'he had had a ride in a police car, and they took daddy's key away' We never heard anything more- but dad never collected again.

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We had similar incident. Phoned safeguarding and was told we had to decide whether we thought he was drunk or had just had a drink. In the end I visited the local police station and spoke to local PCSO. She took details of registration number, address and pick up times. She said they would send patrol car on some days and gave me the local direct telephone number if he did turn up 'drunk'. Suggested I could try to delay him. Difficult situation as I believe we can't refuse to hand over the child?

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Thank you all for your replies. It's such a tough call! I have documented my concerns on two occasions, the latest being last Friday. Child only in on Mondays and Fridays and this Monday they had been to see the HV before coming anyway and I couldn't smell alcohol.

 

I think I will ring the MASH/RAT (I can never remember the name, it changes so often!) team tomorrow and see what they advise, and if they take it further, so be it. I would feel awful if anything happened to them whilst he was driving.

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Of course you can refuse to 'hand' over the child, if you believe they are drunk.

 

My staff told me after a parent had left once that they were drunk. I immediately rang social services and they went straight round to the house, the child answered the door and the mum appeared with a glass of wine in hand. Luckily a friend stepped into help otherwise she would have lost the children for the night.

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I would let the police know - they will certainly keep the information confidential unlike Children's services- as others have said it is potentially a criminal offence so the Police are the right people. Just give them details of the car etc and they will organise the rest.

Crimestoppers is also an option - they don't ask any informant details

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Just an update...

 

I have spoken to the police who have taken details and will use the 'intelligence' if they can. I am to phone them if the parent comes and I suspect is not fit to drive so they can hopefully follow him and stop him. Left it up to me about making referral to social services...

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