London Police to Stop Responding to Mental Health Calls

    London Police to Stop Responding to Mental Health Calls
    Photo: Wikimedia Commons

    The Facts

    • Starting this upcoming September, London's Metropolitan Police (Met) will stop responding to emergency calls related to mental health incidents unless there is an "immediate threat to life."

    • Met commissioner Sir Mark Rowley said the decision was made due to police officers, who reportedly have collectively spent 10K hours per month dealing with mental health calls, are not the "right people" to deal with such a situation, claiming they are "failing" those in need by not sending "medical professionals."

    The Spin

    Narrative A

    Reports show that the police, as they have been increasingly called upon to assist those in need concerning mental health, have done well. However, the police cannot be the fix for a broken system. If people are to get the help they really deserve, there needs to be a radical longer-term solution involving other public services. It's not fair to law enforcement to be the last resort for these types of calls.

    Narrative B

    The move by the Met is alarming and raises questions surrounding what the policy change will mean for vulnerable individuals. In reality, it will be practically difficult to enforce a sweeping ban on providing mental healthcare, and whether an officer will act on someone’s distress will likely be based upon day-to-day subjectivity.

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