Published: 09 November 2016
Ms K Thanaletchimi: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs whether the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) can have a police post with police vigilance to protect and safeguard the interests of IMH staff who may be threatened or subjected to physical abuse by unwell patients in a high-risk environment.
1. Madam, to maintain security and order within the hospital compound, IMH deploys Auxiliary Police Officers on a 24/7 basis. IMH also provides panic alarm tags to inpatient ward staff and equips clinic consultation rooms with panic alarm buttons. These Auxiliary Police Officers are trained to respond to incidents involving persons with mental health conditions. They are able to handle most incidents of abuse of IMH staff and will contact the Police to handle cases that they deem more serious.
2. From January to September 2016, IMH staff reported 12 cases of physical or verbal abuse to the Police. Police investigated these cases and prosecuted one discharged IMH former patient for unlawful stalking of an IMH staff under the Protection from Harassment Act, applied for another to be detained under the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) Act, and administered stern or conditional warnings to six more persons. The Member can be assured that the Police will take action against abusive individuals who compromise the safety of public health workers.