APCC Mental Health Leads respond to Mental Health Act White Paper
Today the Government launched its consultation White Paper on reforming the Mental Health Act.
APCC Mental Health lead Kent PCC Matthew Scott said:
“Police and Crime Commissioners have been very concerned at the need for rising numbers of police detentions under the Mental Health Act – acting to fill the gap in crisis care services. And as the lead for PCCs on this issue, I was pleased to lead for the review on the police elements of Sir Simon Wessely’s report.
“Vulnerable people need the right care from the right person at the right time; and police officers are not mental health professionals. Patients should be conveyed to places of safety by ambulance, not in the back of a police car. Perhaps more importantly, we need to see more investment in community-based mental health support services which prevent people from reaching a mental health crisis in the first place. This is the right thing to do for vulnerable people – and would free up police officers’ time to deal with PCCs’ priorities including crime and anti-social behaviour.”
Deputy portfolio lead Dorset PCC Martyn Underhill added:
“This White Paper has been long awaited and formalises several gaps in the legislation. It will transform the care that vulnerable service users receive, especially in the landscape of those with neuro-disabilities and those from our BAME communities.
“As someone who worked with the then Home Secretary in 2014 to examine removing police stations as a place of safety, I particularly welcome this amendment.”