This is a short and immediate response to the publication of HMIC’s state of policing report.
The top headline is that the police can no longer continue to plug the gaps of other agencies and the primary example of this is around the provision of mental health crisis care.
Sir Tom Winsor identifies that the police have become the first resort of MH crisis management and that this is not right for anyone involved – least of all the person who is unwell. Read More…
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…
There are two stories today which suggest that public services are struggling to cope with demand.
The first refers to the “sheer volume” of cases being referred to MARAC meetings. (Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference – these try and get as many organisations together as possible so there is a co-ordinated response to high risk domestic violence cases.)