Mental health campaigners have called for more police training
after an inquest jury accused officers of using "excessive
restraint" to control a man with schizophrenia.
The jury sitting at Croydon coroners court last week returned a
verdict of accidental death in the case of Glenn Howard, but took
the unusual step of commenting on the police behaviour.
Howard suffered heart failure in police custody after being
detained by officers stationed at Sutton in Surrey in December
1997. He had been detained under section three of the Mental Health
Act 1983 at Sutton Hospital, but he walked out of the hospital to
go home, prompting staff to ask the police to bring him back.
He was later taken to St Helier Hospital where he remained in a
coma for more than a year before dying on January last year.
National Schizophrenia Fellowship press officer Paul Corry said:
"We need a national training scheme for police officers and we
would like the Home Office to set national standards for police
officers. We have been warning that police officers are
increasingly involved with people with mental illness because
health and social services departments do not run a 24-hour
Margaret Pedler, head of policy and development for Mind, said:
"There needs to be better training. I don't know if it was right to
involve the police here. Perhaps paramedics should have been
involved. They have more training in mental health."