I was sent to issue a death message today...

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JimmyRiddle
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I was sent to issue a death message today...

Post by JimmyRiddle » Wed Jul 01, 2009 12:08 am

So, just arrived on duty, call over radio:

"Any officers covering X road?"

"[callsign]"

"Yes, [callsign], could you possibly pass a message on to the following details... please?"

"Sure, go ahead"

"Could you pass a death message onto Mrs X @ X road informing [relative] passed away last night & to contact coroner's office & cousin on following numbers?"

This was the point where I was thinking... "erm..."

I took down the details & said no problem. Obviously, I was mulling it over in my mind - should I or shouldn't I?

I was never trained in death messages and I don't think it was part of the job description.

My colleague (more recent PCSO) said he had been trained and felt confident in doing it.

In the end, the party to be told already knew when we turned up, but I thought I would throw this up to a poll anyways.
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overthinker1977
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Re: I was sent to issue a death message today...

Post by overthinker1977 » Wed Jul 01, 2009 12:23 am

Good one. I'd ask some of my collegues if such training existed first. If it did, I wouldn't bother. If not, crack on. I feel ok doing this sort of stuff generally.
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Big Brother
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Re: I was sent to issue a death message today...

Post by Big Brother » Wed Jul 01, 2009 6:03 am

I think with training then fine, otherwise? I'd probably do something stupid like laugh or start crying, I'm absolutely no good at breaking bad news.
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Re: I was sent to issue a death message today...

Post by GMPCSO » Wed Jul 01, 2009 9:50 am

I think that it depends on the who and how the person has died etc.....

If it was an expected death but the person who was supposed to receive the message could not be initially contacted I think I would be happy to track down that person and deliver the message.

If it was unexpected ie - you had to tell a family that their son / daughter had been in a car crash and died I would not be happy in delivering that message.

A lot of the public do still see the role as PCSO as "Not Real Police" etc... and even though the officer may be just as professional and understanding when delivering the message, the person receiving the message may even go as far to say they were offended that a "real officer" did not attend.

I also think that the person delivering the message should have the knowledge of the procedures to follow, in case the person asks "what happens next"......

Id feel horrible having to say"errrr im not sure, but ill find out for you...."

Bottom line for me is that I would never like to have to give a message like that but would be happy to do so if I had the training / knowledge of procedure after a death.

The part about "not real police" is no way my opinion on how the professionalism differs between police officer and pcso but I think it does need to be taken into consideration from the eye of the general public. We have to take on board that not all the public have respect for our role.

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Re: I was sent to issue a death message today...

Post by nottac » Wed Jul 01, 2009 9:52 am

There is no training in delivering death messages. As a PC I would not have delivered a message without returning to the station and reading the actual incident log so that I was clear in my mind of all of the details that I needed to deliver. There is no reason why a CSO should not deliver the message.

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Re: I was sent to issue a death message today...

Post by Big Brother » Wed Jul 01, 2009 4:13 pm

nottac wrote:There is no training in delivering death messages.


If there isn't then there should be. I can think of nothing worse (except the news itself) than a PC coming to my door to tell me some bad news and bumbling through it, not having the answers I need and not being professional, ie they start weeping as well.
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abdi1234
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Re: I was sent to issue a death message today...

Post by abdi1234 » Wed Jul 01, 2009 4:43 pm

In the met there is no training, however it is pretty comon sense what you do.

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Re: I was sent to issue a death message today...

Post by ruben » Wed Jul 01, 2009 5:09 pm

this relates very closely to attending sudden deaths. i have had no training on delivering a death message, but i have done it on two occasions.
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falkor
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Re: I was sent to issue a death message today...

Post by falkor » Wed Jul 01, 2009 5:41 pm

not a nice job but well done for getting it completed
nottac wrote:There is no training in delivering death messages. As a PC I would not have delivered a message without returning to the station and reading the actual incident log so that I was clear in my mind of all of the details that I needed to deliver. There is no reason why a CSO should not deliver the message.
try and get a look at the ACTUAL message yourself, nottac is right on :slcool:

I have personal experience of PCs getting the details wrong and not having all the info, it can't look more amateurish at the end of the day :slhuh:
There is no reason why a CSO should not deliver the message
if you are assigned to do it by control and have the correct, accurate, full info then YEAH!! agreed

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Re: I was sent to issue a death message today...

Post by mj12cz » Wed Jul 01, 2009 9:04 pm

I have done 2 todate, not a nice thing to do but a necessary one.

A CID guy told me to get right to the point quickly and no messing around.

Say "I'm sorry to tell you that XXXXXXX has died" don't say passed away or not with us, just died. so there is no confusion, then you deal with the aftermouth.
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Re: I was sent to issue a death message today...

Post by plum » Wed Jul 01, 2009 10:19 pm

nottac wrote:There is no training in delivering death messages. As a PC I would not have delivered a message without returning to the station and reading the actual incident log so that I was clear in my mind of all of the details that I needed to deliver. There is no reason why a CSO should not deliver the message.

Spot on
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dont rush it

you could be about to give the worst news someone could ever get
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Re: I was sent to issue a death message today...

Post by mike863 » Thu Jul 02, 2009 1:00 am

mj12cz wrote:I have done 2 todate, not a nice thing to do but a necessary one.

A CID guy told me to get right to the point quickly and no messing around.

Say "I'm sorry to tell you that XXXXXXX has died" don't say passed away or not with us, just died. so there is no confusion, then you deal with the aftermouth.
Good advice.... Don't beat around the bush it's just harder to give otherwise. Also make sure you actually know what happened and contact details of a few organisations that can offer support. Make sure you can advice whats going to happen next and most of all - don't leave them by themselves! Find another relative/friend/neighbour to stay with them when you leave!

eluxford
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Re: I was sent to issue a death message today...

Post by eluxford » Thu Jul 02, 2009 7:05 pm

I had to do a death message on behalf of the Foreign Office. They told us that they thought a friend of the deceased lived at a certain address and could we attend to obtain a next of kin contact details from them. Only problem was it was the males sister that lived at the address! You can imagine my mind working overtime to think what i should be saying now! In some ways arent we the perfect people to do death messages? We talk to the public day in day out and i would say we generally have a lot better communication skills to a PC. You just have to think how would i like to be told and go with that.

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PCSO Mickyboy
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Re: I was sent to issue a death message today...

Post by PCSO Mickyboy » Thu Jul 02, 2009 10:41 pm

good stuff and i would of done it in your shoes as long as i was sensitive in the matter and made sure i had the facts. i would of done the same

good stuff
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overthinker1977
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Re: I was sent to issue a death message today...

Post by overthinker1977 » Thu Jul 02, 2009 11:13 pm

Glad I read this. Made me think of stuff that I hadn't considered. Needless to say I ain't ever done one. I think its Lancs policy that a PC attends.
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