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Warning for pressures on Lancashire police
22 April 2017, 01:25 | Terri Saunders
Police face drain due to NHS failures on mental health
Sir Thomas Winsor also warns against what he describes as the "insidious creep of expecting police forces to be able to deal with the increasing demand caused by a shortage in mental health provision".
The NSPCC said it was "impossible to forget" hundreds of children suffered at the hands of paedophile rings because of failings by Thames Valley Police.
Sir Thomas says police are "particularly far behind" in the way they use technology and share information.
"The provision of mental healthcare has reached such a state of severity that police are often being used to fill the gaps that other agencies can not. In a well ordered and compassionate society, we should not rely on law enforcement officers to support people who need medical care".
Police are facing "an unacceptable drain" on their crime-fighting resources because of the failure of the NHS to treat mental health patients properly, a government watchdog warned today.
The inadequacy of mental health provision and the lack of parity with physical health provision in this country should disturb everyone.
Sir Thomas has called for a service-wide mechanism to maximise effective use of...
"For too long, a culture of insularity, isolationism and protectionism has prevented chief officers from making the most effective use of the technology available to them".
Sir Thomas cited issues around handling people with mental health problems as one of the significant pressures placed on officers as well as online fraud.
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"Every day and every night, police officers do things that most of us would go out of our way to avoid", he said.
"The police are considered to be the service of last resort", said the chief inpsector, referring to mental health concerns.
"Significant progress has been made by the police and health partners in halving the use of police cells for those detained under the Mental Health Act in recent years, and the government intends to go further through banning the use of police stations for this goal for under 18s and restricting their use for vulnerable adults".
"However, the best response - both to crime and mental health - will never be better than preventing harm before it happens. Getting this right can be not just life changing but life saving". The people of Gwent should be proud of the Force's performance and for the good level of service it provides.
Policing Minister Brandon Lewis said: "The UK's model of policing is the envy of the world and our police officers do an wonderful job, day in, day out". People with mental health problems should get appropriate help and support as early as possible to prevent them becoming so unwell that they end up in crisis, which is when police are more likely to become involved.
"Here in Gwent there is a clear mandate to work effectively within Public Service Boards to improve service delivery across agencies".
Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw said sustained Government cuts had resulted in police being increasingly expected to "pick up the pieces" for other cash strapped services.
He added: " Significant progress has been made by the police and health partners in halving the use of police cells for those detained under the Mental Health Act in recent years, and the Government intends to go further through banning the use of police stations for this goal for under-18s and restricting their use for vulnerable adults".
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