Mental health support has fallen to the 'poor old police', says former detective

Police

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

A former Metropolitan Police officer has claimed the "poor old police" are taking on mental health support roles in the wake of cuts to mental health services.

Chris Hobbs appeared on the Independent Republic of Mike Graham show to discuss new figures which revealed that five people with mental health problems called the Met Police 8,655 times in 2017, costing a total of £70,000 to answer.

Mr Hobbs said police were now dealing with an "explosion" of people in the midst of a "mental health crises", but that there was "nowhere to take them".

 

 

"It is the police who are having to talk people down from bridges, off of tall buildings, off of cliff tops, and they do a fantastic job in saving lives of these people who are in crisis. And then when they talk them down, very often there's nowhere to take them," he told Mike Graham.

"A&E departments often don't want them - there are no beds. These crisis intervention teams very often aren't available or are simply suffering themselves from overload, so it's the police that are stuck with the problem and of course it's very demanding, very stressful for the officers.

 

'Not mental-health professionals'

"They do get some training but they're not mental-health professionals."

The chancellor of the exchequer unveiled plans for a new NHS mental health crisis service in the Autumn budget this year, which is set to include mental health support in every major A&E department, more mental health ambulances, "safe havens" in communities and a 24-hour mental health crisis hotline.

 

However, Mr Hobbs said money isn't going "to work overnight".

"There needs to be more work done as to why it is that so many more people are in crisis. Someone needs to get hold of it, get a grip on it," he said.

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