Policing and mental health services have many things in common (as well as some potentially insurmountable differences) but I want to consider one issue that is arguably the most controversial aspect: they are each systems of social control which involve the coercion of other people, by the threat of and the use of physical force. It is when force is being considered, threatened and used that we see these social infrastructures at their most controversial and we have noted for decades the tragic outcomes from restraint related deaths in both our police and health services. We have also come to learn how the misapplication of force can erode trust and confidence in these institutions, both in terms of affecting towards whom force was deployed and the confidence that the general public have arising from that.
Using force directly usually does one of two things: it hurts (or kills) people and…
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