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Why do the police need to be 'street corner psychiatrists' and how effective are they in the performance of this role?

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Mentally Disordered Suspects, Defendants Sandy Grant and Offenders 0218143 Why do the police need to be 'street corner psychiatrists' and how effective are they in the performance of this role? The mentally disordered only come into contact with the police when their unusual behaviour is noticed by the public and with that call the police for help. Automatically the mentally disordered are labelled as bad or criminals instead of mad people who do need help. If someone who is suffering from a mental disorder gets into a dispute or is causing public disorder the police are called to the scene and it is there they have to look at the person and 'diagnose' if the suspect has a mental disorder. The police have to decide if the person is going to be a threat to themselves or to the public if so they will enforce section 136 from the P.A.C.E act 1984(if they want to enforce section 136 the police are required to give a low level diagnosis.) It's up to the police to make a decision right on the street to act. As you can see the mentally disordered are very misunderstood. ...read more.


They should look for hyperactivity, hallucinations, hearing voices, panic, irrational fear, wild look, wide eyes and rapid speech, mood swings, suicidal thoughts, sweating, clenched fists and frowning are many symptoms that police need to look for when dealing with someone who has a suspected mental disorder. They are taught to look at what causes aggression in someone that has a mental disorder. Aggression is caused by fear and this is caused by being frightened by noise (their only way out is to fight) or fright from memory of previous occasions when aggression occurred. Confusion and disorientation are very frightening in itself and this can cause aggression. Paranoia is another cause because people feel they are being persecuted by society, an individual, or group e.g. the police. Anger is provoked by others or the situation they might be in. In schizophrenics, voices may tell the person to harm themselves or others but what police might see is tension or confusion from the sufferer. Once police are taught about all sorts of mental disorders and how aggression comes about they are then taught some 'top tips' of how to deal with those they think to have a mental disorder. ...read more.


You could say this problem has arisen due to the closure of asylums for the care in the community project, patients are not being observed by those in the medical profession so really they are free to walk around in public like a 'normal' person. There are lack of resources and facilities, for example, there are not enough social workers to deal with those with mental disorders. Many believe that it really shouldn't have to be the responsibility of the police to deal with this issue. The police service is the only service that operates 24 hours a day 365 days a year who take on mentally disordered people, some who might be violent. No other organisation, for example social services, would be willing to provide such a service and until another organisation is willing to take on this job, the police will have to continue playing this role. You could say that the police are key figures in the mental health services. In conclusion, training has improved dramatically but training has to be kept up and this can only happen is communication improved between multi-agencies like social services, psychiatric hospitals and general practitioners and voluntary groups like Samaritans who can help the police in dealing with those with mental disorders. ...read more.

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