Guest Blog from Chief Constable Simon Cole

I’m hoping to get far more guest bloggers in during 2013 and couldn’t be more pleased that ‘The Boss’ for the police on mental health & disability has undertaken the first of these.  There is loads of work going on at senior levels on policing and mental health, much of it unseen and as ACPO lead, Chief Constable Simon Cole is right in amongst it and I know he’s influencing current and future leaders of the service to think about the role of mental health in policing.

Can I start by thanking MentalHealthCop for letting me crash his blog?  I must also acknowledge that he has personally done much towards getting debate and work going that helps to ensure that people suffering from mental ill-health get an appropriate service, from the most appropriate service, putting their individual needs first.  Of course there is still a way to go.

In the early 1990s I was a response Sergeant working in Birmingham.  I attended a call to a young woman sat with her legs over the edge of the top floor of a multi-storey car park who appeared to be distressed and self harming.  With a female colleague (hello Erica) I got to the top floor and could see a very upset woman holding a shard of broken glass.  I was not happy, I am not good with heights and felt very exposed indeed.  Erica and I made it unseen to a concrete block within 10 feet of the woman and had a muttered conversation about what to do.  We adopted 2 plans; plan A, our preferred option, was to make ourselves visible and to talk her down, plan B was that if we felt that she was about to jump or slash herself then we had to try to grab her before she went over the edge.  With radios off we watched for a few seconds before the woman cut a huge looking gash in her wrist and shuffled nearer to the edge.  Plan B was quickly enacted and we managed to keep hold of the woman as she tried to slash herself, dangling over the edge with only the streets of Northfield below. We then spent several hours restraining the woman in a cubicle at A+E before she was assessed as not sectionable under the Mental Health Act.  She was released, to the best of my knowledge and recollection without any care plan, and within 24 hours had jumped from the same spot, sustaining serious injuries.

If we had failed in our efforts to catch her as she fell then what repercussions would there have been for Erica and I?  Our decision to adopt Plan B, made for all the right reasons about a complete stranger in a split second with barely a word, would have been scrutinised, and dissected with the benefit of hindsight.

Would things be different now?  The honest answer is that in some places I am not sure that they would be, in others then things would be different and the woman would not have been sat above the heads of onlookers contemplating her fate.

Much has happened in the intervening two decades.  Most significantly there has been a huge shift in many, but not all, places towards the use of health-based Places of Safety rather than police cells.  That can only be good.  Police cells are not generally high on lists of the best places to deal with coughs, colds, or broken limbs.  It seems to me to follow that they are not the right place to treat mental illness either.

So as we end one year and start 2013 there is a chance to think about what good service looks like.  I believe passionately that good service can only be delivered in partnership.  Really good service would stop the woman getting to a point where she is sat on the lip of the top storey of a car park in Birmingham.

What might good look like?

  • As the recent MIND report ‘Mental Health Crisis Care; Commissioning excellence’  highlights there must be access to support within communities prior to the point of crisis being reached.

That might be crisis care-plans (as the Coroner pointed out were missing in the case of Sean Rigg), that might be crisis houses, that might be identified alternative Places of Safety (such as a family or friends house) as the recently initiated ‘Divert before Detain’ work in Lincolnshire describes.

  • Strategic partnerships which feature evidence based joint commissioning that prioritises mental health services are key.  I recommend to all partners MentalHealthCop’s ‘The Senior Officers Checklist‘ as a good guide as to what should happen.
  • Police representation on Health and Wellbeing Boards, service user representation on boards and commissioning bodies, and ongoing monitoring of mental health issues through data are key.  For instance take a look at the fascinating data on mental health, including spend and for your specific area;
  • If detentions are made then, in line with the agreed national position, ambulances must be used to move people who are ill around. This has been achieved in the West Midlands, which begs the question as to why it is not the case everywhere else.
  • Health based Places of Safety must be  provided 24/7 that are adequately staffed so that officers can resume duties promptly, and so that patients can access immediate medical care.
  • Assessments must be carried out in a timely way by approved and accredited mental health professionals. The Royal College of Psychiatrists is working on guidance at present on what is a reasonable time.
  • Everyone involved, including police colleagues, must be trained and equipped to deal with those who are mentally ill. That includes knowledge of the agreed ‘rules of the game’ enshrined in the joint ACPO and Department of Health guidance ‘Responding to people with mental ill health or learning disabilities’
  • It also includes a willingness to look for appropriate and effective diversion; that might be by identifying an alternative Place of Safety (as the law allows ‘any other suitable place the occupier of which is willing to temporarily to receive the patient’; note the word used is ‘patient’ not ‘detainee’) or by working with health colleagues to find long-term solutions that help us all deal more effectively with the kind of persistent issues that persist.

