Police and Crime Commissioner responded to the HMICFRS report published today.
“I am delighted and not surprised that HMICFRS has chosen to focus on the issues for policing and the emergency services that arise when dealing with those who are impacted by mental health issues. All of us need the vulnerable to be supported by the right expertise to protect people and to enable effective treatment. Too often in recent years this task has defaulted to policing, and the evidence shows that those best placed to protect and support people in crisis are not appropriately resourced to respond in a timely way.
“As Police and Crime Commissioner, I am clear that we must support vulnerable people.
“Locally I am working with partners to seek to ensure support is in in place; I have only recently provided essential funding in collaboration with NHS commissioners to further improve access to mental health crisis support from trained mental health professionals rather than frontline officers. In the past five years, this partnership has decreased mental health deployments by Hampshire Constabulary by 45%, which is against the rising national trend.
“While the police would never turn away from someone in crisis, it is not sustainable, desirable nor appropriate for police to continue to fill the gaps left by other public services.
“This is a national issue of resourcing and accessibility to the right support. And without improvement, it adversely effects the ability of policing to meet its core task – work that can only be done by policing: Investigating and detecting crime, pursuing offenders and bringing them to justice.
“Whoever has to take on the task needs funding – and we will get best value from public funding if the correct expertise is early engaged.”