Police perceptions of their encounters with the mentally ill in the community

Shaw, Jennifer (2004) Police perceptions of their encounters with the mentally ill in the community. PhD thesis, University of Middlesex.

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Abstract

This thesis aims to provide an examination of the police experience of mental illness. The thesis highlights several of the dilemmas of the police, the perception of their roles and the methods used by the officers to deal with the mentally ill in the community. The police have consistently faced social
problems in the community, including mental illness. There have been many changes and reforms of mental health policy over the past twenty years. This includes the introduction of community care policy. It has been acknowledged that these changes have impacted on the police and numbers of mentally ill being dealt with by the police. This thesis involves an examination of previous research into the police and the mentally ill, the policy and social context of this involvement, including an examination ofpeliinent mental health policy, and
the practice of the police when facing a complex social problem.

Operational officers from two police stations were interviewed to gain insight into their perceptions of the mentally ill. Senior, managerial officers also participated to provide an overview of the policies of several forces. Various issues were raised concerning the involvement of the police with the mentally ill. These included the dilemma of dealing with a vulnerable group in a climate where risk is at the forefront. The police adopt various methods for managing the mentally ill. The overwhelming approach, however, continued to involve the use of police discretion. The pragmatic use of discretion appeared to be the most useful mechanism, regardless of the policy and procedure of their specific forces.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Research Areas: B. > Theses
Item ID: 13430
Depositing User: Adam Miller
Date Deposited: 12 Jan 2015 15:36
Last Modified: 11 Apr 2019 15:49
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/13430

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