(1) how many individuals have been detained by the Fixed Threat Assessment Centre since its inception, broken down by (a) gender and (b) ethnic origin; what the (i) average and (ii) maximum length of detention has been; and how many are currently detained;
(2) what safeguards are in place to ensure that individuals detained as a result of actions by the Fixed Threat Assessment Centre are only detained under the appropriate legislation;
(3) what reasons underlay the decision to establish the Fixed Threat Assessment Centre; who decided it should be established; how many (a) police officers, broken down by rank, (b) psychiatrists and (c) psychologists are assigned to the centre; and if he will make a statement.
The Fixated Threat Assessment Centre (FTAC) was established in order to better protect the public and vulnerable individuals in response to evidence that a significant proportion of people who engage in bizarre communications or contact with prominent people in public life are severely and acutely mentally ill and urgently need professional help. A small but significant number of such individuals can pose a risk to the public, the prominent person and themselves, particularly in environments where there are armed police officers. The Home Office, the Department of Health and the Metropolitan Police Service agreed to establish a joint police/mental health unit, on a pilot basis, to assess and manage the risk posed by such individuals. Where appropriate, FTAC will introduce (or re-introduce) the individuals into existing community mental health care through established pathways. If offences are disclosed, and the circumstances warrant such intervention, consideration will also be given to a criminal investigation.
FTAC is comprised of nine police officers (one chief inspector, one inspector, one sergeant and six police constables) and five mental health professionals (three full-time community psychiatric nurses, a half-time forensic psychiatrist and a half-time forensic psychologist).
FTAC does not detain people in psychiatric hospitals. When it encounters an individual in need of mental health care it alerts their general practitioners and psychiatrists, who then provide appropriate help under existing legislation. FTAC may make use of police powers under section 136 of the Mental Health Act 1983 to take a person who appears to be suffering from mental disorder, and in immediate need of care or control, to a place of safety. When people are removed to hospital under section 136, they are examined by a registered medical practitioner and interviewed by an approved social worker, not associated with FTAC, in order to make any necessary arrangements for their treatment or care. To date, FTAC personnel have used this power on nine occasions (comprising six white, north European males, one white, south European male, two white, north European females).