Yesterday I received three telephone calls and today I also received a text message informing me that a man had doused himself in petrol inside the Jobcentre. When we arrived at our regular Thursday demo today we were stopped by two claimants who also confirmed it. Each person that conveyed their stories gave the same account and after checking that there was an incident at the Jobcentre yesterday I can say that this is true.
The man walked into the Jobcentre with a petrol container.. He looked desperate by all accounts. We cannot say for definite what his exact reasoning behind this was but what we can say is that this man was in mental anguish. Along with thousands of claimants everyday he was most likely pushed to the edge. He couldn’t take anymore. Death it seems was the only option to him, and he wanted to show the DWP staff who work at the Jobcentre and who have most likely treated him without compassion just how desperate he had become. He opened the petrol container over himself and stood there.
Now did the Jobcentre staff try and approach him in a sympathetic manner? No they didn’t. Whilst this was happening not one member of staff by all accounts actually spoke to him like a human being. Maybe talking to him with sympathy in the first place could have prevented this. They phoned the police and immediately they phoned for an ambulance. He was handcuffed and taken away in an ambulance. We hope that he is making a recovery. The anguish he must have been going through must have been immense. The threat of having everything to taken away from you does that.
It was noted by ALL accounts that the Jobcentre workers inside the building did not show compassion, one thought that it was fitting to smile. One Jobcentre worker walked outside and was smiling. This angered members of the public who were sat across the road. From all accounts she was very lucky not to have been attacked by members of the public. Not because of her job title, but because she was half smiling and one account said sneering. I just don’t understand the mindset that justifies this at all. I would be shocked and I would try to help. It goes without saying doesn’t it. It’s not a laughing manner.
Please note; I do have the greatest sympathy with the Jobcentre workers who are sympathetic and compassionate. If they have been affected by this then I hope that they get help.
Another incident occurred today and it’s not dissimular to yesterday’s incident.
Whilst handing out leaflets we appproached a man who was about to enter the Jobcentre. He was obviously very stressed and anxious, and had been drinking. He just kept saying that the staff in “that building” were horrible. He wouldn’t say why. We can only guess that the system has worn him down.
Not long afterwards he was marched out with a number of police officers. A claimant who had been inside the Jobcentre said that he just stood in the middle of the room shouting. No one had spoken to him, but he wanted to go to the police cells for the night where he would get some food.
The police were very sympathetic even though he shouted at them too for no apparent reason. They didn’t take him to the cells, they took him home amd hopefully he is resting now.
Both incidents highlight the massive issue that people who are not well and are quite possibly suffering from mental health issues are being forced off their sickness claims and into JSA with no support at all. They don’t understand the system and cannot cope with it, and this is an issue that will only get worse.
They system clearly isn’t working, it’s failing just about everyone who has to use a Jobcentre. Poeople who have mental health issues and illnesses are being ignored, and as I found when I was signing on, if you’re not stressed when first attending a Jobcentre you will be after attending for a few months. The system grinds you down and you become compliant to just about anything.
That poor man could well become another statistic that Ian Duncan Smith refuses to release. Just a number to him, one that he won’t release. We haven’t forgotten the bodged statistics and we demand the real ones. Of course he won’t release them, because if he does people will see the real genocide of the poorest and most vulnerable in society. Strong worlds but it’s a reality in my eyes.
Remember that person you see homeless on the street, or drunk could well be a victim of the cruel system invented by this Tory government and imposed and forced on the vulnerable by the DWP.
Wasn’t the doorway but you get the idea. Many thanks for the photo.
The poor man being bundled into the back of a police van today.
Makes you wonder. How desperate do people have to become before anyone takes any notice? I can be sure that the local press will not be interested in this story so please share as much as possible.
Comments like saying things like “he should have burnt himself down.” “I have no sympathy with him he’s a nutter and should be locked up” will be defeated. Comments like that do not help and it just shows the lack of compassion that is held by some people. People who are suffering like this need help.