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'There has to be a line': Crime correspondent asks why it’s the police’s job to respond to mental health emergencies
29 May 2023, 12:48 | Updated: 29 May 2023, 12:51
Crime correspondent on police decision not to respond to mental health
Crime correspondent Vikram Dodd explains the police’s decision to stop responding to mental health callouts exclaiming: “If somebody breaks their leg in the street they get an ambulance, not a police car, why is it different for mental health.”
Paul Brand heard from crime correspondent Vikram Dodd after the Met Police are set to stop attending emergency calls linked to mental health in a bid to 'focus on crime'.
Mr. Dodd began: “So this statutory scheme is called, you do your job, we’ll do our job."
He explained that the move originated in Humberside where an estimated 7% of police time was saved by enacting the policy "which is a pretty decent chunk of time.”
He continued: “We all know that mental health in terms of the health service is a cinderella service which austerity certainly didn’t help - you’ve got a shortage of services and an increase in mental health demand.”
“But,” he said, “if somebody breaks their leg in the street or at home they get an ambulance, not a police car, why should it be different for mental health.”
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The crime correspondent continued: “There are two ways to think about this; one is in terms of the police, you know we get shouted at and fingers pointed when we don’t turn up to things and that's because a reasonable chunk of our time is taken up doing other people’s work.
“But the second way is thinking who is best placed to care for people with what is, after all, an illness and why would you have a police officer whose job is to put people in the criminal justice system answer to their calls?”
Paul concluded: “There has to be a line where the police say we are actually not a mental health emergency service.”