My job as a police doctor also involves seeing a man accused of rape and a suspected drink-driver

I’ve been called to see an 18-year-old man in custody. He threw a brick through a window just to get arrested because he had nowhere to go and wanted some food and somewhere to sleep. He looks likes a scared little boy, much younger than his 18 years; he certainly isn’t one of the hardened criminals I was expecting to see when I started work as a police doctor. The custody sergeant wants to release him as he has been in for 23 hours, but he’s threatening to kill himself if they do. After a long chat, he opens up to me, and I don’t think he’s suicidal. I make the difficult call that he is fit to release. I send him back out in to the dark rainy night, wishing there was somewhere nicer for him to go.

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