Ensuring staff safety: flagging violent incidents

Red flag OPT

Violent warning markers are a means of identifying and recording individuals who pose, or could possibly pose, a risk to members of staff who come into contact with them. 

Most of you are aware of the need to inform your line manager of any potential threats encountered on the frontline and the need to raise a DATIX with the details. These DATIX reports form an evidence record and audit trail, which can help recognise patterns and decide the best way to deal with such threats. During the investigation of the DATIX incident, and where a member of staff has requested such a flag, the manager may ratify this request, depending on their investigation findings, and escalate it to the flagging team to action. 

Details such as the mental stability of an individual, or any threatening actions they have taken, behaviour they have or are alleged to have committed are included on a flagged piece of text which is put next to the individual’s address. The Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) only allows the Trust to flag addresses and not individuals; therefore it is critical that a full location address is given in the DATIX record to avoid any future misunderstandings.

What staff may not be aware of is that under the DPA, the Trust is only allowed to keep these addresses flagged for a maximum of 12 months unless there have been further transgressions at the same address. Each address is monitored by the Trust on a regular basis and if nothing else is reported the flag will disappear and potentially a member of staff will go to that address and be subjected to abuse or violence. It is therefore imperative that all acts of violence and aggression are reported, irrespective of the fact that the address has a current flag on it.

CAD flags are only as good as the information that is received from frontline staff so please do remember to report as accurately and as fully as possible to ensure that you and your colleagues are kept safe. Frontline staff are the eyes and ears of the Trust and if you haven’t reported a dangerous situation then you are potentially putting others at risk. 

Anne Wright
Local Security Management Specialist

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