There is ambivalence about prosecuting psychiatric in-patients for violent offences. This ambivalence is reflected in the Memorandum of Understanding that exists between the Crown Prosecution Service and the NHS Security Management Service. This has led to an unwelcome change in practice when the police ask for information from an individual's consultant psychiatrist, the police requesting information about the individual's cognitive abilities at the time of the alleged offence and using this to make decisions about prosecution. However, there is also guidance on this area from other sources. We describe this and make further suggestions for dealing with these requests.
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