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“I'm a police officer not a social worker or mental health nurse”: Online discourses of exclusion and resistance regarding mental health related police work

Lane, Rhiannon 2019. “I'm a police officer not a social worker or mental health nurse”: Online discourses of exclusion and resistance regarding mental health related police work. Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology 29 (5) , pp. 429-442. 10.1002/casp.2410
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Abstract

Despite estimates suggesting that around 15% of UK police incidents involve people with a mental health concern, officers receive very little mental health training. The police have faced high‐profile criticisms over their handling of mental health‐related incidents, whereas the underfunding and fragmentation of UK mental health services has led to concerns that police officers are being forced to undertake a primary role in mental health care. At a time of austerity and widespread cuts to public services, it is important to explore how particular groups work to justify the parameters of their professional duties. This article therefore explores the discourses surrounding mental health problems on an online police discussion forum, highlighting two distinct ways in which mental health‐related work is represented as being incompatible with policing. First, mental health problems are delegitimised and conflated with “scrounging,” positioning individuals as undeserving of police time; second, mental health problems are reified and associated with violence and extreme behaviour, justifying the use of force by police officers and deflecting responsibility onto mental health services. Findings are consistent with previous research suggesting that mental health work is not perceived to be a valid part of the police role.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Healthcare Sciences
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 1052-9284
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 23 July 2019
Date of Acceptance: 18 March 2019
Last Modified: 10 Sep 2019 08:04
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/124448

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