Bailiwick Law Enforcement says dealing with mental health issues is “a big part of policing in 2022”, with an estimated 30% of incidents having a direct link.
Acting Chief Inspector, Operations, Liam Johnson, welcomed the publishing of a fresh review into Guernsey’s mental health services, in which Guernsey Police made contributions.
Mr Johnson said whilst Police are not mental health specialists, that a “multi-agency response” is needed and is continually improving.
He recognised that the custody suite at the police station is sometimes used as a “place of safety”, even though it is “not an appropriate environment”.
“Mental health patients should not be treated as criminals, however just by way of police involvement they can sometimes be made to feel that way,” admitted Mr Johnson.
He also noted that police involvement in crises has increased in recent years due to extra demand on Specialist Mental Health Services and the Emergency Department.
A useful reminder to us all how much police resource is spent on dealing with mental health issues. Custody suites and police vans are not right or safe places in which those who need help should find themselves, so if the Review findings help minimise that, it will be positive. https://t.co/KOOEgkQleu— Gavin St Pier ???????? (@gavinstpier) October 4, 2022
Pictured: Deputy Gavin St Pier hopes the review will result in Police resources being used more effectively.
Mr Johnson continued: “Going forwards, we look forward to influencing change by being part of the new Mental Health Strategy Group.
“The report recommended the creation of this group to provide senior oversight to help develop solutions to problem areas that still exist. We are hopeful that in the long term, these solutions can decrease the need for police involvement to only helping prevent harm and supporting our colleagues in Health.
“That said, we are always thankful for the support we receive from partners across the community when it comes to police involvement with mental health patients, and we are keen to continue to expand the ways in which we work together as we move forwards.”
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