Multi-agency working on mental health issues has become a “marginal activity” for London’s police officers because they are under pressure to deal with such a huge amount of cases, the Metropolitan Police’s top officer has claimed.
Met commissioner Sir Ian Blair told a conference last week that mental health issues were a factor in 1,300 emergency 999 calls a day – 13 per cent of the total the force receives.
“That’s a huge amount of activity that we are not equipped to deal with ourselves,” he said.
He told delegates that many police officers found themselves facing a “dilemma” about where to take people with mental health issues whom they had picked up for public disorder offences.
A review into policing and mental health, published last October by the Metropolitan Police Authority, recommended the creation of a pan-London alliance comprising social services, health and police representatives.
It also said every officer in the Met should receive comprehensive training on mental health issues.