Met police to stop responding to emergency mental health calls: Report
The Met chief claims the change is vital and urgent because officers are being sidetracked from their primary mission.
The Guardian reported that Metropolitan Police will no longer respond to emergency calls involving mental health issues, citing the force's commissioner.
Sir Mark Rowley said in a letter that he will direct his officers not to respond to the thousands of calls for mental health help that they get each year.
In further detail, Rowley has given health and social care providers until August 31 to implement the order, which will only be lifted if a threat to life is suspected.
The Met chief argued that the change is vital and urgent because officers are being sidetracked from their primary mission of combating crime, and patients who require medical professionals are being let down when a police officer attends instead, as per the report.
However, the new decision may generate concern among ambulance personnel, paramedics, and NHS employees who are already under strain due to budget cuts and at a time when mental health services are already stretched.
Rowley's letter to the Met's health and social care partners was delivered on May 24, allowing them 99 days to prepare for the policy change.
Police and health officials have been discussing ways to reduce the mental health load on officers through a new national program called right care, right person (RCRP).
However, the letter suggests that Britain's top cop has had enough of the situation.
"I have asked my team that the Met introduce RCRP this summer and withdraw from health-related calls by no later than 31 August, I appreciate this may be challenging, but for the reasons I have set out above, the status quo is untenable,” he wrote.
“We are failing Londoners a second time by taking large amounts of officer time away from preventing and solving crime, as well as dealing properly with victims, in order to fill gaps for others,” he claimed.
This comes amid widespread worry about the Met, the largest force in the United Kingdom, as hundreds of staff have been accused of sex crimes and abuse.