10 June 2021

CNWL’s Liaison and Diversion team in Hillingdon has been delivering mental health training to police officers of the future.

Team manager Claire Gordon-Ellis and colleague Patricia Mashingaidze agreed to a request from the Metropolitan Police Service to deliver a course on mental health awareness to the group of students who are undertaking a policing degree.

Claire and Patricia talked about the main types of mental disorder, how someone might ‘present’ with these illnesses and most importantly suggestions on how the police might respond in these circumstances.

Peppered in with this were a couple of exercises, case examples and an explanation of the role of Liaison and Diversion.

The session, which received good feedback from the recruits, was a small part of a week-long programme.

The request came about because the Metropolitan Police Learning & Development Lead for West London was previously a Custody Manager at Heathrow Police Station – a station where CNWL’s Liaison and Diversion Service operates.

The team was the first he thought about when looking for someone to raise awareness of mental health issues to new police recruits given the high numbers of people they will come into contact with who are in distress.

Claire said: “The Liaison and Diversion Service is keen to offer sessions such as these to all our police colleagues to help them feel more confident when dealing with people who are in distress.

“We know a high number of people arrested have a history of mental illness and having this awareness can help to ensure appropriate support is provided at the earliest opportunity.

“We are looking forward to discussing with the police how, going forward we can continue to assist with their learning.”