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What effect will recruiting mental health nurses to police stations and courts have?

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7 January, 2014

The government has announced extra funding for mental health nurses to be based at police stations and courts across the country.

The primary aim of this scheme is to make sure those with mental health needs, learning disabilities and substance misuse problems receive the care they need, as evidence shows these needs are often not recognised.


What do you think?

  • Will this scheme improve relations between mental health professionals and the police?
  • Would the money be better spent providing more mental health training for frontline police officers?
  • Do the headlines on this story encourage the stereotype that mental health patients are more likely to be violent?

Readers' comments (3)

  • Other than giving employment to RMN's, this scheme is a complete and utter waste of time and money in my opinion. Whether the offender has a learning disability, mental health problem or an addiction is neither here nor there, the window for intervention has passed: they're in a police or court cell.

    I've experience of the criminal justice system and the RMN can do as many assessments as s/he likes, but it will have very little bearing (if any at all) on the outcome for the individual concerned as there are processes to be followed etc.

    I suppose having RMNs based in a police station may mean that they can signpost those who aren't remanded to community services.

    There are currently good relations between most police officers and mental health nurses as officers are often called out when people are in crisis in the community and quite often have to sit with service users until they're assessed by the crisis team in A&E.

    Police stations and courts are not clinics or hospitals so nurses will be limited in what they can do or achieve.

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  • I totally disagree with anonymous above. These have been in practise in New Zealand for a number of years with excellent outcomes for the mentally ill. People can and should, receive expert clinical assessment, referral and treatment whether they are in Police custody or in the Court.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • I also totally disagree with anonymous above, I feel people will be able to access and receive excellent clinical assessments and be able to be treated a lot quicker.

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