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Exceptional Circumstances – the Cart Before The Horse

Within the next two months, aspects of the Police and Crime Act 2017 relating to the Mental Health Act will come into force.

These will affect where a police officer can invoke Section 136 (which will increase the places in which it can be used) and it will stipulate that a police officer must, where practicable, consult with a mental health professional before using Section 136.

Both of these amendments are likely to lead to foreseeable issues. It is almost certain that the use of Section 136 will rise given the fact it will be possible to use it in private places other than dwellings. (The removal of the word “finds” is also likely to legalise the “would you mind stepping outside” tactic which has been previously unlawful. I’m not sure this was the Government’s intention but it’s obvious this will happen.)

In order to mitigate against this possible rise comes the stipulation regarding speaking to a mental health professional before using the power. Except there are some problems here as well. Read More…

A Drama Out Of A Crisis

A tweet from Surrey’s Chief Constable Lynne Owens really struck me this morning. It said this:

“My officers & staff have been dealing with 3 high risk missing people overnight. The continual increase in these cases is concerning”

  Read More…

Theoretically Speaking

In the last two weeks, @RichardJGarside director of an “independent public interest charity” called The Centre for Crime and Justice Studies has penned two articles about police reform for The Guardian.

The central thrust of Mr Garside’s articles is that lowering the police budget will lead to more balance in the public sector and that slashing the police budget will stop police officers doing other people’s jobs.

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Neighbourhood Policing – Too Valuable To Lose

“The Political Challenge” debate at conference this year was notable for the differing visions of the future offered by the panellists. Whilst the Think-Tanks spoke passionately about improving technology and the seemingly limitless potential to do more with less, it was Jack Dromey MP, the shadow policing minister, who repeated his concerns about how current government policy risks eroding “the bedrock of policing.”

Mr Dromey was talking about Neighbourhood Policing. However, his party did not win the election and it was clear from that debate and the speech from the Home Secretary that it is the Think-Tanks who seem to have the monopoly on ideas for the future direction of the police service and that most of these ideas involve plugs or batteries.

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One Door 

The publication of the CQC report on mental health care provision (Right Here Right Now) very clearly demonstrated that there simply isn’t enough of it. Not only is there not enough of it but those who end up dealing with it instead are neither properly equipped or trained to do so. The current system is nowhere even close to being able to deal with demand and the overall outcome is that people in crisis are being knocked from pillar to post when they are at their most vulnerable. When they are not at their most vulnerable, there is nothing in place to help them from reaching that point in the future.

The organisations charged with either providing this care as their primary role and those who fill in the widening gaps are struggling to cope and whilst this is a source of massive frustration across the board it is those in crisis who are suffering the most.

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