We respond to news that Metropolitan Police will stop attending most mental health incidents
29 May 2023
The Metropolitan Police has announced it will stop attending most emergency mental health incidents.
Brian Dow, Deputy Chief Executive of Rethink Mental Illness, said:
“We recognise that police forces are not best suited to caring for people in mental health crisis and should not be spending inordinate amounts of time doing so due to a lack of provision in the health system. But it is not appropriate that the Metropolitan Police has simply imposed an artificial deadline and threatened to walk away, with the risk that people in crisis are left in limbo between two struggling public services. Individuals in mental health crisis need urgent access to the right kind of treatment and support to help them through the emergency, and on occasion this will involve the police when they pose a risk to themselves or others, but it’s clear that the relationship between police forces and mental health services must be balanced. The solution lies in the police, mental health services, the voluntary sector and the government getting around the table and figuring out the answer, with the government addressing the very significant funding gap that exists. This case further demonstrates the urgency with which reforms to the Mental Health Act must be passed through parliament, because many of the solutions to this problem lie in the changes that have been proposed.”