In the past five years, Britain has seen a rise in mental health cases. People have frequently observed that phoning the London Police is the initial step in dealing with a mental health issue. Many have stated that this might community’s response to deal with increasing mental health demands.
The reason behind such a Response
Initially, the College of Policing taught its students to tend to mental health incidents which makes the person vulnerable and in the center of the incident. Based on Section 136 of the Mental Health Act. Police officers possess the power to remove the mental health patient to a place of safety. But if the person has no free access to hospital care, the police officer can’t leave them alone.
This may have caused police officers to spend 20-40% of their time on dealing with mental health cases. It has been stated that in London 500-600 times a month, police officers spend hours in waiting time to hand over the patients to medical staff.
This waiting time can last as long as 14 hours. A national police study states that the time spent by police officers in waiting lines at mental care can be equivalent to 500,000 domestic abuse incidents and 600,000 burglaries.
The sixth national Mental Health and Policing conference, conducted on May 2023, lends to the development of a schema called “Right Care, Right Person (RCRP)”. The idea of “Right Care, Right Person” has its roots in both the NHS and more recently in policy-making.
The answer is guided by a basic premise: when there are concerns about a person’s well-being related to mental health, medical, or social care difficulties, a strategy is developed. This premise is that a suitable person, who possesses the necessary knowledge, expertise, and experience, offers the proper amount of care and assistance.
The overarching goal for health and policing should be to ensure that care is provided by the agency that can best meet the person’s requirements. It also makes it clear that in any circumstances, such suitable persons are not the police.
According to a Metropolitan Police spokesperson. the RCRP program was a successful step in reducing demands on all services and ensuring the right care is provided to the right person. It has been able to reclaim 7% of police officers’ time on solving criminal cases
As per Guardians reports, Sir Mark Rowley has ordered his police officers to stop attending to mental health calls. The police commissioner has issued a timeline until August 31 for healthcare and social services until this order becomes enforced.
The health department received the above decision in the form of a letter. Social care partners on 24 May, giving a 99-day timeline. According to public opinion, this given statement may cause turmoil and stress among ambulance workers, paramedics, and NHS staff who are already overworked.
As per Rowley’s statements, the current situation is failing Londoners twice. For starters, it is obvious that police officers are not the right person for these patients. Secondly, this situation fails Londoners by not giving these officers time to solve criminal cases and deal with victims who are also in need of help. Thus, the police department of London has been asking the government to deal with this matter and to implement the RCRP schema across the country.
The government of London, in January 2023, had decided to issue 150 million euros of capital investment to improve places across NHS for mental health crisis. This funding will help in the development of 90 new mental health ambulances and hiring specialist staff.