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Police response to IPCA report

Police accepts the findings of the IPCA report into a complaint about detaining a man for mental health assessment in Queenstown last October.

The authority found while Police acted unlawfully our actions were reasonable in the circumstances.

Shortly before midnight on 12 October 2017, Lifeline contacted Police with concerns about a man who had attempted suicide.

Officers went to his house and found him distressed and agitated.

Deciding it was not safe to leave him alone, officers took him back to Queenstown Station until he was able to be assessed by a mental health professional.

The authority notes the incident demonstrates the difficulties faced by Police when dealing with those experiencing a mental health crisis.

Queenstown Lakes Area Commander Inspector Olaf Jensen says Police will always have a role to play in situations like this, especially when someone is a threat to themselves or others.

“I support the actions of the officers involved, we have a duty of care to protect life and safety.”

“Our officers were trying to protect this man and ensure his safety,” he says.

Police deal with thousands of mental health related callouts a year.

Assistant Commissioner Sandra Venables says mental health is a complex issue and officers around the country are faced with similar situations on a daily basis.

“It is our purpose to keep people safe and our staff were doing exactly that.”

“Police will continue to work closely with mental health crisis teams, and health facilities to provide the best possible response for those in distress,” she says.

Police is currently awaiting the release of the findings of the government inquiry into mental health.


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