The Metropolitan police has won its battle to stop attending most of the mental health calls it receives after a tense behind-the-scenes row with the health service, the Guardian has learned.
From 31 October the Met will start implementing a scheme that aims to stop officers being diverted from crime fighting to do work health staff are better trained for.
In May, the Guardian revealed that the Met commissioner, Sir Mark Rowley, had written to health and social care leaders setting a deadline of 31 August – leading to furious reaction from health chiefs who wrote to the commissioner protesting that it would put vulnerable people at risk.
The agreement means Rowley will push his deadline for the start of the changes back by two months, before a phased introduction. Health services will not publicly criticise the police decision, and will race to put measures in place to pick up the work.
The scheme is called Right Care Right Person (RCRP), and has been agreed nationally by government departments and national police and health bodies.
The letter sent on Thursday says: “In practice, this means that police call handlers will receive a new prompt relating to welfare checks or when a patient goes absent from health partner inpatient care. The prompt will ask call handlers to check that a police response is required or whether the person’s needs may be better met by a health or care professional.”
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Source: The Guardian, 17 August 2023