Last month, a custody sergeant and two detention officers were acquitted of manslaughter relating to the death of Thomas Orchard, a 32 year old church caretaker who was living with paranoid schizophrenia. He collapsed and died whilst in custody following a physical restraint that involved a heavy webbing belt being placed around his face.

Safe physical interventionsA Home Office pathologist, Dr Delaney, identified that Thomas’ death resulted from a struggle and period of physical restraint including a prolonged period in the prone position and the application of an Emergency Response Belt across the face resulting in asphyxia.

Deborah Coles of INQUEST made the following statement in response to the verdict: “It is difficult to reconcile this verdict with the disturbing evidence which has emerged during this trial. Thomas’ death is amongst the most horrific that INQUEST has ever seen. Thomas was in mental health crisis and should have been taken to hospital. Instead, he was bound and gagged with a restraint belt across his face in what must have been a terrifying ordeal. Those who should have protected a vulnerable man lost sight of him as a human being. Mental ill health affects so many of us and this could have been any one of us. At a time when police are calling for more equipment, including spit hoods and tasers, we need to question priorities. Surely the first and most urgent need must be to train officers to respond safely and humanely to those in mental health crisis”.

SecuriCare Director Phil Hardy says, “Training has got to fit need. We offer a range of online programmes that cover mental health awareness and learning disability awareness. Knowing people as individuals, and understanding their issues and concerns is surely the first step in supporting them effectively and responding appropriately to any change in behaviour..”

“At Securicare we have endeavoured to evolve our training product over the last 20 years. To make it the best it can be. This includes any physical responses to challenging behaviour. All of our physical intervention techniques are risk assessed by a physiotherapist to ensure that they are as safe as they can possibly be… We feel that any physical skills training programme that we put together to meet the needs of a client needs to have the safest and most effective techniques as an absolute minimum…”

SecuriCare offer a range of courses designed to ensure that nominated trainers can help staff to respond safely and effectively to any ‘Challenging Behaviour’ that may occur, including the application of ‘Physical Interventions techniques’. All programmes are finalised after full training needs analysis and delivered by experienced frontline practitioners. Click to see our ‘Preventing & Managing Challenging Behaviour’ Course which includes ‘Positive Behaviour Management’ techniques designed to minimise the need for any kind of restrictive intervention. You can also take a look at our person centred Behaviour Planning Service.

Contact us for more information and to discuss your needs: E: trainers@securicare.com or T: 01904 492442