ASBO to schizophrenia man is “inappropriate”

An ASBO issued to a man diagnosed with schizophrenia is “inappropriate”, says a mental health charity

Francis McCann, 27, of Palmers Green in east London, was issued the ASBO last month.

He was accused of breaking into sheds and garages and taking from skips and bins, then selling the items on the street.

He was given a two-year ASBO banning him from entering the Leyton and Leytonstone areas of east London.

Police said mental health professionals were consulted before the ASBO was issued.

But Richard Colwill, a spokesman for mental health charity SANE, told the Epping Forest Guardian: “Situations such as this should not be allowed to degenerate to the point where the police become involved and an inappropriate course of action is taken in the form of an ASBO.

“What a person with serious mental health problems requires is a full assessment by mental health professionals, resulting in a realistic and supportive care plan.

“For many mentally ill people the stigma and distress caused by an ASBO could make matters even worse.”

He added that in cases where someone is diagnosed with schizophrenia, paranoia could be worsened by an ASBO.

A police spokeswoman told the Guardian: “Police were aware that Mr McCann suffered from mental illness and were in regular contact with his care workers prior to seeking an ASBO.

“They consulted with them to establish the most appropriate means to prevent his offending behaviour.

“He was accompanied by a mental health care worker at court.

“In order to issue an ASBO the court had to be satisfied beyond all reasonable doubt that such an order was necessary to protect the public from further anti-social acts committed by him.”

The organisation Statewatch lists people with mental health problems who have been issued ASBOs.

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