Police 'prefer' no mental health workers at emergencies

MENTAL health practitioners are rarely called to attend emergency situations even if police believe they may help, a court has heard.

The coronial inquest into five police fatal shootings was told police negotiators attending events such as sieges normally phone mental health clinicians for advice but do not ask to attend.

Coroner Terry Ryan is examining the deaths of five men Queensland police shot and killed in the line of duty.

These included Sunshine Coast men Anthony William Young and Edward Wayne Logan as well as Shaun Basil Kumeroa who had spent the days leading up to his death on the run from police staying with friends in Ipswich.

Gold Coast Health and Hospital Service mental health and speciality services general manager Karlyn Chettleburgh told the court although police would often call mental health clinicians for advice they would not call them to emergencies.

"Police negotiators often prefer no mental health practitioners on site," she said.

"The more people on site the more people police have to look after."

She said police often contacted clinicians over the phone but did not get them to scenes in person.

Ms Chettleburgh said the police database had access to summaries of mental health Crisis Intervention Plans.

Under cross-examination Ms Chettleburgh said she believed police officers and mental health clinicians could perform welfare checks together on at-risk people.

She said police generally did not have medical training but mental health clinicians were not able to enter premises to conduct a check. 

But the plans are not shared with police if a patient requests a crisis plan. She told the court these reports could also be helpful for police but said it was "highly unusual" for a patient to request it be shared with police.

Coroner Terry Ryan said he expects to deliver his recommendations before May 2017.



Laval Donovan Zimmer: Age 33. He grew up in Mackay, Kingaroy and Brisbane and had a history of paranoid schizophrenia. He was killed after running at police with a knife at his home in Redcliffe. They had attended his home after he made numerous nuisance calls to 000 and PoliceLink at Redcliffe and Maroochydore that became increasingly aggressive.

Anthony William Young: Age 42. Lived with his older brother, his brother's partner and their 12-year-old daughter. Brandished a machete at police when they attended his home at Yandina-Coolum Drive, after numerous reports of a disturbance at his home on August 21, 2013. Was told to "drop the knife" three times before he was shot. Police found two bodies inside the home and concluded Young had murdered his brother and partner before being shot.

Edward Wayne Logan: Age 51. He was visiting his son Thomas Logan at Outlook Drive, Tewantin. A fight with his son escalated into a domestic dispute in which he smashed up cars, windows and garage doors. He was killed when police attended and he lunged at them with a splayed metal letterbox.

Shaun Basil Kumeroa: Age 42. Was killed after a four-hour siege at Inala. He allegedly had been avoiding police for a number days after assaulting his former partner, who he was involved in a custody dispute with. He brandished a replica gun at police, which they believed to be real.

Troy Martin Foster: Age 32. Police shot him in Southport after he held a knife to his mother's throat on November 24, 2014. He had mental health issues and had consumed drugs and alcohol. His mother alleged his problem with police began at age 11 after an alleged police assault at Tweed Heads.

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