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FTAC: A unit run by a handful of psychiatrists who are monitoring the British public for people who they deem to be a risk to MPs

FTAC: A unit run by a handful of psychiatrists who are monitoring the British public for people who they deem to be a risk to MPs

The Fixated Threat Assessment Centre (“FTAC”) is a joint NHS/Metropolitan unit –  except it is not run by either the National Health Service (“NHS”) or the police.

It is run by a small group of five psychiatrists known as Fixated Research Group (“FRG”) – only two of whom are British.  Yet this small, mainly non-British, group monitors British citizens who challenge politicians and get too close.

If this group deems a member of the public to be a risk to a politician, or a “fixated loner,” they will most likely deem that person mentally ill and can request a psychiatric or psychological evaluation, or even have a member of the British public sectioned.

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On Friday, UK Column News’ Brian Gerrish raised the topic of FTAC.  Gerrish first looked at this joint NHS/Metropolitan Police unit ten years ago.  At that time the unit only “managed the risk” posed by adults.  But recently it has expanded its operations to cases involving children.

In the video below, the 12-minute section on FTAC begins at timestamp 17:23.  You can find the show notes to accompany UK Column News’ broadcast on its website HERE.

FTAC was set up to set up in October 2006 by the Home Office, the Department of Health and the Metropolitan Police Service to assess and manage the risk to politicians, members of the British Royal Family, and other public figures from obsessive people.  It begins work when a public figure receives a threatening communication. In practice “manage the risk” may not be as kindly as the term suggests.

In 2009, relating to the case of Maurice Kirk, UK Column’s Mike Robinson wrote:

The Fixated Threat Assessment Centre is there to make sure that in circumstances such as [Maurice Kirk], instead of prosecuting a charge in the courts, the charge is used as an excuse for a corrupt judge to order psychological and psychiatric assessments. All it takes is for some so-called psychiatrist to say that he feels an assessment should take place, and before you know it, you’re “Sectioned.”

Maurice Kirk – Fixated Threat? UK Column, 10 May 2009

On FTAC’s website, it states: “This site is operated by the Fixated Research Group and is independent from the Metropolitan Police Service and NHS provider organisations.”

On its website, the Fixated Research Group (“FRG”) identifies that the main risk to elected politicians comes not from terrorist or criminal groups, but from fixated loners. “So, if you think you’re going to get too close and challenge a politician, and too regularly, you need to be careful because this unit is going to be on you,” Gerrish said.

FRG assumes that “the majority of fixated loners are mentally ill.”  Among the risks which need to be assessed, FRG states:

  • Disruption: the risk that the behaviours will disrupt a person’s ability to go about their normal lives and duties, or disrupt public events.
  • Attention to inappropriate communications and approaches to public figures is a way of identifying seriously ill people who have fallen through the care net.

Looking at the above in the round, “This is getting very close to anybody who dares stand up to their MP,” Gerrish said.

Gerrish then took a brief look at the FRG members, the people who are monitoring the UK public to see if they’re a threat to public figures, e.g., UK politicians.  There are five members who are psychiatrists: two Australians, Paul E. Mullen and Michele Pathé, two from the UK, David James and Frank Farnham, and an American, Reid Meloy.  There is also an associate member who is an American psychologist, Mario Scalora.

There are similar units in Australia as well.  In 2022, True Crime News Weekly reported that New South Wales Police promised sweeping changes to the remit of the controversial Fixated Persons Investigations Unit. This was the result of several highly publicised and embarrassing incidents which gave rise to concerns it was a “political goon squad” used to shut down opponents and whistle-blowers truthfully speaking about political and police corruption.

In the week that the Fixated Threat Assessment Centre opened in 2018 in the Australian state of Victoria, it was accused of being “loopy”.  Joseph Siracusa, Professor of Human Security and International Diplomacy at RMIT University, said the centre may reassure the public but it was unlikely to prevent terrorist and lone actor attacks.  “It’s kind of loopy really. It’s illogical and not evidence-based,” he said.

Siracusa added, “There has been very little proof or evidence that there is a set of criteria for identifying lone attackers or terrorists. They do not fit any single profile. The default position is that there is always a mental defect here … [but that is] quite a leap of faith. I think these guys are pretty conscious and rational of what they are doing.”

In the same year, 2018, Queensland’s Fixated Persons Unit was described as “Orwellian” and that the “secretive branch” of the police has “Big Brother’s shadow looming over it.”

Similarly, there is a Fixated Threat Assessment Centre in New Zealand.

We don’t really know how this unit in the UK works or who holds it to account, Gerrish said.  But, “this unit can, effectively, have any member of the public sectioned, or at least examined by a psychiatrist or psychologist, simply because they have dared to challenge an MP or to speak out about somebody with a high public profile. It’s incredibly sinister.”

The downward spiral of the UK becoming a dictatorship began many years ago.  In 2013, the then UK Home Secretary Theresa May built a state spying network that put the East German Stasi to shame.  This network included FTAC.  “We warned [at the time] what was coming,” Gerrish said. “We warned in 2013 that the state was controlling the press.”

In 2013, UK Column provided a diagrammatic overview of May’s network. In their news broadcast on Friday, Gerrish provided another overview:

Further reading:

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