Medical

Police increasingly attending mental health calls

Police increasingly attending mental health calls

HM Inspector of Constabulary Zoe Billingham said the inspection found police respond to people with mental health problems with care and compassion. These crisis intervention teams very often aren't available or are simply suffering themselves from overload, so it's the police that are stuck with the problem and of course it's very demanding, very stressful for the officers.

"It is a national crisis which should not be allowed to continue".

It is placing an intolerable burden on police officers and staff at a time of escalating demand in areas like knife crime, serious sexual offences and domestic abuse.' A Government spokesman said: 'We are investing £2billion in mental health services, including in A&E departments, and community crisis services'.

Ms Billingham said that patients' mental health needs to be properly and appropriately managed and that police can not be stepping in simply because they work 24 hours a day.

"We have grave concerns about whether the police should be involved in responding to mental health problems to the degree they are".

Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) has released a report into policing and mental health.

"Our police services do a hugely challenging job day in, day out, and it can be hard dealing with vulnerable people who reach crisis in a public place".




Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner, Alison Hernandez, said: "The £2 billion for mental health services that was announced in the budget is extremely welcome".

ABOUT a fifth of demand on Wiltshire Police now comes from incidents relating to mental health.

A former Metropolitan Police officer has claimed the "poor old police" are taking on mental health support roles in the wake of cuts to mental health services. It cost some £70,000 just to answer the calls, says the watchdog.

Past year just five people alone made an incredible 8,655 calls to the Metropolitan Police, which cost £70,000 ($89,100) to answer.

The report said emergency services "need to stop relying on the 24/7 availability of the police", but praised work done by North Yorkshire's force to improve how it dealt with mental health issues, even though NYP could not specify how many of its calls were mental health-related.

Responding to the findings, Geoff Heyes, Head of Health Policy and Influencing at Mind, said:"We welcome this report, particularly the acknowledgement that many people seeking mental health care have to turn to the police to access it because mental health services are so stretched". This is not a problem that the police alone can solve.