In a report released today by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS), Humberside Police has been recognised for our ‘best practise’ when dealing with mental health problems.
We have a vital service that we provide in our Force Control Room (FCR) as we have a dedicated and specialised team of mental health professionals from charity MIND who we can refer people to who may be in crisis.
We can assess if someone needs help immediately at the point that a 999 or 101 call comes in.
We also work closely with local authorities, charities and other support agencies that we can refer people to if needed
Superintendent Tracy Bradley from the Force Control Room said: Within Humberside Police we know that the number of mental health incidents has increased. Between April 2017 and March 2018 we had an average of 824 incidents per month.
Calls related from anything from suicide or people wanting to self-harm. HMICFRS have identified that we have a quite unique way of dealing with that demand on us.
We have got mental health workers from MIND working alongside our contact officers. What that has allowed us to do is speak directly with someone who is in crisis and that helps us to identify the nature of the help they require and the right agency to respond to that.
Is it a cry for help? Is it a genuine suicidal intention? Is it just frustration?
Because we can do that assessment, we’re able to prioritise and are able to get to those that need us the most and signpost them to other agencies that might be more relevant.
That frees up our officers to be able to get to other jobs and incidents where other members of the public might need our help.
Clearly we do have mental health services across the whole Humberside area so it is an option to speak with those services who are experts in their fields.
However when we get calls for service it is appropriate that we can assess it, and provide the right response in conjunction with partnership agencies. Humberside Police’s priority is to protect vulnerable people and I think that is what we do day in and day out.
John Thirkettle, Humberside Police’s Force Mental Health Operations Manager, said:
HMIC has formally identified that mental health forms a significant part of modern day policing and whilst we have always known that in Humberside, official recognition will support our efforts to ensure other agencies play their full part in helping members of the public who need help.
The report also recognises that we have a good understanding of demand and can identify when and where that demand comes from.
This is important as it ensures we can adjust our training and expertise to respond to members of the public in the most appropriate way each time.
That response has been greatly assisted with the support we get from the charity MIND working alongside our call takers in the force control room, now for seven evenings a week.
Our collaboration with MIND has allowed us to ensure the public receive the best possible support during their phone call to us, at the earliest opportunity.
The expertise of the MIND staff really helps us by speaking to the caller and understanding very quickly the nature of the help they require and to ensure the right service responds, which quite often is not the police but another agency.
We are here 24/7 and we will continue to work closely with all our partners to ensure we do all we can to keep the public safe.