2013 will see some important moments in the policing of mental health.  There is significant political interest at the highest levels of Government.

  • The Criminal Justice Joint Inspection will report on their assessment of the use of Section 136.
  • Lord Victor Adebowale’s Commission on mental health and policing in the Metropolitan Police will report in the Spring.
  • Health and Wellbeing Boards will come into being from April.
  • The National Health Strategic Commissioning Board will be created and can ensure mental health services are properly commissioned.

These will all help make a positive difference if, at a local and national level, partners work together with vigour and commitment to ensure that broken minds are treated with the same alacrity shown with broken limbs.

Simon Cole is Chief Constable of Leicestershire Police and the Association of Chief Police Officers lead on Mental Health and Disability.

The Mental Health Cop blog

Badgewon the ConnectedCOPS ‘Top Cop’ Award for leveraging social media in policing.
won the Digital Media Award from the UK’s leading mental health charity, Mind
– won a World of Mentalists #TWIMAward for the best in mental health blogs

ccawards2013 was highlighted by the Independent Commission on Policing & Mental Health
– was referenced in the UK Parliamentary debate on Policing & Mental Health
was commended by the Home Affairs Select Committee of the UK Parliament.

23 thoughts on “Guest Blog from Chief Constable Simon Cole

  1. This was a useful read – for me the key is partnerships,
    appropriate sign-posting and access to services in a timely way.
    This can be achieved when the key agencies in health, policing and
    others work together.

  2. I have gone from training to be a police officer as a mother of a seriously ill daughter age 25 to being involved in groups carers and patients groups – Speak Out Against Psychiatry being one of them, mainly ex patients who have suffered no end who came to my aid and assistance against the cruellest abuse going on under the current mental health care system. I have read this blog and I would urge anyone NOT to trust any statistics and I especially would not urge you to trust the Royal College of Psychiatry.

    If anything, police officers instead of going by statistics, should get down and meet the very people they wish to help and understand better – these are people that go to my group who are treated in the most apalling manner by society and the services and I myself should know all about this because of how I am being treated right now. The group Speak Out Against Psychiatry is not a militant group – this is a group of patients that have gone through the system and suffered no end from abuse and cruelty and the law does not protect them at all. The police cannot help as they are supposed to be under the care of qualified professionals. In my opinion they are under an extremely unjust system which I and others who have suffered are trying to change for the better.

    This Xmas has been like no other – the worst kind of punishment towards me for being outspoken against the apalling care my daughter has had. I have been refused to have my daughter for Xmas and the psychiatrist who has gone off for maternity leave has ordered I have acouple of hours or so escorted leave whilst he rest of the family have not had this imposed on them. The psychiatrist claims my daughter is too ill to stay over Xmas and this is nonsense so all my guests will verify. What is the sense of bringing someone down who is supposed to be so severely disturbed all the way from Wales for just a very short time and then back again. My daughter responded well to the surprise party I did for her and guests – close friends who have known her since a small child and they were horrified. Even one of the nurses looked a bit sad at having to say that they had to leave after a short time. It is not their fault, it is whoever imposed (the consultant psychiatrist and people at the top) these rules as I am quite sure my daughter would have been OK with me over Xmas and the rest of the family and we would have taken her and brought her back again without any problem. This is what is wrong with the current system – the professionals do not want to communicate with families and are dismissive and if one does not like you you have had it. They do not like you to complain and if you are persistent at complaining because you have not had a satisfactory response then they just gang up against you.

    At the Bethlem Royal Hospital I turned up one day to find my daughter’s face covered in bruises and I know full well that abuse goes on not only mentally but physically under the mental health system for people under a section. The problem is that none of the complaints bodies have any powers to intervene for individual cases and are wholly dismissive. The amount of times I have complained and gone through all the correct procedures only to get the response that the care has been satisfactory or else they just shut your case down and assume that negotiations are going well between you and the team. The fact is the minute you complain the team gang up and the psychiatrists use their powers against you.

