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November 10, 2009 permalink
Mary Cooke is expecting her first baby, and she and her husband are redecorating in anticipation. When Mary reported an incident to the police, a policewoman came inside the home and lodged a complaint with social services over the partially decorated home. Wallpaper was off the walls and there were a couple of nails lying around.
Pregnant woman reported to social services over half-decorated home
A pregnant woman has condemned police after they reported her to social services for being a potentially unfit mother because her home was half-decorated.
By Murray Wardrop, Published: 8:26AM GMT 10 Nov 2009
Mary Cooke invited a policewoman into her house after she had dialled 999 to report a speeding car which nearly hit her outside her home in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffs.
However, the 27-year-old was left furious after she claims the officer raised concerns with the council’s children’s services department over the state of her property.
Mrs Cooke said she and her husband Peter are redoing the wallpaper at their semi-detached house and that she was “sickened” police had judged her on its appearance.
The first she knew of the officer’s concerns was several days later when she received a letter from Staffordshire County Council expressing fears for the wellbeing of her unborn child.
Mrs Cooke, who is 10 weeks' pregnant with her first baby, said: "The letter made me feel sick.
"I believe someone was judging me for decorating the house and I can't believe it. I'm in the first stages of pregnancy. I'd never dream of bringing a child home to a house being decorated."
Mrs Cooke said the officer spent five minutes in the hallway and living room of her semi-detached home to take the statement and would have seen the stripped walls and floors.
She added: "I know the wallpaper is off the walls and there were a couple of nails lying around, but the policewoman didn't say anything while she was here.
"Other expectant couples should be warned – be careful when you let police officers into their homes, because they can be judging you while they are there."
Mr and Mrs Cooke believe their midwife has also been contacted to give her account of the couple.
Mr Cooke added: "I am angry about this. The police officer was polite when she visited to take the statement, but she was actually judging us."
The letter was sent from the council's children's services first response service, in Stafford. It says a referral regarding the unborn child had been made by police.
A council spokesman said: "The council received a referral from Staffordshire Police and is now looking into the matter with the co-operation of the person concerned."
Last night a spokesman for Staffordshire Police said: "Our police officers aim to act in the best interests of everyone they come into contact with.
"Their role involves liaising with colleagues from partner agencies on a regular basis and can include making sure people get any extra help and support they might need.
"We would not comment on individual cases and would neither confirm or deny whether a referral to another agency has been made."
Source: Daily Telegraph