Use of nonfatal force on and by persons with apparent mental disorder in encounters with police
Although a number of factors have been examined in relation to their effect on the prevalence and characteristics of police use of force, studies examining whether the person appeared to be mentally ill during the incident are lacking. Police recorded that 306 (7.2%) of the 4,267 people on whom they used force in Victoria, Australia, between 1995 and 2008 appeared to have a mental disorder. This group was more likely to threaten or use weapons on police and to have weapons used or threatened against them by police, as compared to those not deemed by police to be mentally disordered. Increased emphasis on communication and verbal deescalation tactics during police training and practice as well as proactive broader system-level changes should be implemented between police and mental health services to enable more effective management of these incidents to reduce the need to resort to increased use of force to resolve them.
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