The Metropolitan police [Metropolitan Police Service/Scotland Yard] will no longer attend emergency calls related to mental health incidents, the force’s commissioner has said. In a letter seen by the Guardian, Sir Mark Rowley says he will order his officers not to attend thousands of calls they get every year to deal with mental health incidents. Rowley has given health and social care services a deadline of 31 August before the force starts its ban, which will only be waived if a threat to life is feared. The Met chief believes the move is necessary and urgent because officers are being diverted from their core role of fighting crime and patients who need medical experts are being failed when a police officer attends instead.
The plan could cause consternation among ambulance workers, paramedics and NHS staff who are already under pressure as a result of cuts and at a time when mental health services are already stretched. Rowley’s letter to the Met’s health and social care partners was sent on 24 May, giving them a 99-day deadline to plan for the change. Police and health chiefs have been talking about relieving the mental health burden on police under a new national scheme called "right care, right person" (RCRP). But the letter reveals that Britain’s most senior police officer has lost patience over the issue. He writes: “I have asked my team that the Met introduce RCRP this summer and withdraw from health related calls by no later than 31 August. “I appreciate this may be challenging, but for the reasons I have set out above, the status quo is untenable.”
Those reasons are set out in a section marked “impact on Londoners”, where Rowley writes: “It is important to stress the urgency of implementing RCRP in London. Every day that we permit the status quo to remain we are collectively failing patients and are not setting officers up to succeed. “In fact, we are failing Londoners twice. “We are failing them first by sending police officers, not medical professionals, to those in mental health crisis, and expecting them to do their best in circumstances where they are not the right people to be dealing with the patient. “We are failing Londoners a second time by taking large amounts of officer time away from preventing and solving crime, as well as dealing properly with victims, in order to fill gaps for others.”
https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/202 ... alth-callsThe Met is by far Britain’s largest force, accounting for nearly a quarter of all officers in England and Wales. The letter cites data from a national police study that says officers spend almost a million hours a year waiting in hospitals for mental health patients to be assessed, the equivalent of attending 500,000 domestic abuse incidents or 600,000 burglaries. Rowley claims in his letter that Met police officers spend 10,000 hours a month dealing with mental health issues, and that it takes up to 14 hours to hand a patient over to medical staff. In what amounts to a broadside against the health service, he also says there are scores of cases a month in which his officers are called when patients waiting for treatment walk out and are reported missing.
The Met has over 32,000 sworn officers policing greater London. US law enforcement has complained about the same problem, cops are not trained mental health workers. Wonder if chief LEOs here will make similar announcements.