Policy on interagency liaison Working with the police

Policy needs to provide a framework for health staff and police to co-operate to ensure that people with mental illness who come into contact with the police receive speedy assessment and treatment. Police may be helpful in bringing acutely disturbed patients to the attention of the health service. However, it is not acceptable for people with mental illness to spend long periods in a police cell. Thus there needs to be liaison, leadership, and agreement at a senior level between the Ministry of Home Affairs responsible for the police and the Ministry of Health. This needs to provide a framework for liaison between primary care teams, outpatient clinics or outreach teams, and the police. Education and the establishment of agreed procedures for the police officers is important. (5)

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