    Xmas should be a family event and every year even when my daughter’s behaviour was very adverse she came home. My daughter, a victim of crime herself, has been in and out of hospital since 19 and things were taken out of my hands but the care in the hospitals have made her worse than ever and after 8 admissions she was transferred to the most horrific hospital of all that has its own blog done by former patient – National Psychosis Unit, Royal Bethlem Hospital. With close links to the Royal Institute of Psychiatry, this is a horrific place where they experiment to their hearts content on different drugs – the favourite being Clozapine – a last resort and extremely dangerous drug. This involves having blood tests monthly as it can affect the white blood cells and although the experts swear by this drug and say this is the best thing – the Bethlem get their funding from this drug and they have mixed with with Metformine for type II diabetes and say this is being used for weight loss even though it h as not been approved for this use. It is being given off label and I am not h appy about this. Dr Ann Blake Tracy says this is rubbish that it is being given for weight loss. Any weight gain is caused by blood sugar issues and they are giving it to her to conteract diabetes. So the care is primarily drugging patients up on harmful anti-psychotics that can put a patient into a dream like state where they act out their nightmares hence the shootings and terrible crimes going on that are not correctly publicised in the newspapers. I have seen the effects on these drugs on my daughter who was on a high level of them and this led to a condition called Akathisia. Please read the book of Dr Ann Blake Tracy – Prozac Panacea Pandora – this is backed by evidence of court cases and I am not being employed by her to promote her book and neither am I a scientologist. I am a mother who has seen at first hand the effects of these awful drugs on my daughter and then have researched them thoroughly and this has put me in touch with experts who are speaking out against these drugs like Prof Healy, like Dr William Walsh and what about Peter Bennett over here from the Forensic Unit – a retired Police Superintendant and I had him involved at one point. Every bit of evidence I produced to the team has been dismissed. Now because I am insisting on the involvement of Dr William Walsh (Walsh Institute) the team have virtually banned all contact. They have treated me like a criminal and have put me on supervised phone calls at a time I cannot ring as I travel home from work. They have given escorted leave only yet the rest of the family are not being treated in the same way. My daughter is being discouraged form contact with me, the social services at Enfield have tried to replace me and take me to court as Nearest Relative, the team refused to give my solicitors the file. What does this tell you about the shocking care on offer! If this is how I am being treated and they will not give me a reason then you can imagine how the patients are treated. They are treated like they are invisible, they are discarded by society, they are misunderstood and the press does not help. The press are often too cowardly to report the truth and the fact that it is the drugs behind the behaviour of someone classed as being mentally ill. The drugs do not affect everyone in the same way but m y daughter is classed as being treatment resistant so why carry on wasting public money by giving the drugs constantly when people like Dr Ann Blake Tracy, Dr William Walsh can offer the kind of care not available in this country as yet but groups like Soteria, Chy Sawel and Root and Branch particularly want to set up alternative care. I am all in favour because for some people the care is not working and the acute wards are not safe. In fact I begged that my daughter was taken to the police station rather than an acute ward as there has been so many terrible incidents which I got to find out about in the files. Now they have banned me from seeing any further files and even tried to stop my solicitors. They dismissed my daughter’s solicitors and tried to encourage a Welsh firm and she was most confused about this and asked me why did she have letters from Welsh firms of solciitors. They drugs someone up to such a high degree, they manipulate, brainwash, turn that person against their own family an try to sever the ties – that is if they do not like you. If you are outspoken like I have been this is the treatment you get and that is why more mothers are afraid to do what I am doing. I am not afraid to speak up against what I see as abuse. I do not want to control my daughter’s life but wish for her to have the right kind of care. In h er own words she said “I will call the police on them – you are still my Mum” “I pray I will see you at Xmas” “it is not true that I want supervised calls” “you are overturning the apple cart” “I want to come home, Mum – why did you put me in hospital” “you know what it is like in these places Mum”. Yes, I know only too well and that is what the police do not know and the public – many of these wards are places where they push the drugs and the Maudsley, Bethlem Royal Hospital is a place where they experiment and use patients as human guinea pigs. It is no wonder that patients act adversely if the police look at the statistics instead of getting down to the carers groups and listening to groups like Speak Out Against Psychiatry. Who is going to be listened to – if a patient h as a broken arm for instance then the staff turn around and say they have had to restrain that person. Who listens to the patients – who cares, who believes. If top level police officers were to come and meet some of the patients who are trying to be heard, trying to bring awareness as to what is going on. Yes, they hold demonstrations but not in a militant way. They held one at the Bethlem for me but within a day my daughter got transferred all the way to Wales where from the word Go I have been excluded without reason and justification simply because I am speaking the truth. Because of what I was going through it was to my regret that I had to give up the intensive police training and I wish that I could go back to it at some stage but really wanted a role that involved dealing with mentally ill because of my experience and this is both from a carers point of view and