I'm still unclear as to what extra police training is needed. The police take people to get mental health assistance every single day of the year.
Sometimes it doesnt work out great, but once you get past the media drooling over what happes it usually seems that the police did fine.
I agree that the police get involved in dealing with mental health assistance (?) every single day and that need to see past the media hype which is often ill informed ad damaging.
BUT the polices role has become a lot more than just taking people to get MH assistance (if available) and even doing so can be fraught with pitfalls.
See multiple posts by MHC, Nathan Constable etc etc explaining this much better than I can (they are both serving officers) with MHC in particular being an expert in this role. With strigent cuts to an already creaking MHS the police have had to take on a much wider role in mental health issues.
For instance their cells are often used all too frequently as places of safety under the MHA when the legislation says they should only ever be used as a place of last resort. As well as leading to the crimilisation of MH patients which in itself is not appropriate it also ties up limited vavuable police resources. Police Officers are not trained MH staff yet are being asked to be responsible for patients with complex mental health issues whilst in their custody without the knowledge or support to do so.
A very small example of the problem are the different methods of restraint and equipment needed to deal with patients self harming or being violent with mental health issues. Added to which police have little or no training for example in recognising clinically significant features in patients they have detained; yet failure to do so can have dire consequences. I am not advocating police being trained to the level of MHS professionals AS THEY SHOULD NOT BE PUT IN THIS POSITION EXCEPT IN AN EMERGENCY. Yet the police are being used more and more to plug gaps in the MHS.
The MHS needs a much better understanding of the MHA as well as the police! From AMHP to PTSO it is important each knows and understands how they fit into the system relating to mental health, who has the power to do what and who is appropraite to deal with a stituation.
In conclusion I am not denergrating the polices responce or behaviour merely supporting the point that they would be assisted in this enforced role by better training and support. On a final point please see http://nathanconstab...ve-me-two-days/
Again I refer you to the excellant blog post by Nathan Constable called give me two days which can be found at http://nathanconstable.wordpress.com/2013/03/13/give-me-two-days/