Channel 4’s ’24 hrs in Police Custody’ is a fly on the wall documentary of Bedfordshire Police station. It documents 24hrs after a suspect is arrested up to the point of either charge or release.
The episode ‘The Search for Justice’ has broken my heart. A young man called Justice shoots a man at point blank range in the chest. He’s caught on video going on a violent spree, shooting his gun at cars and the unsuspecting public.
He’s another stereotype. Gang member. Drug user. Firearm carrier. Let him rot in prison.
No. Fucking hell no. This young man went to his doctor several times to express his concerns for his mental health, his anger issues prior to this violent spree.
He was ignored.
Every. Single. Time.
He would blackout from rage. He would medicate with drugs and alcohol. Aged 4 his teachers reported concerns to child protection services for signs of neglect and injuries on his body.
Nothing was done. He was ignored as a child, and it has continued into adult life. He hears voices. He’s desperate to hurt someone the way he is hurting. Justice has many moments of clarity, he understands the danger of his thoughts. He knew deep down where his life would end up if he did not get a control on his violent outbursts. However he is given zero help in mental health support or management. Despite fucking asking. Many time.
They say ‘kids are resilient’ if kids are so resilient then why do we have so many adults with unresolved trauma? Why has this young man just gone to prison for 22 years, not eligible for parole until 2035 for a violent crime that could have been avoided.
Defund the police. The police should not have been needed in this instance. Why you ask? A crime was committed! Well what if we could have stopped that crime before it happened? If there had been appropriate well-funded services available for Justice. Not just doctors who ignored him and police who arrested him.
The police are called to mental health situations, they also have to deal with the aftermath of mental health situations. This is not their remit. They are poorly equipped to deal with these instances. They receive little to no training in how to deal with mental health crises:
“Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS)’s Picking up the Pieces report of 2018 focuses on a range of issues that were similarly highlighted by the House of Commons report, arguing that the police are called upon to respond to too many instances of mental health crises. This is not considered an appropriate use of police resources. The report repeats concerns that officers have not been adequately trained to support people in the midst of a mental health crisis and that police involvement may also put such people at greater risk.” (source)
We need to invest more in mental health services to diminish the need for the police in these instances; we need to create a system for people with mental health issues that does not require police. Reduce the policing role in situations where their presence only makes the situation more dangerous. Police don’t prevent crime. Crime prevention happens with social programs, mental health support and community provisions.
In Justice’s statement to the court, where he plead guilty to the crime, he felt only now he may get the help he so desperately needs. Why does it take two lives being ruined for this to happen? Justice’s and the man he shot. The man he shot now has severe PTSD. Avoidable.
Prison is not rehabilitation. It is not a mental health institution. I doubt Justice will receive the help he needs when he’s inside.
If services had been available for Justice (that he had fucking asked for might I add) and for the other many people like him then this could have been avoided.
I fucking hate this government. They do not care about you. They. Do. Not. Give. A. Shit. about anything other than themselves and their billionaire mates. I wish more people could get that through their fucking skulls.
We as a nation have the money to put appropriate mental health services in place. The police and prison system are not mental health services. Throwing someone in jail for 22 years will do nothing but compound the issues they already suffer with.
This government want to impose control and force with their new sentencing bill (#KillTheBill). I have written evidence from my local MP the funding for mental health services per person, per year for the next 5 years is £7 – and I’m rounding that up.
This ‘billions and millions’ bullshit is smoke and mirrors. When you break it down it is pennies. £7 per person, per year. Even if only a quarter of us need mental health services over the next 5 years thats still less than £30 per person per year. Do you know how much medication costs? One therapy session is more expensive than that.
I’m fed up. I’m so unbelievably fed up. The combination of the new draconian bill, and the total disregard for society’s mental health support needs is heading for a total disaster. There will be increased violence, increased tension between the police and population.
How many more people like Justice are going to lose their lives to prison because they have not had the support to manage their trauma, mental health conditions, addictions. It doesn’t start with crime. It starts way before. Long before the police should ever be needed. We are failing so many members of our society and if this government stay in power unchecked it will only get worse.
We are going to be a very sick society, and I can’t stand it anymore. I fucking hate the Tory government and if you have even half a soul, you should too.