ACT Policing and ACT Government Health today launched a world-first trial embedding mental health clinicians within an operational policing environment.
Chief Police Officer for the ACT Roman Quaedvlieg and Ms Katrina Bracher from ACT Government Health officially launched the Mental Health Community Policing Initiative at the Winchester Police Centre with Chief Minister Katy Gallagher.
Chief Police Officer Quaedvlieg said the initiative is a world-first approach for police in recognising, relating and responding to people living with a mental health illness.
“We have reviewed and researched a number of models from around the world. This approach of embedding clinicians within our ACT Policing Operations centre has never been tested before. Clinicians provide direct support to police on the r-oad during peak periods,” he said.
The launch of the trial of the mental health clinicians allows ACT Policing members to have mental health expertise at their finger-tips.
“The clinicians provide expert advice and arrange for specialist assistance to officers in the field, allowing police to better assess a situation or individual who may be living with a mental illness — ultimately, allowing for more informed decision making and outcomes — a better outcome for police, a better outcome for the individual, and a better outcome for the community.”
Clinicians have been working in ACT Policing Operations (radio communications) for two months and have already received more than 170 calls for assistance.
The inaugural mental health training course, based on the proven NSW Police Force training package, will begin next week (Tuesday, June 7). All sworn police officers will undertake the training.
“While mental illness is a health issue and often not a law enforcement matter, we, as police, have a moral obligation to support those in our community who may have a mental illness,” Chief Police Officer Quaedvlieg said.