Letter: Abuse of psychiatry

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The Independent Culture
Sir: The British Psychological Society is concerned about the Home Secretary's plans to allow the detention of people on the grounds of "untreatable personality disorders" whether they have committed an offence or not.

We believe these plans are unworkable, because there is no definitive way of assessing whether someone with a personality disorder will be dangerous in the future.

Policy should be based upon scientific evidence rather than merely driven by public anxiety. Psychologists are involved in developing this evidence base, which to date is not adequate.

We are concerned that if this proposal goes through in its present form, wrong assessments will be carried out, and there will be serious miscarriages of justice. It will also deter people from seeking the professional help they need.

We have established a working party to look in detail at the Home Secretary's proposals and will be reporting its findings in due course. In addition, having attended the launch of the Green Paper on Monday, I shall be convening a wider group to address the issues raised.

Ms PAT FRANKISH

President

The British Psychological Society

Leicester

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