The rationale for a joint police/mental health unit was the finding that the main danger of death or serious injury to politicians in Western Europe came from attacks by mentally ill loners, who had given warnings of what they might do in the form of inappropriate, harassing or threatening communications or approaches towards the politicians in question.3 A similar picture was found in a study of historical attacks on the British royal family.4 A separate detailed study of recent inappropriate communications and approaches to members of the royal family found that 83% of the individuals concerned were suffering from psychosis.5 Similar findings have come from the United States, where Park Dietz has written: Every instance of an attack on a public figure by a lone stranger in the United States for which adequate information has been made publicly available has been the work of a mentally disordered person who issued one or more pre-attack signals in the form of inappropriate letters, visits or statements...." 6 The role of FTAC in the UK is to detect such signals, to evaluate the risks involved and to intervene to reduce them. Such intervention often entails the obtaining of treatment and care for the fixated individual from psychiatric and social services and general practitioners in their town of residence. editThe Fixated The word fixated in the name of the unit indicates that the main motivational drives behind the stalking of public figures are pathologically intense fixations on individuals or causes, these being obsessive pre-occupations pursued to an abnormally intense degree.7 In the case of those pursuing the Royal Family, these fixations divide between beliefs that the individual was a member of the family or married to a member of the family; that the royal personage was involved in plots to persecute them; and that the Royal Family were culpable for failing to redress a particular grievance, often delusional, with which the individual was angrily obsessed. editStaffing and Role FTAC is staffed by ten police officers from the Metropolitan Police Service, three full-time senior forensic nurses, a full-time senior social worker and a number of senior forensic psychiatrists and psychologists from the Barnet Enfield and Haringey NHS Trust and the Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust. FTAC receives around 1,000 referrals a year of people who have engaged in threatening or harassing communications towards politicians or the Royal Family.8 Around half are assessed as being of low risk after initial enquiries. The remainder are investigated by FTAC staff.