The Police Department is working closely with the Ministry of Health to address crimes involving mentally ill individuals. As recent as last month, several police officers were trained by the Head Nurse of the Mental Health Unit in the Ministry of Health in recognizing and dealing with mental health issues. Aside from these training sessions, there is also the compilation of a Mental Health Training Manual. According to the Commissioner of Police, Chester Williams there are several efforts being made within the department on how to handle crimes and the mental health factor.
Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “First of all we the police are not in a position to say who have mental health issues, that is a profession that is foreign to us. We would have to rely on the expertise/opinion from those persons who are trained in those areas. But we can say of recent we have seen a number of incidents where people are saying that the perpetrator have some mental health issue i.e the incident in Caye Caulker just a couple days ago; it’s an unfortunate situation and it is one that we’re working with through the Ministry of Health to see how they can help us to do the relevant evaluation and write the relevant report and once that is done then we will then forward the file to the DPP and the DPP is going to make determination as to whether or not we’re going to charge for murder, manslaughter or whatever the case may be. It is a situation that again it’s unfortunate but something needs to be done to see how we can address it and I would want to implore upon families who do have people that exhibit mental health issues that they try to seek medical attention or treatment for them to be able to keep them at a state where they will not act out because when they fail to take the medication then you’ll see they begin to act out and it might reach dire stage and we don’t want that to occur.”
The Ministry of Health is working on establishing an acute mental health ward to temporarily keep these mentally ill patients from hurting others or themselves.