Mental Health and Policing

Free «Mental Health and Policing» Essay Sample

With the entry into the society of individuals with mental health problem, the police have been in the forefront in the management these individuals when they are in problem. This paper is going to look at the issues raised by the law execution and mental health systems. Two basic-law principles offer the foundation for the police to take accountability for individuals with mental illness: their control and ability to protect the security and well-being of the public, and their parens patriae duties to protect persons with disabilities. The police over and over again accomplish the role of caretaker in determining whether an individual with mental illness who seeks to their attention should go into system the criminal justice system or the mental health. Criminalization might consequence if this role of t police fails to be carried in an appropriate manner. Researchers have defined a selection of mobile disaster teams that comprises of the police, mental health specialists, or in some scenarios both of them. The necessity for police officers to have acquired training in distinguishing mental illness and identifying how to get hold of   mental health resources is highlighted. Association between the law application system of the police and mental health systems is very critical, and the very distinct field of know-how of each member should be familiar to them to avoid confusion.

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Ever since the initiation of deinstitutionalization and the movement of people with mental disorders into the society, the law application agencies have positively contributed in the organization and running of persons who experience psychiatric problems. As a result, the police are basically the first to be informed to deal with people with mental health emergencies issues. The major purpose of this paper is to evaluate the literature on the duty of the police in answering to individuals with mental illness in the society. In addition, there are endorsements on how to enhance the association between the law administration people and mental health organizations to advance the care of persons with mental problems who are in problem.


The underlying principle for the police to get involved in the lives of people with mental sickness originates from two basic-law codes: the authority and power of the police department to safeguard the well-being and prosperity of the community, and the country’s authoritarian or parens patriae right, which edicts defense for populaces with disabilities who cannot maintain themselves. Police officers have a legitimate responsibility to answer to calls and to offer services full time. With relation to the individuals with mental illness, the police in all countries have the authority to transport the affected individual for mental assessment and treatment when necessary.

The police are usually the first and frequently the only public resource entitled to answer to conditions that are urgent and involves individuals with mental sickness. The police are accountable for the identification and treatment for a person with mental problems and linking the individual with the appropriate treatment means or determining that the illegal activity by the individual’s is the main worry and that the individual ought to be arrested. This duty pushes them into the duty of being the main gatekeepers of the society who decide whether the mental well-being or the criminal justice structure can finest meet the requirements of the person the mental illness.

Due to this responsibility, the police officers have the right to take accountability the role of street-corner psychiatrist through default.  The main challenges with the law officers having to accomplish this duty are the fact that the police have no adequate training to carry out these types of triage. Basically, lack of adequate training by the police officers is one of the factors that have played a significant part in the illegalization of individuals with mental sickness.

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Police Discretion

The police officers usually have an unlimited transaction of choice in the employment of their responsibilities; this includes deciding the action to be undertaken when dealing with an individual with mental sickness in the society. In most circumstances, the police officers apply casual procedures, such as attempting to cool down the individual or negotiating with that individual home. In positions that cannot be controlled in an informal manner, the police officers have to take individual with mental sickness either to jails or a health care unit. However, in some circumstances, the public policy restricts the police optional capability. For example, if the individual with mental sickness is supposed to have carried out a chief crime, the option in this case to take the individual to jail for the weightiness of the offense. In this state, it is expected that mental health assessment and cure is likely take place while the individual is in custody.

Several factors have been projected to clarify the reason as to why, after slight crimes take place, a police officer opts to arrest the wrongdoer with mental disease instead of the person to a health care center. An individual who looks to be mentally sick to a mental health expert may not appear so to the police who, regardless of their concrete experience, do not have adequate training in dealing with the mentally sick people. To the police, some cases that result from mental sickness may appear to the police to be behaviors resulting form intoxication, particularly if at the period of arrest the individual has been defined to have been using drugs.

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Law application officers may be more persuaded to charge individuals with mental illness with a crime and take them to jail if they contemplate that no suitable options are presented, this is an exercise that has been spoken of to as mercy booking. In spite of the understatement, researchers respect this as a main reason of criminalization. In authorities that have scarce mental in patient accommodations or have restricted public mental health services, psychiatric treatment might be more available in jail than in the public. In addition, with the coming on of stern public obligation measures, making use of the accessible treatment resources may be problematic with individuals who do not want to be given the treatment. Therefore, the comparative accessibility of services in jail might encourage the police decision of police officers on whether to arrest somebody with mental sickness. Even if mercy booking might be regarded as illegal, most countries do not have laws in contradiction of keeping in jail people with mental disease who are evidently not criminals.

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Even in situation whereby the police consider an individual’s urgent issue to curtail principally from mental illness, their selecting the mental health choice can be both difficult and irritating for them. There may perhaps be long waiting stages for mental problems emergency services in the course of which police officers fail attend to other responsibilities. Mental health specialists might question the decision of police officers and decline to admit the individual, or they might hastily release an individual who just a short time previously was alleged by the police to establish a clear danger to the public.

On the other hand, the police officers are well conscious that if they talk about a person with mental sickness to the criminal justice structure, the person will be dealt with in a manner that is more predictable. They will be taken in jail, will perhaps be examined by a mental health expert who is attached to either the court or the jail, and will possibly be given psychiatric assessment and cure. Therefore, arrest is an answer with which the police are acquainted, one over which they have more power and one that they contemplate to consequence to a suitable disposition. In addition, when an individual with mental sickness who are publicly troublesome are left out from psychiatric amenities, the criminal justice organization turns out to be the system that can not decline.

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When the communication between the police and the individual with mental sickness is started by the police, police officers have the utmost freedom of choice. In such circumstances, there is substantial possibility for the disposition to be inclined by police officers’ personal approaches or opinions. The outcome is that various police officers are more likely to arrest individuals with mental sickness; some make a more dynamic effort to have these individuals taken to health centers, and a few incline humbly to let them go with no further instructions and actions. Over and over again, the communication between the police and the individual with mental sickness is started by members of the public. In such circumstances, the civilians’ stresses also may come into play and hinder the option of the police officer. For instance, several retail supplies have a strategy that anybody caught shoplifting ought to go to jail, and store managers are educated to make a citizen’s arrest and inform the police deprived of exception. In another type of condition, persons who have just been attacked by a mentally sick person regularly are not persuaded to be understanding to their attacker, even when mental disorder is apparent. The consequence might be an angry citizen who contends on having the individual arrested and taken to jail.


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