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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".
‘The decision to publish the Cass report is an extraordinary victory for INQUEST… Belatedly, it lifts another layer of camouflage from the secrets, lies and impunity that prevail in large sections of the British state and make such terrible events not merely possible but more likely…What INQUEST, Celia Stubbs and countless others around the world – say, the Mothers and Grandmothers of the Disappeared in Argentina – keep reminding us is not just that the instincts of the powerful are wrong, but that they can also be defeated, however long it may take.’
– David Ransom, friend of Blair Peach and former editor of New Internationalist magazine