Police Federation

Enhanced training for hospital security would be beneficial as part of mental health callout plans to ease pressure on frontline officers

National Chair Steve Hartshorn speaks to TalkTV about Right Care Right Person policy.

1 August 2023


The Government has reportedly said the Right Care Right Person policy could save millions of police hours yearly, while senior officers say forces have lost their way by dealing with less severe mental health problems.

For many years it has been questioned whether the police are always the right emergency service to call for managing and de-escalating mental health emergencies.

Across England and Wales the police service are attending 80 per cent of so-purported health and social care incidents.

The Right Care Right Person policy is expected to reduce callouts by 20-30 per cent in the next two years.

Under the plans, the Government is giving an extra billion pounds a year, including £150 million for facilities to replace the role police officers take on in these situations.

Police Federation of England and Wales National Chair Steve Hartshorn spoke with TalkTV last week on the new policy implemented by the Government and backed by key policing bodies to discuss what it would mean for our members.

“It's certainly very welcome because of the huge pressures and stresses my colleagues face in their roles, without having to attend hospital either to deal with someone suffering a mental health crisis you’re not trained to manage or using finite resources to help assist other emergency services taking them away from their core responsibilities,” he told Peter Cardwell and Alexandra Philips.

"We need to be able to ensure the right people are in place to give that individual or group of people the specific help they need.

"If it saves us time so we can get back to dealing with crime, that's got to be a step in the right direction.”

Steve touched on how policing has changed over the last three decades, highlighting the additional responsibilities put on police officers today, with crimes increasing in complexity due to strides in technology and demand rising due to a growing population whilst police officer numbers remain similar to those in 2010.

"My colleagues in Humberside started a conceptual piece of work looking at training and approaches which has proven to be beneficial to the people that need the help, but also if you look at the staff in hospitals, the emergency services too,” he continued.

"We need to look at the security teams, perhaps they need proper de-escalation training for example, or safe restraint training.

“So, we might not need to be called in the first place to people who have already been admitted and are being treated, which enables the staff already in place to work more effectively with less resource.

“There's lots to be done. I generally want it to work, but I also want the public to be reassured that we will still attend and deal with emergencies and crime-related calls.” he concluded.

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