Homicides (that’s Murder, Manslaughter or Infanticides) in the general population in England and Wales have been declining for years
and it’s been commonly accepted that homicides by mental health patients have also been falling as well.
The most commonly used data for homicides by people with mental illness comes from the National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness at the University of Manchester (NCISH)
As I’ve argued elsewhere, whilst the NCISH figures allow for direct comparisons they do not capture the whole extent of homicides by people with mental illness. This is because they only count convictions, don’t include murder suicides, and don’t usually count multiple victims.
The latest NCISH data only goes up to 2013, so it is difficult to gauge what’s been happening more recently.
Given these limitations we decided to make Freedom of Information requests to all 57 mental health trusts in England for statistics on homicides and suspected homicides by their patients.
Three trusts declined to answer, citing alleged ‘patient confidentiality’ concerns. (whilst another lost the request during transfer of FoI personnel).
But according to the Trust’s own figures – patient homicides and suspected patient homicides have been clearly increasing over the last seven years.
Professor Sir Simon Wessely of the Royal College of Psychiatrists reckons the increase is due to trusts incorporating patients who would not previously have been counted as patients. But we’re not sure that accounts for such an increase on this scale.
NCISH’s last 2015 annual report noted the alleged previous decline ‘has not continued since 2009” which would seem to support this new information from the Trusts.
These figures are just for mentally ill patients who commit, or who are suspected of committing homicides in England.
The annual figure for homicide victims of mental health patients and people with mental illness in the United Kingdom is much higher according to an NCISH report from 2013.
That shows that on average there are around 120 victims of mental health homicides in Britain every year.
Get in touch if you’d like to see the stats for the Trust in your local area.