Fedster + 1,307 Posted September 25, 2018 Share Posted September 25, 2018 'It's simple really, it just needs sorting out'. Zo� Billingham speaking today at the Mental Health and Policing Conference Date - 25th September 2018 By - Sophie Garrod, Mental Health and Policing Conference, Cardiff 1 Comment Forces have been asked why they allow frontline officers out on the streets without basic mental health training. HM Inspector of Constabulary, Zoë Billingham, today leaked findings ahead of the publication of its report into mental health. Officers were found to have a “good understanding” of what mental health is, said Ms Billingham, however there needs to be mandatory face-to-face training where they sit down, talk and learn from people who have gone through mental health crises. She continued: “What police officer would be allowed out on the streets without basic understanding of the law of the land - so why do we allow police officers out on the street without even the most rudimentary, basic understanding of communications when dealing with people with mental ill health? “It’s simple really, it just needs sorting out.” The HMI pointed out afterwards she understands there are only so many days available for officers to train, however, she said it should be made a priority. Ms Billingham also hit out at the College of Policing, taking a dig at its definition of mental health, which she “hates” as well as its online training packages. Mentally ill people should not be referred to as suspects, as stated in the College’s guidelines, as it “immediately puts an officer’s mindset into criminal investigation mode,” she added, while stating she was “wound up” by its NCALT packages being used as a “tick in the box, done and dusted” approach. Ms Billingham did say she was “absolutely delighted” by the care, empathy and commitment demonstrated by the police during recent inspections. “There is no doubting the commitment we saw, so my delight is probably surpassing any delight I have ever experienced as an HMI. It has been extraordinary”, she added. Four out of five cases involving mentally ill people were allocated to the right person – in comparison to other cases where officers are “ill-equipped”– and in more than 90 per cent of cases, mental health victims received a “stratospherically good” service from the police in comparison to other areas, she added. But there is a whole system failure which public servants are in danger of being complicit in in terms of “papering over the cracks”, she told delegates, and has been left shocked by the system which is continuously letting mentally ill people down. “If we as HMIs continue to berate forces for not having enough officers available to sit for 24 hours with a suicidal teenager, then I am failing in my job if that’s what I do," she added. “It’s a problem for all of us. I think we need to stop pretending that we can cope and we need to stop pretending that it’s alright.” View On Police Oracle Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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