Meet social care’s top bloggers no.5: Mental Health Cop

Last month Inspector Michael Brown was presented with a Mind media award by Stephen Fry for his Mental Health Cop blog on mental health policing. Here he tells us a bit more about his blog and how his job interacts with social care.

Image: screengrabs from Mental Health Cop blog

What’s your name or pseudonym?


Where can we find you on the Twitter/blogosphere?

What three words would best describe your blog?

Recently award-winning.

What’s your role in social care? Hang on you’re a copper! Tell us a bit about your job and how it interacts with social workers?

I am a 24/7 response inspector, leading a team of officers who provide the intial response to 999 calls. As such, we detain people under the Mental Health Act (MHA), search for and re-detain AWOL patients and accompany social workers undertaking MHA assessments on private premises.

Outside of that main role, I do a lot of work on policing and mental health and this includes various interactions – real and virtual! – with social workers as we seek to understand each other … hopefully.

Why did you start blogging/tweeting?

Blogging was a way of getting out ideas and advice to police officers, both operational staff and those who put together multi-agency responses to common situations. I’ve been delighted to find it has a broader appeal. 

Twitter is a way of marketing the blog whilst engaging with other professionals and patients and so on and I started doing it all as a result of being seconded to the National Policing Improvement Agency (now the College of Policing) where we found forces asking for an internet resource on policing and mental health following the publication of national guidelines in 2010.

If you could recommend one of your blog posts to social workers what would it be?

“What we need the NHS to know” 

Can you recommend a social care blog?

Martin Webber’s blog

Favourite non-social care blog?

The Police Inspector blog

What’s the strangest thing you’ve seen in your job?

I nearly said, “The organisation of the NHS” because it’s utterly bizarre, but it would have to be health and/or social care professionals inciting police officers to break laws – I just don’t get it! 

In particular, requesting officers to entice people over their threshold to “allow” a section 136 detention. It’s illegal for officers to do it and it’s also illegal for others to incite it.

If there’s one thing you wish social workers understood a bit better about policing what would it be?

That police officers have no powers in private premises other than to arrest for criminal offences or for a breach of the peace. Failures or omissions on the part of senior health/social care managers to support frontline crisis or social work through proper commissioning or the establishment of proper pathways into care, do not necessarily create an obligation for the police to do what we all know is the wrong thing. 

There are some good legal reasons why police officers should resist certain requests or demand certain supports when undertaking them. This is not merely awkwardness.

What’s your most hated jargon in your job?

“Misper” for a missing person. It’s like fingernails on a blackboard for me and I don’t use it.

Who is your favourite fictional TV cop?

It has to be Inspector Morse – he thinks too much, drinks too much and is grumpy:  these things are connected.  And all to a wonderful soundtrack!

Best biscuit for a tea break?

I don’t drink tea, it’s awful stuff!  With my coffee, I’d have a non-chocolate hob-nob … or three. Chocolate spoils hob-nobs and they should legislate to keep the substances away from each other.

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