"If you don't behave, I'll call the police"

Published on

Two police officers talking to a woman and child.

“If you don’t behave, I’ll call the police.”

We’ve all heard it. It’s a common empty threat from frustrated parents that inadvertently plants a seed of fear in a young child’s mind.

And it played out for the officers at Belmont Police Station recently who were called to respond to a report of a mother verbally abusing and physically assaulting her young child outside their home.

On arrival, officers found the heavily pregnant mother out the front and the five-year-old child back inside the house.

It wasn’t a warm welcome for the officers, but, through their professionalism, she calmed and engaged. Constable Louise Welch skilfully engaged with the reserved five-year-old, while Constable Nathaniel Smith spoke with the mother a distance away.

Initially hesitant, the child opened up when Const. Welch noticed a scooter in the front yard and asked if it was his.

The child’s spirits lifted as he expressed his love of scooters, which allowed Const. Welch to navigate delicately through questioning whilst keeping the child engaged and interested.

It transpired that the child, experiencing a meltdown, had unleashed obscenities in the street, prompting his mother’s distressed pursuit and regrettably, physical reprimand.

Throughout the ordeal, the mother repeatedly invoked the fear of police retribution, a notion the officers quickly dispelled, emphasising their role as protectors rather than intimidators.

With tensions diffused and assurances given, Const. Welch encouraged the child to behave and asked him to visit her at the station to showcase his improved behaviour and demonstrate his scooter skills—a heartening display of compassionate policing.