Home Secretary promises mental health resources to ‘free up’ police time
South Wales Police Federation has welcomed Home Office investment for dedicated mental health resources to take pressure off the Force and allow officers time to focus on their core roles.
Chair Steve Treharne explained: “The Home Secretary has written to the Chief Constable and the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) to confirm there will be Government funding for specialised mental health ambulances, crisis response infrastructure, and safe spaces. This is very good news for policing, and long overdue.
“If someone is vulnerable and experiencing a mental health crisis then they should be seen by the appropriate service. All too often, it is police officers who are having to fill the gaps in health and social services. My colleagues do their best, but they are not mental health professionals or social workers, they are police officers.
“And, while police officers are picking up after services, which I understand have also had their own cutbacks, it means we’re not able to investigate and deter crime, catch criminals or provide the visible reassurance in communities that the public expects.”
The Government announced in January that it will provide £150 million of capital investment to improve the mental health crisis care response across England and Wales. It includes £7 million for specialised mental health ambulances.
The Government wants police officers to spend more time on the beat
Home Secretary Suella Braverman explained: “The Prime Minister recently set out that one of his crime priorities is to reduce burdens on the police from non-police activity. We want to see more police officers on the beat, investigating and preventing crime.
“Mental health demand pressures on many forces are taking officer time away from fighting crime. People in mental health crises need to be seen by healthcare professionals to get the appropriate assessment or treatment in the right environment.”
The College of Policing and National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) are working on a smarter working practice that is based on Humberside’s application of the Right Care, Right Person model, which they are on track to deliver by the end of March.
They are also working on a toolkit to assist forces.
The Home Secretary promised “swift access” for police to refer vulnerable individuals into professional mental health care, underpinned by a multi-agency agreement between policing and healthcare organisations.