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‘Not Sustainable’ For Police To Deal With Mental Health Incidents

22 June 2023

“It is not sustainable for police officers to do the work of the NHS”, the Chair of Surrey Police Federation has said, following reports that the Metropolitan Police is to stop attending mental health calls.

The Met Police Commissioner has told health and social care services that his officers will no longer attend 999 calls linked to mental health incidents from September, unless there is a threat to life. The Met also said that its officers will not respond to ‘low-risk’ missing person reports, allowing more appropriate agencies to deal with them.

Elsewhere in the country, Humberside Police has recently implemented the approach of ‘Right Care, Right Person’, and has had significant success, considerably reducing the demand on police officers and freeing them up to tackle crime.

Surrey Police Federation Chair Darren Pemble (pictured) said Humberside Police had taken the right approach and that Surrey was following suit.

He said: “Surrey Police is adopting the ‘Right Care, Right Person’ approach, as it is not sustainable for police officers to do the work of the NHS. This has risks for those struggling with their mental health, as well as the inherent risk to the police officers who are dealing with these incidents.

He added: “Officers should not have to spend hours in a hospital A&E or a police station waiting on mental health services to attend and assess.

“We need to focus on our responsibility to prevent and detect crime, work within our communities and support victims.”