POLICING in England and Wales remains the service of last resort from those suffering from a mental health crisis – with demand skyrocketing.
In the last four years Police Officers in England and Wales have dealt with 28% more mental health cases than ever before.
Alex Charge, Chairman of Hampshire Police Federation, said in response to the growing concern for the amount of time Officers have to deal with such cases: “If only it were as simple as saying no.
“More and more we do say ‘No’ organisationally. But when presented by someone on the street who is unwell and they’re a risk to themselves, Police Officers aren’t just going to walk away from that.
“They’re going to do their best in really challenging and trying circumstances.”
An Institute for Government Performance Tracker 2019 survey found the number of mental health incidents involving police officers rose from 385,206 in 2014 to 494,159 in 2018 and there was also an 13% increase in the number of individuals taken to a place of safety by officers under the Mental Health Act.
Alex added: “Yes, we should, as much as we can, say ‘No’. But that is really difficult when you’re faced with someone who’s in mental health crisis. Officers will naturally do their best and sometimes their best isn’t good for the patient.
“This isn’t good for the whole service and we end up in investigation. So, saying ‘No’ is the easy answer, but, sadly, life isn’t as simple as that.”