Police are 'picking up the pieces' when it comes to mental health
National report published today suggests that the mental health system is broken and the police are being left to pick up the pieces.
The report by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) recognised that people with mental health problems were being let down and an 'intolerable burden' being placed on police officers and staff.
In 2015, a mental health triage team was introduced in Wiltshire Police control room to support officers responding to incidents relating to mental health and ensure that those involved were given the best support.
Angus Macpherson, Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire and Swindon said: "Those with mental health problems need specialist support and care.
"Around 20% of Wiltshire Police demand now comes from incidents relating to mental health, and whilst we have a specialist team in our control room, made up of medical professionals, to support staff and officers on the ground this is not the role of the police and nor can the police give the right care to those in crisis.
"I'm pleased that Wiltshire has been recognised as 'good' for the way it supports those with mental health problems, and the progress that's been made locally ensuring that custody has not been used as a place of safety since September 2017.
"It is one of my priorities to ensure that officers and staff to assisting those in mental health crisis are trained and well supported. But put simply, the police cannot plug the gap in mental health support for those most vulnerable in our society.
"Our officers respond to those with mental health problems with care and compassion but we cannot expect the police service to solve this complex problem alone."
Assistant Chief Constable Craig Holden, Chief Officer Lead for Crime, Justice and Vulnerability, said: "As the inspectorate has acknowledged , we have performed consistently well in recent years with regards to effectiveness in this area and continue to make good progress.
"We have put vulnerable people at the heart of our policing approach in Wiltshire and Swindon and this is outlined within our Vulnerability Strategy.
"The outcomes of this report are a product of the hard-work put in every day by our dedicated, caring and professional officers and staff. They are doing all they can to respond appropriately to those with mental health challenges with care and compassion, as well as finding them the expert support they require.
"We will continue to work with partner agencies to support the most vulnerable in society and make sure we provide the best service possible".