February 5, 2009

I've met with Jim and his colleagues again for another interesting chat about how to take things forward.

He gave me some information about lay visitors and I wonder if this is something more of us should get involved in? They're independent members of the local community who visit police stations unannounced to check on the welfare of people who are in police custody.

I'd think it would be helpful if some of the lay visitors had a real understanding and experience of mental health problems. Having a criminal record or unspent convictions isn't an automatic barrier - all applications are considered on merit. So I assume experience of being detained under the Mental Health Act wouldn't be an automatic barrier either.

I'd be interested to hear of anyone's experience as a lay visitor - or applying to be one! Do you think it helps to make a difference?

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