Global Positioning System dump mental health cases on us, complain police

Cannabis plants found during a police raid in Doncaster

HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue today called for a "radical rethink" of how to respond to the national mental health crisis and the role the police should play. She said: "There are many ... instances where police officers, two at a time, are sitting with patients in A&E awaiting assessment or beds.' The report found that half of mental health patients are transported to a place of safety by police, not the ambulance service".

She continued: "The police should be the last resort, not the first port of call".

"We also focus on continued training for our officers, staff and call handlers resulting in them being able to identify people who may have mental health issues and ensure we are offering appropriate support".

A report released today clearly shows the overwhelming demand placed on police services by dealing with people who have mental health issues.

Responding to the findings, Geoff Heyes, Head of Health Policy and Influencing at Mind, said:"We welcome this report, particularly the acknowledgement that many people seeking mental health care have to turn to the police to access it because mental health services are so stretched. Miss Billingham said other services 'need to stop relying on the 24/7 availability of the police".

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"This is a familiar story which I have highlighted before and one which resonates strongly here in West Yorkshire and is why I am calling on Government to recognise the ideal storm they are creating through sustained underfunding in recent years".

Police forces across the country are receiving thousands of calls a year from people struggling with their mental health.

In 2015, a mental health triage team was introduced in Wiltshire Police control rooms.

"It is one of my priorities to ensure that officers and staff assisting those in mental health crisis are trained and well supported". Miss Billingham concluded: 'Too often the police are left picking up the pieces of a broken mental health system.

Police involvement could include responding to emergency contacts from concerned relatives or friends, making welfare checks at the request of social services or Global Positioning System, supporting victims of crime who have mental health problems, attending incidents where someone is suicidal or searching for missing people. This is not a problem that the police alone can solve. HM Inspector of Constabulary Zoe Billingham warned yesterday that the knock-on effect was that forces were able to attend and investigate fewer crimes.

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