Street corner psychiatrists: an exploration into police officers perspectives of mental health issues and services

Cass, Rebecca J. (2011) Street corner psychiatrists: an exploration into police officers perspectives of mental health issues and services. MSc dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    Abstract

    This thesis aims to examine police officers’ subjective experiences of handling mental health incidents and accessing the mental health services. This is achieved through a qualitative research method of semi structured interviews with serving police officers from Surrey Police. Investigative phenomenological analysis was used to examine participant’s subjective views, experiences and perceptions. Little research has been conducted within the UK that investigates how police feel about their expanding role in mental health and explored officers’ experiences of them. The research has concluded that a number of barriers are in place preventing police officers being able to access services, where agreed policy was not being experienced in practice. Patients that had been drinking were often prevented access to facilities which had resulted in officers continuing to use custody as a place of safety. All officers interviewed had accommodated mental health as being part of their overall duties. Frustration was instead directed at the mental health services that were thought to be abdicating their responsibilities of patients, leaving officers to handle those in a mental health crisis. Despite a good awareness and knowledge of mental health, officers do not feel that they have had sufficient training to help them identify mental illness, but the level of knowledge officers should be trained to continues to be subject of debate. Perceived poor front line working collaborations have led to a number of issues in regards to effective communication and handling of absconding patients. A point of contact between the two agencies could to bridge the police and the mental health services into a better functioning working agreement that focuses on the interests of the patient.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Institute of Criminal Justice Studies
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2011 10:07
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 11:50
    URI: http://eprints.port.ac.uk/id/eprint/5661

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