Today’s Home Office stories include an HMICFRS report saying police are increasingly dealing with people with mental health problems and a call for officers tackling moped criminals to be protected.
Police increasingly dealing with mental health issues, report finds
There is widespread coverage of a report that claims police are increasingly being forced to deal with people with mental health problems who would ordinarily be attended to by healthcare professionals.
The Times, Telegraph, Independent, Mail, Sun and Guardian all report on the HM Inspectorates of Constabulary and Fire Rescue Services report.
It found that police are having step in to “pick up the pieces” during a “national crisis” in mental health.
One of the inspectors, Zoe Billingham, told the Today programme that police are going above the call of duty to provide care for mental health patients in the absence of NHS care.
Figures from 22 of 44 forces in England and Wales show that 318,000 cases between 2016 and 2018 were related to mental health.
The report called for “the system to be fixed because there is only so much police can do”.
A Government spokesperson said:
The NHS has worked closely with policing partners to reduce the use of police custody as a place of safety by 95% since 2011/12.
We are investing £2 billion in mental health services, including mental health liaison in A&E departments, and community crisis services, and NHS England will be shortly setting out its proposals to improve all mental health services in the Long Term Plan.
Police officers do an excellent job protecting those facing mental health problems in often difficult and distressing circumstances and it is right that this report acknowledges police leadership in this area to be strong.
Police Federation calls for protection for officers who take on moped criminals
The Times and Telegraph both report on a police call to protect officers who are involved in moped ‘shunting’ incidents.
Ken Marsh, head of the Metropolitan Police Federation said officers are risking their livelihoods and must be protected.
The papers reported that of 63 incidents, three have drawn complaints, including one moped rider who suffered a broken leg.
Warning that police are opening themselves up to civil and criminal cases, Mr Marsh warned: “I have seen nothing yet about how our colleagues will be protected if the worst happens.”
A Home Office spokesperson said:
Police officers must have the confidence to pursue suspects where it is safe to do so and criminals should be in no doubt that they will not get away with a crime by simply driving recklessly.
Our proposed changes will make sure that skilled police drivers who follow their rigorous training are protected, while ensuring the minority of officers who do cross the line are robustly held to account.