NSW Police Force
Police, mental health
and security in the
Hospital setting
Senior Sergeant Matt Ireland
MHIT Coordinator
Outline
1. Roles, functions and training provided by the
MHIT
2. The context in which police engage in the
Hospital settin...
Roles, functions and
training provided by
the MHIT
COPS Mental Health Incidents

Incidents

Mental Health incidents
45000
40000
35000
30000
25000
20000
15000
10000
5000
0
20...
The MHIT
MHIT
• MHIT established in NSW in 2007
• Fulltime unit in NSW Police Force from 2009
• Responsible for mental health strat...
MHIT Objectives
•Reduce the risk of injury to police and mental health
consumers during mental health crisis events,
•Impr...
MHIT Training
•

Comprehensive four day training program

•

Police are trained in signs and symptoms of mental illness,
A...
The context in which
police engage in
the Hospital setting
How are police involved
1. Police detain and take a person under
Section 22 or other MHA provisions
2. Assist Ambulance in...
Police powers under
the Mental Health Act
(2007)
Section 22 NSW MHA (2007)
Allows for a Police officer to apprehend a person who is either
mentally ill or mentally disturb...
Section 22 Continued
• The threshold, then, is very high to detain someone under
this Act
• There will be many occasions w...
Interactions with NSW Health,
Ambulance and Hospital
Security
Hospital Security – Feedback from Senior Police

•
•
•
•

Broad perception of lack of security
Assistance at non-declared ...
Police Role
• Police main function is public safety
• Police can assist other agencies where public
safety is at risk or i...
Working with other agencies
• Police work with agencies to ensure a persons safety and to
arrive at a better outcome
• Wha...
Future directions
Future Directions
•Continue 4 day Mental Health Training

•Roll out the one day training package
•Strengthen local relatio...
Conclusion
•The NSWPF is taking an active role in how we as
an organisation deal with mental health
presentations
•We are ...
Any Questions?

•Contact details:
Senior Sergeant Matt Ireland

33579@police.nsw.gov.au
Sargeant Matt Ireland, New South Wales Police Force: The Mental Health Intervention Team (MHIT) is an award winning Unit w...
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Sargeant Matt Ireland, New South Wales Police Force: The Mental Health Intervention Team (MHIT) is an award winning Unit within the New South Wales Police Force

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Sergeant Matt Ireland, New South Wales Police Force, Mental Health Intervention Team delivered this presentation at the 2013 Safe and Secure Hospital Conference. The comprehensive program addressed the following issues:

Early intervention via early reporting of disruptive, aggressive, and bullying behaviour to minimise work place violence
An innovative training model to help clinicians, security and policy makers respond to the problems of challenging behaviours
Therapeutic sedation in the Emergency Department: Best practice in managing the highly agitated patient
A systems approach to the prevention of Occupational Violence and Aggression (OVA)
Contract management security: The change from in-house security to contract security
Role of the Risk Based Approach throughout the design process
Preventing and managing clinical aggression in the paediatric and youth health setting
The roles, functions and training provided by the Mental Health Intervention Team (MHIT), New South Wales Police Force
Interactions between Police, Health staff, Ambulance and Hospital Security and future directions
A Legal Perspective: Prevention and management of violence in hospitals
Code Grey responses - Are they legal?

For more information about the annual event, please visit the conference website: http://www.healthcareconferences.com.au/safehospitals

Published in: Health & Medicine
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Sargeant Matt Ireland, New South Wales Police Force: The Mental Health Intervention Team (MHIT) is an award winning Unit within the New South Wales Police Force

