Bystander intervention – what's that thing in your hand?

…a phone….

My simple approach to the bystander intervention dilemma is: phone 999 and ask for the police in order to report a crime being committed.

There’s no universal answer here. It depends on the size, fitness and people handlng skills of the potential intervener. Small grannies can make very effective interveners.

But I am quite clear on my own abilities to intervene. They don’t exist. I look big enough for a guy to want to knock my block off if I intervene, but I do not have any known ability to fight back. I can run with the best of them, however.

On one occasion a few years back I saw a young man of about 18 years old pushing about a girl of about 15 years old. From a discreet distance, I called the police on 999 and they sent a patrol car from around the corner.

On another occasion, I saw a drunk man physically and verbally absuing a woman who was pushing a baby in a buggy. It was after Newbury races. It was perfectly nauseating to watch. I called 999 and a patrol car was sent round.

So, I have acted on my own rule.

I don’t know what this intervene or don’t intervene debate is about. Of course, you don’t intervene. The man could be drugs or have a knife. You’d have to be insane to intervene.

The only circumstances under which I would intervene is if someone was in danger of being badly injured or killed before the police arrive, in which case I would create some distraction or throw gravel at the bloke or possibly just wade in.

But until that sort of thing happens to one, I don’t think anyone can say what they would do.

P.S. My very wise brother has reminded me of another advantage of the thing on your hand. You can record images on it, which can become vital evidence. Wise words indeed.


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