Compounding Mental and Cognitive Disability and Disadvantage: Police as Care Managers
In Duncan Chappell (Ed) Policing and the mentally ill: International Perspectives, CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group, Boca Raton, USA. pp219-234
Posted: 22 Aug 2014
Date Written: August 1, 2013
Police are at the frontline in attending crises and offending situations and events with persons with mental disorders. This though is too narrow a way of conceptualizing this aspect of policing. By far the majority of people with mental impairment have more than one disorder or disability. They are likely to have multiple and compounding disorders, impairment and disadvantages; this is what has been termed ‘complex needs’ by many in the field. We discuss the substantial expectations on police in handling situations with people who experience ‘complex needs’ using case studies from a dataset including over 2,700 persons in the New South Wales (NSW) criminal justice system whose criminal justice and human agency lifecourse data has been linked and merged. Many government agencies have developed difficult to traverse boundaries to working with or supporting persons experiencing multiple impairments, leaving it to the police to manage not just the criminal justice and community safety aspects of this group, but also their social and personal needs.
Keywords: mental illness, cognitive impairment, police, complex needs
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