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Police officers have a duty to protect the innocent public


Editor: It is only proper and correct that the relatives of the deceased man who died last week in police custody should be told the whole facts.

Yet another vulnerable person may have died because of neglect or ignorance. Police officers have a duty to protect the innocent public; they also have a duty of care towards the vulnerable.{{more}} It is therefore crucial that they are properly trained, and that they have the appropriate steering and direction by which they can perform their tasks in a highly professional manner (protocol in how to deal with these matters). I am aware of past occurances when mentally ill patients have been shot. This is a disgrace; we urgently need to look at how we care for such persons.

Some important questions are: (1) Was this man detained under the criminal justice act or the mental health act? (2) How long was he detained? (3) Knowing his medical history, was he seen by a doctor whilst in custody? (4) When was his nearest relative or next of kin contacted?

The paperwork and reports need to be made available for scrutiny by the independent police complaints authority or similar board, if there is one. Why not? I have noted that there seems to be the lack of scrutiny of the quality of services provided by public bodies, i.e. health services, education, and policing.

The general public is not given the opportunity to make input into these services. On another note, the body who looks after the human rights of such individuals needs to wake up and to become more proactive. This can be sorted out urgently and I will offer my assistance to help with this, I am a mental health manager with a wide experience in this field. It’s no good saying “we

don’t do things like that down here;” we want the best care for our vulnerable residents.

Norris Bullock