Mental Health Crisis Calls Putting Heavy Demand on Dorset Police

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Over-stretched police officers are not always able to properly deal with the mental health problems. This means that vulnerable people may not be getting the help they need.

A report released by HMICFRS (Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services) titled: ‘Policing and mental health: Picking up the pieces,’ stated that people with mental health issues were being let down, which placed an intolerable burden on local police officers.

The report also celebrated the supportive way that police officers handled cases of people struggling with mental health, but highlighted the critical absence of resources in the mental health system. The cause of the problem is a lack of appropriate care for people, which leads to people’s reliance on local police to provide emergency cover.

Martyn Underhill, the Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner, said, “The report highlights how much mental health issues have become central to policing. Mental health problems will affect one in four of us during our lifetime and it is absolutely right that frontline officers who are the first on the scene when responding to people in crisis have an understanding of these issues.”

The police are reviewing the report and will be evaluating the recommendations, especially notes on seeking the views of people with mental health problems and introducing early intervention work to reduce the demand and also improve their service.