It was a cold Novembers morning when I was called to an address.
The report was a domestic incident and as our police unit was the only double-crewed car available we were now on route with sirens activated.
We knew back up was some distance away, and things could turn nasty.
Once at the address, we were faced with the only option we had, the arrest of the male. The female had injuries, and his 5-year-old son was present.
In these situations, things can turn violent quickly, but on this occasion, they didn’t.
And in today’s article, I will tell you how this was dealt with and talk about the power of status in violence.
Don’t Let Your Son See This
At the moment of arrest, 1 of 2 things happens.
The person either comes quietly or doesn’t.
This is a choice, and it is always better for the person to come quietly. We don’t get hurt, they don’t get hurt, and things go a lot smoother.
However when a person is arrested there is a massive loss in personal status.
Firstly most people feel like they have been charged and found guilty and secondly, they feel like a criminal and no one (even criminals) like to feel like a criminal.
The result is that people react very badly to being told they are under arrest.
And almost all arrests involve touching of some kind, an invasion of personal space as the person is placed in handcuffs.
This again causes a reaction as we do not like to be touched by people unless we want to be touched, usually in a loving capacity.
This perfect storm of internal and external conflict often results in an explosion of aggression.
In this case, we also had a child present, and this can often exacerbate things.
Because losing status is one thing, losing it in the eyes and mind of your child is an entirely another level.
And so when a child is present, a suspect can try and show physical prowess to counteract this loss of status. They want to show that they fought to be with their child.
(even though their behaviour caused them to be arrested).
So how do you deal with this situation?
It is tough, and experience is key, but personally, this is what I did:
“Hi, listen, a complaint has been made, and we need to place you under arrest.
However, I don’t want to place you in handcuffs in front of your child. So, if you agree I will tell him that Daddy is helping the police with something and we can walk out of the house together.
Or what will happen is that I have to put the cuffs on you here, you will fight me, your child will cry and things will get broken, and quite possibly you will hurt myself and my colleague, and I don’t want to get hurt.”
This worked, and he went quietly.
What happened here was a complex dialogue designed to increase his status.
I am helping to retain his status in the eyes of his child, I am not putting my hands onto him, I am treating him as innocent until proven guilty and also telling him that he is capable of hurting me.
Now, this tactic can’t work all the time. Drink, drugs and personality all play a part. But I used this many times, and the thing is….I didn’t invent this approach.
It was taught to me by a very experienced officer and likewise taught to him years before.
But how can understanding the power of status help you?
The Loss And Gain of Kebab Shop Status
In every town in the UK and across the globe people have a connection.
Food comes after alcohol.
This happens because we know that drinking makes us hungry. And so kebab and fast food places are overrun by people with the munchies after they have been to the pubs and clubs.
In every kebab house at this time you will see the theatre of status play out.
The girls with their shoes in hand walking as if they had run a marathon who use the carriage of the shoes to show they wore heels that were so high they brought unbearable pain.
The newly attached couples who are now progressing to going home together after a quick ‘food stop’.
The groups of lads, some who have pulled and some not.
And of course, mixed in with this is the dynamic closed environment of a kebab house. The hustle to get food, the conversations between people still trying to ‘pull’ and the banter between groups.
And it is at this time we see the subtle and not so subtle shuffling of statuses.
The man walking with his new partner, proud he has attracted a ‘beauty’. The girl who has met someone that all her friends will desire.
And the groups who are now immediately faced with the loss of status.
They are in a tribe, but their tribe has not grown that night, their tribe has not conquered.
This displacement is plain to see.
And so we have people trying to regain status. They do so partly because drink and drugs make people aggressive but because that loss of status is the hidden spark that fuels the aggression.
And we then have ‘what you looking at; you got a problem’ style introductions that end into violence as people clamber to gain status in the eyes of their tribe and potential mates.
Yes, if this all sounds a lot like animals, well it is because we are not much different.
So, how do you stop trouble in these situations without losing your status and making sure they keep theirs?
The answer comes in a simple sentence:
“I Don’t Want Any Trouble”
This single line you can use empowers them and yourself.
It is the equivalent of you verbally submitting but at the same time holding your head up high.
Yes, there may be follow-ups:
“Well, trouble has found you.” and such things.
However, for the most part, people will say “well stop…….” and then add what they find offensive about you.
And if they don’t, you know that these people are hell bent on hurting you and there is little you can do to avoid this, and my advice is to get your food and leave.
The Thief, His Wife, The Heroin And Its Lover
If you find yourself being robbed, we have yet more examples of status on display.
From the gang member looking to prove his worth to the thief looking to steal so, they can sell the goods and buy drugs for themselves and their partners.
There is desperation and also status at risk.
For a criminal to come home empty-handed is a blight on their ability to provide for their tribe. Be it a gang or another group.
So the item they want to steal from you might be a phone, your shoes or your wallet.
They simply hold financial value to you.
To them, they are far more significant.
They are an increase in status or a loss. The goods are transportation to a haze they enjoy, or to stave off the pain of withdrawal for themselves and a loved one.
They are the respect of fellow gang member who in turn will watch out for your safety in a crime-filled area.
And if your safety, your health and your life get in the way of that, they are prepared to take action.
The obvious answer is to give them what they want and realise that your goods are replaceable to you and behind their theft is a more profound value to the robber.
Can You Increase Their Status?
At the heart of this post, there is a rule to follow when trying to de-escalate.
And the rule is simple.
Work out what status they have to lose or gain and then make sure they don’t lose any status and if you can ensure they gain.
If they want your phone let them have it.
If they want to fight with you, tell them you don’t want to fight, tell them they will probably hurt you.
And this is the power that training gives you.
It gives you options because you are not concerned with proving your status.
You know you carry destructive power. You know you strike hard.
You have nothing to prove.
Your fights are inside the walls of the dojo.
The status you enjoy is one of quiet confidence, knowing that you could cause them devastation.
And so you come to training to learn how to protect yourself, but very often it gives you the power that you don’t have to.