ENGLAND AND WALES: Police to Get New Guidance for Responding to People with Mental Health Issues

October 14, 2016

News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News

Belfast Telegraph

Police forces in England and Wales will be provided with new official guidelines for handling issues related to mental illness, suicide, and bereavement in the line of duty. The new authorized professional practice, or national police guidance, was produced by the College of Policing in an effort to establish a standardized protocol for responding to individuals with mental health issues, and to ensure that policing practices are consistent across locations. Updated from a 2010 version, the guidelines state that, in addition to dealing with criminal activity and protecting public safety, officers are responsible for connecting individuals in crisis with mental health and social service agencies without detention. “Mental health affects every area of policing and our aim is to ensure vulnerable people are not unnecessarily criminalized and instead get access to the crisis care they need,” said Michael Brown, the College’s mental health lead. “The new guidance and training is designed to assist officers in identifying vulnerable victims and suspects so they can get the right support.”

Spark Extra! Learn more about suicide prevention in law enforcement.