Police get courses on mental illnesses

Swedish police will soon start having classes about psychiatric disorders and mental illnesses. The goal is to minimise unnecessary police violence against people with mental illnesses, Swedish Radio News reports.

The classes are modelled after an American course and Martin Carlsson of the Skåne Police, who himself has taken the course in the US, hopes it can help minimise misunderstandings.

"I think these courses will be ground-breaking for Swedish police. I believe that we need a much deeper understanding and more education about how we interact with people with mental illnesses, " Carlsson says.

At this point only 25 police officers in Malmö in southern Sweden will get to take the course, but the goal is to have similar courses all over Sweden in a near future.

Since 1995, a total of 19 people have been fatally shot by the police in Sweden according to the National Police Board, and in many of those cases the victims suffered from acute mental illness.