Parliament Street Mental Health Research on Sky News

Last Thursday, Parliament Street released our latest research on mental health and police.
The report was subsequently covered twice on Sky News with both Kent Police and Crime Commissioner, Matt Scott and Parliament Street Mental Health Spokesman, Danny Bowman being interviewed on Sky News.

These figures suggest that police forces in United Kingdom are struggling to cope with the number of mental health incidents. Data obtained through freedom of information (FOI) requests by the think tank showed that in the United Kingdom alone, there have been almost 295,000 police incidents where mental health has been a factor in 2017. On average police forces in the United Kingdom are dealing with 24,526 mental health incidents a month.

Eleven of the nineteen police forces that responded last year, have seen a substantial rise in the number of mental health incidents, with the highest change coming from Hampshire constabulary who have experienced a 73.5% rise from 9000 incidents to almost 37000 in 2017. Durham constabulary have seen 61.9% rise from 2016 with the other nine forces experiencing a 20% rise.

Danny Bowman, the Mental Health Spokesperson at Parliament Street who conducted the research said: ‘These figures suggest the United Kingdom’s mental health crisis is adding overwhelming pressure on our police forces. The police do a fantastic job in supporting our most vulnerable, but the level of police time is being disproportionately taken up by mental health incidents. These figures only add to the growing amount of evidence that action is needed now in mental health. The government’s mental health green paper released in December 2017 showed some positive steps in schools, but they failed to realise the importance of the NHS’s now crumbling mental health services and the adverse effects that is having on other services and people’s lives.

Matthew Scott, the National Lead for Mental Health and Custody for Police and Crime Commissioners, said: ‘These figures again highlight the ongoing problems that policing in the UK is experiencing with the demand being placed on it as a result of cases involving mental health. It accounts for at least a third of all police time now nationally. Police Officers do have a role to play in protecting vulnerable people and those in crisis, but too often, people are coming to the police in lieu of other agencies. Health commissioners need to use the extra money the NHS has been consistently given since 2010 to provide help so that people who need help with their mental health get the right support from the right person at the right time.’

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