Barricades, Weapons and Hostages

my comment on blog post;
“Where I live in Fife, Scotland, the psychiatric staff have been in the habit of calling police officers into the acute wards to deal with matters that are far removed from “barricades, weapons and hostages”. In fact it seemed like the police were part of the NHS team, special agents in uniform, called in to restore order in the “asylum” or to bring back the escapees. I am hoping that this has changed since I raised complaints in February 2012, regarding different situations where police officers were getting too involved in mental health matters they had no training or expertise in.

I agree that often situations are “better led by health professionals appropriately trained and equipped”. And I’d like to see people with lived experience both participating in the training of psychiatric staff and in the creation of the training materials. Nothing about us without us. We’ve been at the sharp end of psychiatric treatment and some of us have always been resistant to the force used, not liking to swallow the psychiatric drugs/medication or diagnoses/labels. For many of us the anosognosia is in the minds of psychiatry and we are experts of our own experience.”

Mental Health Cop

barricade This last week has brought a number of queries about the role of the police in restoring or maintaining order on psychiatric wards where disturbances have occured.  This is a difficult and controversial subject because we have seen incidents on wards involving the police which have then become subject to protracted inquiries after deaths in police custody or following contact.  Olaseni LEWIS and Kingsley BURRELL-BROWN are just two examples of ongoing enquiries where criminal investigations are ongoing after tragic events.

So it is not unsurprising that learn that the police are becoming alive to the to the risks and sensitivities of intervening in medical settings where disturbances occur.  And yet, there is an inverted point to be made here about parity of esteem: the police are frequently called to intervene in Accident & Emergency departments, despite the presence of security staff there.  The police are often asked to intervene if disturbances…

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