Two police officers recently experienced a shift that took them from new life to an evening of disorder.
On Friday, 3 July, PC Siobhan Singh and PC Isabella Taborro, from the Central West Command Unit, were attached with colleagues to a police serial, working alongside the Violent Crime Taskforce to patrol areas that have been blighted with violence and anti-social behaviour.
Not long into their patrol, the officers saw a vehicle that appeared to be driving erratically on Grafton Way, WC1. The vehicle sped past them and did not stop when requested to do so. The officers caught up with the vehicle outside University College Hospital where it had come to a halt.
Upon approaching the car, the officers discovered the reason for the manner of driving; the driver’s wife was in labour and about to give birth.
PCs Singh and Taborro stayed with the mother, as other officers went to speak with hospital staff. However, the baby girl was not prepared to wait, and the two officers delivered her in the front seat of the car.
The family were cared for by hospital staff, with mother and baby Clara said to be doing well.
The officers returned to their patrols and were soon en route to an unlicensed music event in Hammersmith and Fulham.
Officers in attendance had attempted to engage with the crowd in order to get them to leave the location, but the group became hostile. A number of items were thrown at police, who retreated in order to regroup.
As officers tried to disperse the crowd they were met with further violence.
PC Singh was struck by a projectile, sustaining a shoulder injury. She was taken to a nearby police station for medical attention from the London Ambulance Service before being taken to hospital with a suspected fractured collar bone. She was found to have suffered muscle damage; she has since been discharged.
PC Taborro was also injured by one of the objects, suffering injuries to her ankle.
All those in attendance were dispersed by around 01:15hrs.
Chief Superintendent Helen Harper, Borough commander for Central West, said: “This one shift so clearly emphasises how a police officer’s day can quickly move from the joy of helping to bring a new life into this world, to being targeted by an angry crowd.
“I have nothing but praise for all of my officers who come into work not knowing what they will face.
“Their ability to provide comfort and reassurance to a woman giving birth in a car highlights their humanity, and the sometimes unseen side of policing.
“To then be called to an event that has got out of hand, and is causing disruption to a local community, and be ready to face violence, is just as impressive.
“A total of eleven officers, based across the Met, were injured over the course of that Friday night, and I wish them all a swift recovery. PCs Singh and Taborro are recuperating from their injuries but will soon be ready to face all that policing in London has to offer.”
Clara’s mother, Debra, said: “My labour went really quickly and about a mile away from the hospital I felt like the baby was coming. We happened to drive past the police van and they pursued us as we were probably going a bit faster than allowed!
“We pulled up outside the hospital just as my daughter, Clara, was being born! Siobhan and Isabelle came round to the passenger side and immediately helped me and assisted delivering the baby. They were both calm and collected and also very cheerful! I felt very reassured having them there. I cannot thank them enough for bringing our daughter Clara safely into the world!”