We are currently experiencing network problems with the desktop version of Police Oracle. We hope to have these resolved as soon as possible.

Frontline raise alarm over mental health call-outs

Frontline officers have raised fresh concerns over call-outs to mental health incidents.

Response teams have again warned they are being called to too many incidents involving mental health issues.

Officers in forces across England said they were dealing with too many situations that needed specialist training and they were being diverted from tackling crime.

The comments came after a weekend that saw an increase in call-outs.

Devon and Cornwall officers covering Bodmin shared on social media: “Really busy weekend so far with incidents ranging from suicidal female located on a bridge, arrests for drug drive and threatening a person with a bladed article. Numerous mental health crisis calls.”

Metropolitan Police Superintendent Dan Ivey said last night’s shifts covering South and West London had been focused on non-policing calls.

He said: “I’d estimate at least 75-80% of officer time spent was helping people and other agencies with suicidal, despondent and mental ill health, almost all of which hasn’t any bearing on actual crime.”

Richard Cooke, Chair of West Midlands police Federation, revealed a Police Constable had been left with a broken leg after being attacked by someone who had been detained under the Mental Health Act.  

He said: “West Midlands Police Federation are supporting, but these just goes to show the dangers we face daily and being used to deal with mental health with limited training.”

The scale of the problem has now been acknowledged at the top of policing.

Earlier this year, Andy Cooke, HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary told MPs that up to 40% of officers’ time is taken up on mental health calls.

One force, which already has mental health nurses working with response officers, has had enough.

Bedfordshire has announced plans to start billing a mental health partnership for call-outs attended by officers which take them away from tackling offenders.

Festus Akinbusoye, the Police and Crime Commissioner, said his force is now inundated with mental health work – totalling 53,000 police hours last year.

He said: "Police officers are now providing the service that local authorities and mental health should be providing, at no cost, and my taxpayers, who are paying the police precept, that is not what they want the police doing and so someone has got to pay for it."

Leave a Comment
View Comments 12
In Other News
Oscar Kilo launch ‘Suicide postvention toolkit’ for force leaders
Cheshire Fed chair calls for more support for vicarious trauma
Errors made during MISPER inquiry ‘did not contribute’ to victim’s death
National strategy needed to end mental health police ambulances
Vital work of Response Officers is under-valued chiefs admit
More News