Posts Tagged ‘Mental Health’


‘Scared to Tell’ is set in Connecticut, USA. The novel opens with the discovery of a young intellectually disabled woman found frozen to death in the grounds of her care home. It’s not long before Detective Annie Macpherson, recently returned to her secondment to an American police force from her home in Scotland, is on the case. This time Annie is working a duel role with the Regional team as well as her old force, so ‘Scared to Tell’ introduces new police colleagues as well as old favourites, but her romance with Detective Dave Ellison is still very much on.

The story is about the not often tackled theme of abuse of people with intellectual disabilities and the author’s empathetic handling of the experience of her intellectually challenged characters makes for a very realistic read of a topic often neglected in crime fiction but very current with the increasing exposure of abuse in British care homes.

I enjoyed being reunited with Annie. She is a dogged and determined police woman with a soft side and in ‘Scared to Tell’ her own family experience of having a brother with severe learning difficulties helps with her undercover task of finding evidence of abuse. Barbara Fagan Speake makes excellent use of her own background in her novels; both in her own Connecticut upbringing and her professional experience as a UK clinical psychologist. ‘Scared to Tell’ is another satisfying and enjoyable read. Highly recommended.


I was delighted to hear about a new police and mental health project on this morning’s news. Leicestershire police have partnered up with mental health professionals to run the ‘Leicestershire and Rutland mental health triage car scheme’. As a result the number of people with mental illness detained in custody has fallen by two thirds in the last two years.

Mental health practioner, Emma McCann and PC Alex Crisp, part of the triage team

Mental health practioner, Emma McCann and PC Alex Crisp, part of the triage team

Mental health nurses, like Emma McCann, accompany police officers to attend incidents or advise them over the phone. This has reduced inappropriate detention and distress for both mentally ill people and officers but it has saved police time, reducing the average time spent on detaining people from 8 hours to 5. The mental health professionals are also available in custody suites for 18 hours a day, 7 days a week and provide specialist support for children and young people.


CAPSWhen more police time than ever is spent dealing with people with mental illness and HM Inspectors of Constabulary and Prisons are concerned about the large and increasing numbers detained in police cells – this is a brilliant idea. I am not surprised Leicestershire police have been piloting this groundbreaking project. When I was Regional Advisor for the Home Office in the East Midlands, it was Leicestershire police who piloted the ‘Problem Oriented Policing’ programme that I researched in Chicago (CAPS), bringing police officers and local residents together to solve local policing problems. A programme which was later rolled out around the UK. So let’s hope this initiative is here to stay and doesn’t disappear like so many other successful short term projects.