Just about three weeks into blogging and I’m well on the way to 5,000 hits. Earlier today, moved past 1,000 followers on twitter. So here’s what I take from the interest that’s been generated each of these social media: there is a decent level of interest in this area of policing and more work to do.
Frontline cops – I’ve got to mention these first, because this was my motivation for becoming interested in this area. I have already had both tweets and emails from PCs and Sergeants saying that they have used information from both sources in their jobs and achieved benefits for patients and efficiency for the service. For example, calling an ambulance to s136 MHA for example – we know this has saved one life in the last 12 months in my area alone. Ensuring that the police are accompanied by health professionals when attempting to recover an AWOL patient – we know that there have been contacts deaths where the police have done this unaccompanied. The custody sergeants seems to be tuning in frequently.
Social workers – and I’m going to specifically highlight @ermintrude2 and @444blackcat on twitter, but there are others, too. Professionals who are listening to and actively spreading the perspective of this police officer, embracing and encouraging a view on the Mental Health Act that is sometimes at odds with their own. That they are doing this when undoubtedly it challenges assumptions held by some social workers has to be commended. It gets and keeps the dialogue going.
Lawyers – who have been kind enough to comment and encourage, seeing as they do the challenges and difficulties into which agencies and service users and their families manage to get themselves. Probably wrong if I did not highlight @HumanRightsQC for his encouragement in tweeting and his feedback. But there are others too, who ‘RTd’ and have encouraged readership.
Doctors and Nurses – mostly psychiatric, but also including GPs and A&E professionals. People who have given a perspective, encouraged and given feedback about cultures on wards and the benefits / drawbacks of prosecution. Various opinions about mental health in general, in A&E as well as on psychiatric wards. Invaluable.
Service users – who have commented upon the blog and made known their positive experience when in the care and detention of the police, who tried to get them access to services. I’ve had positive tweets from MH professionals in my own force area, commenting upon the professional, empathetic attitude of frontline PCs during s136 detentions, etc..
Senior people – it is gratifying to see senior police officers who have followed, most of all @CCLeicsPolice who is the ACPO Lead on Mental Health & Disability. He has RTd the blog and sought to engage his wider followers on how he’s taking this agenda forward, at a national level. There are more – enough to run a few police forces – and I’d hope this reflects importance they attach to developing this area of our business, because senior support is vital.
Students – from all of the above professions, as well as some living with mental illness. Our future in more ways than one.
Organisations – MIND, Revolving Doors, Centre for Mental Health, Rethink, Royal College of Psychiatrists, INQUEST: all have followed and RTd tweets and the blog which is taking the debate wider and this is most welcome.
What is clear from sitting in the middle of this, tweeting and the blogging is that we’re not at all a million miles apart. Yes, I’ve had a few people offering a view that they don’t always agree with me – s135(1) warrants and the issue of prosecuting inpatient offences prompted some response. This is fine. I’m not actually trying to offer too many personal views, but merely to represent guidance, where it does it exists; and to highlight the problems we know we have had as a society.
I’d encourage you all who read this and who follow on twitter to come out of any organisational trench in which you sit and talk to each other. It’s fair to say, that in undertaking partnership working in this area of business, you will find yourself disagreeing with others. As long as you start with the humility that you don’t understand the other person’s job and you won’t always be right, you’ll probably learn more from each other by talking / debating than you ever will from reading this.