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Matthew

Matthew Moloney

Year of Award: 2014 Award State: Queensland Emergency Services > Police
To research culturally effective police response to Indigenous persons in mental health crisis situations - Canada, USA, New Zealand
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Aim: When police attend a situation of a person, especially indigenous, suffering from a mental health crisis situation they have skills and cultural competency to resolve without unnecessary use of force.

Highlights: Meeting dedicated professionals, consumers and families in all locations. 

Findings: 

  • Police are and will be required to manage mental health related events.
  • Mental health as an issue will grow, especially when viewed through the prism of drug co-morbidity.
  • While the issue is extremely complex, good organisational structure, policy,procedures and training deliver measurable results.
  • A tiered response is most applicable to the Queensland situation.
  • Mental health consumers, family members and advocates need to be involved at alllevels: forming law, policy, procedures and training.
  • Police response in crisis situations makes a real difference to lives, families,communities and public confidence in police.
  • In all circumstances all stakeholders must recognise that police operational survival is paramount.
  • Communication and de-escalation training needs to be delivered as part of, not inisolation from police operational survival skills and tactics.
  • While risks to life and limb are real, police need to be trained in real risk rather than a distorted perception of risk to enable sound operational decision making.
  • How individual police officers see themselves – their purpose, function in society, mission and goals - individual officer self-image and ‘organisational culture’ matter.
  • Tying in with humanisation of police, police morale matters. There needs to be a reasonable expectation of achievable outcomes. Criticism of police action should be reasonable, not demonise or stigmatise police.
  • There are simple and cost effective strategies, training and support that can be delivered to overcome issues of culture in remote, isolated areas.
  • Police specific training in communication and de-escalation is vitally important, but training for communication must not be done in isolated ‘silos’.
  • Communications operators (Dispatchers) must be included in the police response.
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