Health Care

Police 'picking up pieces of broken mental health system', watchdog warns

Police 'picking up pieces of broken mental health system', watchdog warns”

Chris Hobbs appeared on the Independent Republic of Mike Graham show to discuss new figures which revealed that five people with mental health problems called the Met Police 8,655 times in 2017, costing a total of £70,000 to answer. 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.

That is placing an intolerable burden on police officers and staff, resulting in a national crisis which should not be allowed to continue.

According to the inspectorate's analysis, police in 22 forces took 318,000 calls relating to mental health in two years, which equates to one every two minutes if scaled up to all forces.

"All too often, the system is failing people when they most need help".

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

This week, Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS), released a report which said the system was "failing when they most need help", but this was "not a problem that the police alone can solve".

But John Apter, chairman of the Police Federation, which represents rank-and-file officers, said Ms Billingham's frank assessment "reflects the reality of what we are experiencing every day".

Humberside Police was highlighted for having a mental health practitioner from the charity Mind in its control room three times a week.

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. The police should be the last resort, not the first port of call".

The full extent to which people with mental health problems place demands on police is not fully understood, the watchdog found.

The Government said it was investing £2bn in mental health services, including mental health liaison in A&E departments and community crisis services.

"We are seeing forces attending less other crimes because they are focusing on mental health-related incidents", said HM Inspector Zoe Billingham, who led the investigation.

"Police officers do an excellent job protecting those facing mental health problems in often hard and distressing circumstances and it is right that this report acknowledges police leadership in this area to be strong".



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