Operational response : Policing persons with mental illness in Australia

Journal article


Miles-Johnson, Toby and Morgan, Matthew. (2022). Operational response : Policing persons with mental illness in Australia. Journal of Criminology. 55(2), pp. 260-281. https://doi.org/10.1177/26338076221094385
AuthorsMiles-Johnson, Toby and Morgan, Matthew
Abstract

Across the globe, policing persons with mental illness (PWMI) in crisis involves significant police work. Police must respond effectively to individuals whose behaviour and language are often erratic, and who may be intoxicated or experiencing psychosis. In Australia, police are often criticised for inappropriately handling mental health crises in the community and for differentially policing PWMI in crisis. To better understand Australian police response to PWMI in crisis, this study conducted interviews with 25 operational police officers working in one of the largest Australian state police organisations. The findings indicate that police response to PWMI in crisis is underpinned by trial-and-error practices, because officers are insufficiently trained to manage PWMI in crisis, and police are resistant to accept tasks considered ‘welfare work’. Officers are also relieved when response to PWMI in crisis includes mental health practitioners. We argue that whilst the availability of interagency schemes in Australia is generally restricted to metropolitan areas, effective policing response to PWMI in crisis should include a collaborative response between police and mental health practitioners.

Keywordsco-response; mental illness; policing; response; training
Year2022
JournalJournal of Criminology
Journal citation55 (2), pp. 260-281
PublisherSAGE Publications
ISSN2633-8084
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1177/26338076221094385
Scopus EID2-s2.0-85129271964
Open accessPublished as green open access
Page range260-281
Author's accepted manuscript
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Open
Publisher's version
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All rights reserved
File Access Level
Controlled
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online18 Apr 2022
Publication process dates
Deposited18 Oct 2023
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https://acuresearchbank.acu.edu.au/item/8zw55/operational-response-policing-persons-with-mental-illness-in-australia

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