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By Dale Andrews“The safety of both law enforcement officers and citizens is compromised when law enforcement responds to crises involving people with severe mental illnesses who are not being treated… There are also many cases where individuals with mental illnesses provoke police into killing them. This is now commonly called ‘suicide by cop’.”Treating with the mentally challenged, especially those who are inclined to be violent, has always been a challenge for law enforcement in Guyana.This is especially so since in the absence of adequately trained mental health professionals the police are most likely to be the first to be called upon to restrain violent mentally ill persons.The consequences of their responses have been dire; ther e3have been deaths on both sides. Two recent cases come to mind; the fatal shooting of Junior Gulliver, called ‘Reggie’, by two cops in July, and the stabbing to death of Police Constable Antonio Dawson, last month.According to a police officer, both incidents highlighted a lack of adherence to any Standard Operating Procedure that may guide engagement with mentally challenged persons.But not all police ranks are buying into that of course the police could only respond to requests to deal with violent mentally ill persons with their guns.“There is a clear Standing Order as to what procedure to follow…but a lot of the ranks don’t see that as part of their duty,” one senior police officer told this newspaper.This position is supported by Minister of Public Health,cheap jerseys paypal, Dr George Norton, who had informed Kaieteur News that there is a close collaboration between the Mental Health Unit and the Guyana Police Force. “As a matter of fact our first help line was launched in collaboration with the police. We did some training along with the Police Force on how to deal with persons of unsound mind,” the Minister said.At least the Force administration has noted a particular deficiency in treating properly with mentally challenged persons and has seen the need to develop a package that will equip its ranks to deal with these situations when they occur.So far, they have trained 134 of their frontline ranks (those on patrol duty) who are more likely to be the first responders.Of course the training is ongoing but should be incorporated in the training manual for recruits,Cheap Jerseys For Sale, so that all police ranks will be aware of the procedure that needs to be followed when dealing with the mentally ill, so as to avoid unwanted physical harm or in the worse case, death to either party.“Regarding guidelines they (police) would have been brought up to date with how you deal with a patient, depending on the state of that patient. It is not something that has not been deliberated on…instructions are available,” Minister Norton said.“If somebody of unsound mind is violent, of course the police have got to use more restraining force than for somebody who is acting strangely but not endangering anybody’s life…It’s a different situation there or to somebody trying to commit suicide, it would vary how they deal with them,” the Minister added.Two police ranks are awaiting the advice of the Director of Public Prosecution on whether they should face a murder charge for the fatal shooting of mentally ill man junior Gulliver at Cane Grove, Mahaica, East Coast Demerara.The circumstances of the shooting are still unclear as both the police and eyewitnesses, including the dead man’s relatives have given conflicting accounts of what transpired.What is clear though is that Gulliver did attack the police ranks with a cutlass, forcing them to seek refuge in the vehicle they went to the scene with. Such was the violence displayed by Gulliver that the car’s windows were damaged.Eyewitnesses claimed that the ranks went back to the station and uplifted weapons then returned to the scene with the pre-meditation to shoot Gulliver.The eyewitnesses said that the ranks confronted the mentally ill man again and shot him even though he posed no threat to them at the time.But the ranks are maintaining that when they went back to the station, they received another call to return to the scene since Gulliver was acting up again. Since they were almost seriously injured in their first encounter with Gulliver, they decided to take no chances. So they armed themselves and went back where they met Gulliver again and this time the consequences were fatal.Many are arguing that the police should not be the only ones called upon to respond to reports of mentally ill persons behaving violently.“What about the professional people who are supposed to be trained to deal with the mentally ill? They are supposed to know how to restrain them because the only resort of the police will be their guns,Wholesale Jerseys Free Shipping,” a police ran