Before David ‘Rocky’ Bennett’s death in a psychiatric unit 18 years ago, he sent a letter to the nurse director, pointing out there were no black staff members. He wrote:
“There are over half a dozen black boys in this clinic. I don’t know if you have realised that there are no Africans on your staff at the moment”.
Bennett died while being held down by four staff members at a psychiatric unit after a violent altercation with another patient and a nurse. Looking at the circumstances around his untimely death, it’s clear his blackness was threatening to staff members. He had been using the mental health for at least a decade, yet his needs as a black Rastafarian were not being met.
A leaked report by a government taskforce has painted a devastating picture of England’s mental health services, revealing that the number of people killing themselves is soaring, that three-quarters of those with psychiatric conditions are not being helped, and that sick children are being sent “almost anywhere in the country” for treatment.
Details of the damning assessment have come to light just as the prime minister is planning to herald a transformation of mental health services.
The report, due to be published on Monday to coincide with an announcement by the prime minister on funding and new initiatives, lays bare a system that is routinely failing people from every walk of life.
The recently released ‘Stop and Search: the Anatomy of a Police Power’ provides a compelling and well-rounded analysis of the issues around the power that daily allows officers to invade an individual’s privacy and to intrude into people’s liberty.
Academics and renowned criminologists have contributed to the book’s eight chapters, covering issues ranging from police racism and the economic case for stop and search to counter terrorism policing.
The book launch, hosted by the LSE on 26 November, saw discussions by Emeritus Professor Robert Reiner, Chief Superintendent Victor Olisa and the book’s editors and contributors.