Inga Heyman: Public health providers and police services are two sides of the same coin
Inga Heyman, lecturer in Edinburgh Napier University’s School of Health & Social Care, and, Chair of the LEPH2019 Organising Committee
It is easy to view policing and public health as two very separate entities. Traditionally we can think about police as solving and preventing crime, providing security and law enforcement. Health practitioners are embedded in health promotion, the eradication and management of disease, medical and psychiatric emergencies and delivery of community-based health care.
Yet, law enforcement and public health are inextricably intertwined. There is a myriad ways in which people come to the attention of both services. For example, police officers regularly deal with victims of sexual trauma, violent crime, people working in the commercial sex industry and people with mental health needs – the same population who are supported by health professionals.
It is critically important that we recognise and acknowledge where these worlds come together, and inter-sectoral approaches are developed and strengthened.