I think the key word here is "teams", and I am sure these teams will include armed police officers.
They do say that it will lighten the workload on police, so maybe they will have a database of volatile people, or have access to the police database of violent people, for cross referencing purposes (that would carry it's own issues) - and call police only for known volatile patients.
My intuition says that the mental health workers should have the final say on whether an armed response is necessary.
If you mean if police get called out as well - that makes sense.
But if you mean whether or not police at the incident should use their arms -I don't know how that would work:
- I can't see a police officer going 'Doc, should I taser him?'. If the Doc hesitates, the Doc then becomes the bad guy in the patients eyes, which would cause things to escalate. If the Doc has to say, without being asked 'Taser him'...you hamstring safety responses when the Doc freezes (some will), or is indecisive, or just plain doesn't recognise a threat to their safety.
- Firearm responses should only be for imminent
threat to life. The time taken to talk (even to say 'shoot him', and then for the officer to recognise and react) could cost a life
On the good side, people won't get tasered for mere non-compliance, which seems to happen a bit over there.
But if they lead to more people being killed (be it mental health workers, or estranged spouses or innocent bystanders) then they aren't a good idea.
That's the question, isn't it. While it seems like a good idea, how it plays out in practice still needs to be seen.
I wonder if the staff they are using are only the medical professionals...and not their security staff that would normally deal with anything volatile (while the medical professional talks). Ie. if they have ever personally dealt with the full range (the talking + the physical threat side) of a mental health patient who's volatile. And it would be a less controlled environment than the one they are used to operating in....I guess that is why trials are a good thing.