  1. 1. NSW Police Force Police, mental health and security in the Hospital setting Senior Sergeant Matt Ireland MHIT Coordinator
  2. 2. Outline 1. Roles, functions and training provided by the MHIT 2. The context in which police engage in the Hospital setting 3. Police powers under the Mental Health Act (2007) 4. Interactions with NSW Health, Ambulance and Hospital Security 5. Future directions
  3. 3. Roles, functions and training provided by the MHIT
  4. 4. COPS Mental Health Incidents Incidents Mental Health incidents 45000 40000 35000 30000 25000 20000 15000 10000 5000 0 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Year
  5. 5. The MHIT
  6. 6. MHIT • MHIT established in NSW in 2007 • Fulltime unit in NSW Police Force from 2009 • Responsible for mental health strategy, policy, program delivery and training for NSWPF • NSWPF attends over 38,500 mental health incidents annually • Network of Mental Health Contact Officers (MHCO’s) across the state • Trained 1,375 Officers in the MHIT Course
  7. 7. MHIT Objectives •Reduce the risk of injury to police and mental health consumers during mental health crisis events, •Improved awareness by front line police of risks involved in dealing with mental health consumers and strategies to reduce injuries to police and consumers, •Improved collaboration with other government and nongovernment agencies in the response to and management of mental health crisis events, and •Reduce the time consumed by police in the handover of mental health consumers into the health care system.
  8. 8. MHIT Training • Comprehensive four day training program • Police are trained in signs and symptoms of mental illness, Ambulance procedures, risk assessment, child and adolescent disorders, medications, personality disorders, substance abuse, legislation and communication techniques • 2 Consumers and a carer also speak about their lives and what it is like to live with and care for someone with a mental illness • Role play scenarios are used to allow police to put into practice the information they have learnt – role players are clinical health workers
  9. 9. The context in which police engage in the Hospital setting
  10. 10. How are police involved 1. Police detain and take a person under Section 22 or other MHA provisions 2. Assist Ambulance in Section 20 detainment 3. Called by Hospital to assist with above persons or those who self present 4. Public safety incidents at hospitals
  11. 11. Police powers under the Mental Health Act (2007)
  12. 12. Section 22 NSW MHA (2007) Allows for a Police officer to apprehend a person who is either mentally ill or mentally disturbed (in any place) and either 1. IS committing or has RECENTLY committed an offence OR 2. Has RECENTLY attempted to kill him or herself or someone else or it is PROBABLE that the person will kill him or herself or someone else OR 3. Attempt to cause SERIOUS injury to him or herself or someone else AND • It is better to deal with them under this act rather than in accordance with the law THEN • Police may take them to a declared mental health facility or other health facility and be empowered under Section 81.
  13. 13. Section 22 Continued • The threshold, then, is very high to detain someone under this Act • There will be many occasions where someone is clearly mentally ill, however Section 22 does not allow us to detain them. • All NSW Police Officers can exercise powers under this Act, if the criteria are met and it is appropriate to detain them. • Police can also use Section 6 of the Police Act (1990) (“the protection of persons from injury or death, and property from damage, whether arising from criminal acts or in any other way”)
  14. 14. Interactions with NSW Health, Ambulance and Hospital Security
  15. 15. Hospital Security – Feedback from Senior Police • • • • Broad perception of lack of security Assistance at non-declared facilities This is a state-wide issue Dealt with best through LPC’s and stakeholder meetings • Develop a stakeholder meeting in your LAC with Hospital Security to develop local protocols • Police over use is a waste of resources
  16. 16. Police Role • Police main function is public safety • Police can assist other agencies where public safety is at risk or imminent • Police are empowered to assist with transport, sedation of patients and to search (as are other authorised persons) • Police have no power under the MHA (2007) to perform a security function within the hospital setting – public safety yes, security no.
  17. 17. Working with other agencies • Police work with agencies to ensure a persons safety and to arrive at a better outcome • What do police need? – Information, information and more information – Ascertain the history – Ascertain the best way to communicate with the person – Look for least restrictive ways to deal with the situation – Speak with a supervisor if necessary – Remember our actions are predicated upon risk – Are there alternative ways of dealing with this situation?
  18. 18. Future directions
  19. 19. Future Directions •Continue 4 day Mental Health Training •Roll out the one day training package •Strengthen local relationships between Hospitals and NSWPF through LPC’s (Security to attend) •Provide frontline police and their managers with clear direction/information relating to roles and responsibilities
  20. 20. Conclusion •The NSWPF is taking an active role in how we as an organisation deal with mental health presentations •We are achieving this through training, policy and engaging with other involved agencies •We are looking to destigmatise and decriminalise mental health through a significant cultural shift •Thanks for listening and we look forward to working with you.
  21. 21. Any Questions? •Contact details: Senior Sergeant Matt Ireland 33579@police.nsw.gov.au
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