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INQUEST response to College of Policing guidelines on use of police restraint in healthcare settings
Today the College of Policing issued national guidelines for police and health care professionals on when the police can be asked to attend healthcare settings and the use of restraint in such settings.
The guidelines can be found here.
Deborah Coles, director of INQUEST gave the following response:
"The majority of police related deaths over the last 5 years have involved dangerous restraint of men in mental health crisis. This guidance is welcome reiteration of the life threatening dangers of the application of police restraint to someone with mental ill health: dangers which have been known to those involved in policing and healthcare for many years.
It has long been acknowledged that police involvement in healthcare settings should be absolutely the last resort, but the reality in practice has been very different. Anyone in crisis requires a healthcare and not a criminal justice response.There is a crying need for leadership and oversight to change police and healthcare practice and prevent the use of police force and presence in healthcare settings.
The fatal consequences of such practice will be examined at the forthcoming inquest into the restraint related death of Olaseni Lewis beginning on 6 February at Croydon Coroner's Court".
‘Although it is fair to say I was given adequate opportunity to express my views the final verdict was not the one I had hoped for. We were all devastated to think that [our brother] had died in such tragic circumstances and no one had been made accountable.’
– Family of man who died while detained under the Mental Health Act