Reporting to the Met Police Board earlier this month, Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley confirmed that his officers attended 6,000 less deployments to mental health calls, almost half compared with the same period last year. This comes after the Met introduced a new approach called Right Care, Right Person for those in a mental health crisis.
He said that this equated to 34,000 hours of police officer time saved, as under this approach they will not attend medical calls where a healthcare professional is more appropriate.
Launching the scheme on 1 November, the Met said that Right Care, Right Person is aimed at making sure the right agency deals with health related calls, instead of the police being the default first responder as is currently the case in most areas. Drawing on the experience of Humberside Police, the Met added that It has been shown to improve outcomes, reduce demand on all services, and make sure the right care is being delivered by the right person.
Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist is in charge of its implementation in London. He said at the launch, “I want to reassure Londoners that the Met will always attend incidents where there is a threat to life, and also where crime is being committed or a risk of a breach of the peace. People should continue to seek support when they need it and Right Care, Right Person will support you to get the right service.”
Sir Mark said at the Policing Board meeting that the scheme was not based ‘on the back of a fag packet’ and they had learned from Humberside Police who originally developed the approach that has since had the backing of the Home Secretary and encouraged forces across the country to adopt it.
“This is not pulling back by police because it’s work we don’t want to do because of capacity; we are the wrong people to deal with mental health crisis.”Sir Mark Rowley, Met Police Commissioner.
He told members of the Board that people suffering from mental health crisis should be dealt with by specialist resources, not by ‘enthusiastic amateurs’ as he described his officers. “Right Care, Right Person is profoundly better for people in crisis.”
He added that the Met had, in the first four weeks, added ‘quick fixes’ and resolved ‘rubbing points’ as part of a ‘carefully managed implementation.’ A joint oversight board chaired by AC Twist and comprising other health partners in London is in place. It will be reviewing the implementation and reporting on progress in due course.