• Who staffs FTAC?

    There are ten police personnel provided by the MPS – a detective chief inspector, an inspector and a sergeant, as well as six detective or police constables and one civilian worker.

    NHS staff comprise three senior forensic community psychiatric nurses, one senior forensic social worker, three part-time senior consultant forensic psychiatrists, one part-time senior forensic psychologist and a number of visiting psychiatrists.

    They are provided by the North London Forensic Service of the Barnet, Enfield and Haringey NHS Trust and by the Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust.

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  • Who funds FTAC?

    The Metropolitan Police Service receives funding from the Home Office.

    NHS personnel are funded by the Department of Health

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  • What is meant by the 'fixated'?

    The fixated are those who have an obsessional pre-occupation (often delusional) with a person or a perceived grievance, which they pursue to an irrational degree.

    The pathologically fixated spend much of their waking lives thinking about the object of their concern.

    The intense preoccupation in many cases drives out everything else, alienating friends and relatives, undermining social networks, and dissipating financial resources.

    The fixated are, in consequence of their fixation, isolated individuals.

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  • What is meant by prominent people?

    ‘Prominent people’ are those who are in the public eye due to their public service role. These include the main members of the British Royal Family, senior politicians and members of parliament.

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  • What sort of referrals does FTAC take?

    FTAC receives referrals of inappropriate, harassing or threatening communications to prominent people.

    FTAC also deals with such approaches to prominent people and to the buildings in which they live and work, for instance the royal palaces, the Palace of Westminster and buildings in the central London government security zone.

    FTAC cannot take referrals of people simply because they are mentally ill: otherwise, it would be completely overwhelmed.

    Referrals may come from individuals, from their correspondence offices, from the parliamentary authorities or from police forces.

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  • How does FTAC work?

    FTAC’s involvement is based upon assessment of risk. New referrals are assessed using standardised procedures. Risk is reviewed using a public-figure version of the Stalking Risk Profile.

    Cases are jointly worked by a nurse and a police officer, and the conduct of a case is supervised by more senior police and NHS staff. Where there appear to be mental health problems, contact may be made with the individual’s general practitioner, or with relevant Community Mental Health Team (CMHT).

    Assessment sometimes involves visiting individuals in their homes, with local health service or police workers.

    FTAC staff do not detain people under the Mental Health Act. Rather, they refer cases to local services who make their own independent decisions as to what action is required.

    FTAC works on a diversion model. It acts as a catalyst for involvement of health services and social services. It does not provide such services itself. Case management involves working cases until the level of concern has been reduced to low. It may take hours, weeks or occasionally months for the desired outcome to be achieved.

    Where people are admitted to hospital (and sometimes where they are managed by psychiatric services in the community), FTAC case workers can be invited to take part in professionals’ meetings, case conference and Care Programme Approach meetings at the hospitals in question.

    Whereas most referrals where the risk is assessed as low are not taken on by FTAC, a few cases will be referred on to local services where there is urgent concern about the person’s welfare and it is considered that there is a duty of care.

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  • How many cases does FTAC deal with?

    FTAC receives around 1,000 referrals a year.

    After initial risk assessment, the proportion on which further action needs to be taken is around half.

    Around 150 new cases per year require intensive case working.

    FTAC follows up cases until the risks are assessed as low. It therefore carries a substantial case load, as well as taking on new referrals.

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  • What FTAC does and doesn't do

    FTAC has a joint policing and health purpose.

    FTAC does not have any special powers.

    FTAC does not detain people under the Mental Health Act. Rather, it refers cases to the responsible NHS catchment area services who are entirely independent and make their own decisions as to appropriate intervention.

    FTAC does not determine how long someone remains in hospital. Decisions about release are taken by the treating consultant or by an independent Mental Health Review Tribunal, to which detained patents have a right of appeal.

    FTAC publishes its results in peer-reviewed journals and advertises its function and activities through talks and lectures to medical and police audiences at conferences and academic meetings.

    FTAC is subject to all the relevant oversight and governance procedures.

    FTAC deals with lone individuals, not with groups.

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  • What sort of cases does FTAC deal with?

    Most of the cases that FTAC deals with are suffering from serious mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, delusional disorder, depression and bipolar disorder.

    The Fixated Research Group produced a classification of cases, according to underlying motivation, based upon Mullen and colleagues stalker typology:-

    Intimacy Seekers: these include people who believe that they already have an intimate relationship with the prominent person concerned (e.g. they are married to the prime minister or are the Queen’s lost son) and those who believe that they are entitled to an intimate relationship with the prominent person and they will shortly achieve this.

    The Resentful: these are people who are righteously indignant at a supposed injustice and angrily obsessed with a particular, highly-personal cause or grievance, not infrequently delusional in nature. They pursue an idiosyncratic idea of justice and want, not simply redress, but retribution. Many are querulant and persistently litigious.

    Incompetent Suitors: the socially maladroit (whether through personality, intellectual limitation or mental illness) who make persistent, unrealistic and inept attempts to establish a friendship or sexual relationship with a public figure. Such approaches are made in hope, rather than with a sense of entitlement, but are characterised by an insensitivity to indications that their approaches are unwanted.

    The Predatory: the stalking of public figures as a prelude to sexual attack is uncommon, but does occur.

    Help Seekers: those who are unrealistically pursuing help from the public figure because of the latter’s position and because they do not know to whom else to turn. Such cases are characteristically hapless, hopeless or helpless, rather than angry.

    Attention Seekers: those who wish to make grand public statements or draw attention to themselves as part of a desire for self-aggrandisement, or who hunger for notoriety in order to bolster their own feelings of self-worth and importance.

    The Chaotic: those whose mental state is sufficiently confused, generally as a result of psychotic illness, that it is difficult to discern any singularity of purpose.

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  • What happens to cases referred to FTAC?

    Many are admitted to hospital by their local health services, or given community care packages and social support.

    A detailed study paper.pdf of outcome in a cohort of 100 cases has been published.

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  • What are FTAC’s governance Procedures?

    The police members are subject to standard police governance procedures.

    The NHS staff are subject to the information and clinical governance procedures of their employing NHS Trusts.

    An independent Oversight Group, comprised of representatives of commissioner, provider and customer agencies, is responsible for strategic direction and for approving FTAC’s policies and procedures.

    FTAC engages in international bench-marking with partner agencies in other countries, in order to ensure that it maintains best practice.

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