Partnership between public health and the police – needed more than ever
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ASPHER Avenue de Tervueren 153, 1050 Brussels Belgium
Publication date: 2023-04-26
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A999
Joint working between police and public health professionals is essential, for example, in emergency preparedness and response; safeguarding children and vulnerable adults; responses to acute mental health problems, problems of addiction and domestic violence; accident prevention; offender management and rehabilitation; and preventing racial violence. In the UK community safety partnerships continue to be the overarching bodies representing local authorities, the police, health services and public health, fire services, community and minority representatives and charged with planning to prevent crime and violence at local administrative level. Knowledge of the epidemiology of violence and crime, and evidence-based interventions have increased. There is growing recognition of the impact of adverse childhood experiences and the need for trauma-informed interventions by police and health services. The development of partnerships between police and public health requires enthusiasm, expertise, mutual respect and commitment by senior officers and officers working at the frontline. Joint training is essential. Co-location is beneficial where joint decision making in real time is necessary as in children’s safeguarding and mental health responses. Progress in partnerships has been undermined by austerity policies, political indifference, and disruptive service reorganisations. This paper will describe my experiences over 40 years of working with the police at local, national and international leveIs. In the age of pandemics and populism, it is more vital than ever that public health and police forces work together and develop effective partnerships, for the safety and health of the communities they serve.
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