Gloucestershire Police reduce mental health callouts 2023
Gloucestershire police will minimize mental health calls.
The force will join a nationwide program that limits mental health calls to life-threatening situations.
It adopted the Met Police’s scheme first.
Mental health organisations worry the new strategy may endanger the most vulnerable.
Chris Nelson, Gloucestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), claims mental health calls require “many thousands of hours” of officers’ time that could be “focussed on tackling serious and organised crime”.
The military stated the policy will be implemented without a timeline.
A former inspector of constabulary called the Met Police’s proposal to discontinue attending emergency mental health occurrences “potentially alarming”.
From September, Met police will only respond to mental health 999 calls with a “immediate threat to life”.
“Right Care, Right Person” is based on Humberside Constabulary’s 2020 program.
The force boasts the top arrest and criminal detection rates in the nation since the modifications.
The Met Police’s initiative will debut in September.
The plan exempts police from welfare checks, finding missing mental health patients, and transferring them to and from hospital unless there is a risk to life or significant injury.
Mr. Nelson said Gloucestershire police would likely exceed basic criteria and not “dramatically cut off” what they do currently.
He said that social care, mental health, and NHS partners will need to “do more” as a result.
“We often are the service of last resort when other services, due to cuts, have effectively pushed the tasks towards the police who have picked up the baton and run with it,” he said.
76% of Gloucestershire Constabulary calls were non-crime-related in 2019, including complaints of missing individuals, traffic accidents, and mental health issues.
The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) claimed English police forces are receiving more complicated calls regarding “significant mental health crises and vulnerabilities,” which “significantly impacts” resources.
However, national and local charities have voiced reservations about the new strategy, arguing that other agencies cannot replace the police.
Andy Goddard, head of Cheltenham Samaritans, said police should cooperate with other organisations to determine who will “fill the gap”.
“I worry that people won’t have people to support them,” he said.
“There are people out there with mental health issues and in crisis, and the last port of call for them is to call people like the police.”
Mr. Nelson said the force was collaborating with local health agencies before the scheme’s deployment.
South Western Ambulance Trust is “working closely” with police to help mental health patients.
Gloucestershire Integrated Care Board, which runs the NHS in the county, said it had a “long standing and strong collaborative relationship with Gloucestershire Police” and is working with the police on the program.
“Effective partnership working must forge some collective challenge, as well as support, if public service is to change,” the constabulary added.
“We will follow National Police Chiefs’ Council guidance and work with partners and regulators like the Integrated Care Board and Care Quality Commission to lead this change.”