My esteemed colleague Michael Brown OBE, recently posted this blog called missing the point as a response to the comments of Sir Thomas Winsor, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary, in relation to police managing mental health crises.
My blog Ever Decreasing Vicious Circles was posted very soon after the report was published and covers a lot of the same territory.
Both of us have attempted, in our own ways, to consider the issue of whether we actually want the police dealing with such incidents and how we have ended up in this position. Not just looking at the how we do it or the where we do it – but asking the more fundamental question of how it got to a position where the police are a first resort response to mental health issues? Read More…
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…
Earlier this week the Daily Mail ran an article which claimed that more than 100 police officers take a whole year off work due to mental health issues. It stated that 1500 officers were absent every day for the same reasons.
I refuse to provide a link because I despise the paper and everything it writes but, in fairness, apart from some unnecessary CAPITALISATION, the article itself did not pass judgement. It allowed commentary from the Federation but resisted the temptation to use evocative language like “excuses” and “sickies” as it has done in the past. Read More…
I joined the police when I was 19. I had no life experience and I wasn’t ready for it. I wasn’t prepared for the things I was about to see. I was a boy.
22 years later, when I look back on that time, it feels very much like viewing someone else’s life. That boy who was about as green as they come is now so hardened, so exposed to horror and trauma and so used to dealing with crisis that he has become a man who is pretty much unshockable.