A recent study revealed that a very high number of victims of fatal cop-shootings in Australia suffer from severe mental disorders and schizophrenia.
A research involving 48 police shootings in Victoria has discovered a substantial over-represantation of victims with mental disorders.The study looked at deaths recorded from November 1982 to February 2007 - a time when there was a policy change made to cut down the number of fatal shootings.
The 1995 Project Beacon reforms did cut down the number of fatal shootins by fifty per cent but the rate of shootings that involved mentally-ill people had actually increased, according to the research conducted by Monash University.
Professor James Ogloff and his colleagues from the Clinical Forensic Psychology writes, The main aim of Project Beacon was to reduce the number of fatal shootings by the Victoria Police by reforming policy and practice of the force.
It was also found that of the 48 people fatally shot by cops, more than 90 per cent were males.
Prof Ogloff says, All but six cases involved recorded histories with mental health and criminal justice systems before the fatal incident occured ... with estimated rates of psychosis and schizophrenia 11.3- and 17.3-fold higher than estimated rates in the general population.
Nearly 40 per cent of the victims suffered from alcohol- or drug-related addiction.
A total of 16.7 per cent of those shot had psychosis, 12.5 per cent had schizophrenia and others had anxiety and mood disorder.
Another research showed police reported about a fifth of potential offenders they had to deal with, appeared to suffer from mental illness, said Prof Ogloff.
The study calls for the need for a network between the polic and mental health services, he said and more training is required on how to manage people suffering from mental problems.