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Metropolitan Police to stop answering mental health 999 calls

The force says the system fails patients and Londoners and wastes thousands of police hours each month.

In September, the Metropolitan Police will no longer respond to 999 calls related to mental health incidents.

Sir Mark Rowley has advised health and social care services that cops will only respond to life-threatening situations.

It allows cops to focus on crime and victims rather than medical emergencies.

“Where there is an immediate threat to human life, officers will continue to respond,” stated the Metropolitan Police to The Guardian.

Metropolitan police to stop answering mental health 999 calls
Metropolitan police to stop answering mental health 999 calls
Police officers should not have health obligations.

Health services must take precedence in caring for the mentally ill, allowing officers to focus on their core duties of preventing and detecting crime, keeping communities safe, and assisting victims.

However, Mind, a mental health charity, expressed concern over the change, with Mind’s chief Sarah Hughes told, “I am not convinced we have enough in the system to tolerate a shift to this new approach.” We have a long way to go before the system collaborates for severely troubled people.

“We are unable to determine whether it is the police or someone else. It is frequently a query with a multitude of answers. We are not prepared, nor are we in a condition suitable for implementing this policy.

The Metropolitan Police said officers spend an average of ten hours with sectioned patients.

In London alone, between 500 and 600 times per month, officers are waiting this long to hand over patients, and this cannot continue,” reads a statement.

“Police officers are compassionate and highly skilled, but they are not trained to deliver mental health care.”

Right Care, Right Person (RCRP) was launched in 2020 in Humberside, where Mind volunteers handle police control room calls.

According to a November report by His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, Fire and Rescue Services. It saved 1,100 police hours per month and provided “more timely care from the most appropriate care provider”

We have failed our inmates.

National implementation of RCRP is intended, but the Met commissioner is believed to have lost patience.

In a letter to health and social care services, seen by The Guardian, he writes: “I have requested that the Metropolitan Police Department implement RCRP this summer and withdraw from health-related inquiries by no later than August 31.

“It is essential to emphasize the urgency of RCRP implementation in London.

“Every day we allow the status quo to continue, we collectively fail patients and do not prepare officers for success.”

He continued: “We have twice failed Londoners.

“We are failing them first by sending police officers, rather than medical professionals, to those experiencing a mental health crisis and expecting them to do their best in circumstances where they are not the appropriate individuals to be interacting with the patient.

“We are failing Londoners a second time by diverting officer time away from preventing and solving crime, as well as dealing with victims appropriately, to fill gaps for others.

The extent to which we collectively fail Londoners and place an inappropriate burden on law enforcement is glaring.

On April 28-29, the Met received a record number of 999 contacts, but only 30% were “criminal in nature.”

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