90 days from today is Sat, 16 March 2019
4 December 2018
Policing needs to ‘refocus’ on fighting crime and should not have to deal with mental health cases, Greater Manchester Police Federation has said.
A new report from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue (HMICFRS) suggests the level at which police officers are involved with mental health is placing an ‘intolerable’ burden on police resources.
Data collected showed that many organisations - which have the proper skills and expertise to deal with mental health - rely on the police to take on their responsibilities at the end of the day because it is a 24/7 organisation.
Calls to police regarding mental health-related incidents peak between 3pm and 6pm Monday to Friday, towards the end of the working day, the report found.
Greater Manchester Police Federation Chairman Stu Berry says officers should be dealing with criminals instead.
“I’ve been a police officer for sixteen years and witnessed the police service paying the price for cuts in other areas of the public sector,” he said.
“We cannot continue “sticking it on the bill” hoping that we can keep the wheel on for society – the police service needs to refocus on fighting crime with the very limited resources at our disposal.
“That is what the public quite rightly expects from us. We spend a disproportionate amount of time dealing with individuals with mental health problems and these complex issues take a significant toll on police resources as we struggle to meet the demands of the increasing and the ever-changing face of crime.”
Cuts across the public sector are partly to blame for police having to pick up the pieces on mental health he said.
“Significant cuts or the lack of funding to our partner agencies including the NHS, care institutions and social services have significantly reduced their capability to assist us.
“Greater Manchester Police Federation members do not have the experience, training or expertise to deal with these types of incidents.
“These specific issues require a long-term plan and specialist assistance. However, when things do go wrong, the investigative bodies such as the IOPC will only ever investigate the police,” he added.
“Unfortunately, blame lands on the just and the unjust alike. The Government is failing to address the mental health crisis in this country and our society will continue to suffer without urgent action.”