“Watch out for the screaming banshees”. That was the sage advice given to me 34 years ago by a very experienced bobby.
I was 19-years-old and had just finished my initial police training. He was my tutor constable for the night, an ex-submariner, heavily set but very softly spoken and I was about to join him on a Friday night shift, patrolling Blackburn town centre.
Basically, he told me not to worry about being attacked by drunken blokes. If I kept a six to 10 feet gap between the drunk and myself, I would have a better chance of avoiding any haymaker punch thrown in my general direction. He also pointed out that on many occasions the regular clientele would give prior warning of an attack, by kindly announcing that they were going to ‘knock your ****** head off’. He then went on to warn me about violent women or as he described them ‘the screaming banshee’ as they were more of a problem to deal with.
They didn’t fight fair and would bite, scratch, kick, gouge and pull hair. He warned me not to turn my back on them and forget about using the Home Office approved arm restraint techniques that I had been taught during police training.
Drunken women allegedly had higher pain thresholds than men, and their arms and joints were bendier. Instead of risking being bitten, I was advised to keep pushing them away, let them tire themselves out and await the arrival of a policewoman. Thankfully in those days violent women were few and far between.
The present day situation is somewhat different. I understand that in many nightclubs the most common incident staff have to deal with, is attacks by women on other women in the toilets. Reports of women fighting on planes and using broken bottles or their stilettos as weapons are far more frequent.
About a month ago I was speaking to a traumatised mother whose daughter had been glassed in the face by another women, simply for talking to a boy who was stood by the bar. She was complaining about the very lenient sentence handed out to her daughter’s attacker.
In these days of equal rights, if women are going to commit acts of violence with weapons then they should be treated no differently than men who do the same.
The courts need to send out a very loud and clear message to the modern day ‘screaming banshee’.