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Police not equipped to deal with the mentally ill

Published:Wednesday | May 15, 2013 | 5:15 PM

The Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) has revealed that 75 per cent of confrontations between the police and mentally ill result in deaths because cops are ill-equipped to deal with such persons.

In a special report which INDECOM released today, the investigative body also stated that 25 per cent of all confrontations between the police and people who are mentally ill also ended in injury.

The Commission says it found that in most of the cases the mentally ill person was known to the police before the confrontation.

It says these persons were also in possession of an offensive weapon at the time of the attack.

INDECOM also says in 2011 six people believed to be of unsound mind were allegedly killed by the police.

It says no special measures were employed to handle matters of this nature in these cases despite guidelines regarding the treatment of the mentally ill contained in the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) Training Manual.

The Commission insists that police personnel who cause the death of mentally ill people may be liable to be charged for murder or negligence.

Speaking at a press conference today Senior Public Relations Officer at INDECOM Kahmile Reid said the investigative body wants the JCF to provide training for its members on the use of force against the mentally ill.

She further said INDECOM also wants to see the the establishment of a medical response team for each region consisting of police with specialised training and psychiatric aides.


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