The unenthusiastic response she describes is sadly not uncommon. In police culture apprehending the mentally ill is a fairly low-status activity. To be fair, it tends to be very time-consuming. They will often have to wait at the place of safety for a psychiatrist and a social worker to complete the assessment. They may subsequently have to escort the patient to another hospital. However, the law is the law and they are its agents.
One should therefore never be fobbed off with the nihilistic complaint that 'they'll only be back out in a couple of days'. This feeble abdication of responsibility neither gives the public the protection to which it has a right, nor obtains the care to which the mentally ill have a right.
Dr Philip Timms
Senior Lecturer in
Guy's & St Thomas's UMDS
London SE1Reuse content