24 February 2023
Derbyshire Police Federation has welcomed plans to relieve the burden on officers of dealing with mental health cases and vulnerable people.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman has written to the Chief Constable and Police and Crime Commissioner to set out how £150 million of capital investment will be used to improve the mental health crisis care response.
The funding, which is for England and Wales, includes £7 million for specialised mental health ambulances, with the remainder for new or improved mental health crisis response infrastructure, including safe spaces.
Ms Braverman said: “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.
Tony Wetton, chair of Derbyshire Police Federation, commented: “In recent years the police have become the ‘emergency service of last resort’ and the people the public turn to if an ambulance or social workers are not available. Dealing with these mental health crises can be incredibly time and resource consuming and is preventing colleagues from dealing with core jobs, which should be deterring crime and catching criminals.
“So, I am pleased – relieved in fact – that the Government is putting resources in, and I welcome the recognition that officers’ time is better spent getting on with the job that they signed up to do, and which the public expects of us. The Federation will keep a watch on the situation to monitor whether it is meeting expectations.”
The Home Secretary’s letter has promised “swift access” for police to refer individuals into professional mental health care.
She added: “It is important that once the [multi agency] National Partnership Agreement is finalised and the Right Care, Right Person model is adopted, that a monitoring and evaluation framework is in place.”