patients as I have seen both of my daughters ill – one as a child and I also have knowledge of how awful the care in the community is. This is where the police could work with the group Speak Out Against Psychiatry. They wish to reach out to patients in the community, to patients on the wards that have n o visitors or quite often family. Many of these patients do not have faith in either the police or social services/NHS professionals because they have not been treated fairly. My daughter did not react well to the police and some were good in their approach and some lacked complete misunderstanding because to understand how someone feels to be ignored and discarded and labelled – the labelling is pure guesswork as there is scientific proof or tests to really see what causes mental illness but I can vouch for the fact that it is caused by trauma. For instance a rape victim or bullying victim. The drugs are the wrong answer but once on them you cannot come off them that easily and there is nowhere to go in this country for it to be done safely so when someone is put on these terrible mind altering LSD like drugs they are told they have to be on them for the rest of their lives and this is utter rubbish. However to take someone off the drugs is risky because they do not know how to do it properly. For instance to take someone off 150 mg of Seroquel and even mix it with another drug Olanzapine can cause psychosis – this is drug induced psychosis – NOTHING TO DO WITH A DIAGNOSIS. Do not forget my daughter h as several diagnoses and Professor Murray promised a drug free period. The reason I am so outraged is that this drug free period promised by the Maudsley has not been given and then a section was imposed. So they forced that section upon my daughter so they could give her Clozapine and I would be most happy to highlight all the research papers but if you look on National Survivors Blogspot featured in my website (Posterous) site you will see the full abuse going on in the name of profit as Professor David Healy correctly documents in his fabulous book Pharmageddon. I brought all these books to show the team at the Bethlem and what did they do – they threatened countless times to have me arrested. They labelled me as being aggressive as being nasty and they can write what they like about you behind your back. They can stop you from visiting. In fact the patients like me to visit and were interested in the oils I brought, the supplements and the books and CDs from Dr Ann Blake Tracy of the International Drug Awareness Coalition. I also brought a book by Dr Candace Pert who is one of the creators of the prozac like drugs highlighted in my leaflet. She cannot believe what monster she created and that says it all. Instead of reading false statistics you should read these books to see what truth is going on and come down and listen to the patients and involve them in reaching out to people who are mentally ill as quite often my daughter responded better to someone who understood – like a peer who had been through the system – who better to include in trying to liaise between police and a person in distress who has a proper understand. However I have to say that some of the police were very good towards my daughter and some were sympathetic towards me and they know only too well that the patients are taken and dumped on these wards only to returnin sometimes again and again and this shows the current care system is now working and a new approach needs to be taken such as the open dialogue approach but more than that – schemes like Root and Branch Project. You should come and meet the patients and see that they are very nice people. Many have gone back to work, many are trying to do something to change the current system and are not being listened to. That is the main problem “why wont they listen, Mum”. They sit there smugly smiling and think they are above the law and many cases of abuse go on behind closed doors and staff keep quiet because otherwise their jobs are at stake. Some members of staff shouted at my daughter, had name badge back to front so I could not see who they were yet they labelled me as aggressive and nasty. They have not responded effectively to my complaint at the Bethlem and the complaints procedures and bodies involved have no powers and it is only when someone like Jimmy Saville is involved in abuse that things get in the papers and just look how many years that took to come to the public’s attention because there is so much cover up and it involves powerful people at the top as I am not saying that all the nursing staff are bad but they have to go along with the orders of their superiors.

    1. Reply to Susan Bevis

      You wrote ‘and the law does not protect them at all. The police cannot help as they are supposed to be under the care of qualified professionals. In my opinion they are under an extremely unjust system which I and others who have suffered are trying to change for the better.

      I am horrified by what I read above and wonder what help is available to you. Do such places have no external visiting? I am not a police officer but am I believe that anybody has exemption from being answerable for their wrongful actions. I am sure the words. ‘ The police cannot help’ can not be true but I recognise that it may not be that easy to obtain their attention. I have experience of this.

      May I suggest that you make a specific report or complaint a police officer can I would say must deal with? If it helps I will quote an example. A person complained to me about their child being bullied in school and that teachers did nothing about it. My advice was to report it to the police as harassment. It so happened that the desk sergeant had a child at the same school who was also being bullied but he did not know of the protection from harassment ACT.

      The Act defines harassment in section 1(1) as a “course of conduct” amounting to harassment and provides by section 7(3) that a course of conduct must involve conduct on at least two occasions. (Originally these occasions needed to involve the same person, but in 2005 the Act was amended by the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act so that “pursuing a course of conduct” could mean approaching two people just once.[1]) If these requirements are satisfied, the claimant may pursue a civil remedy for damages for anxiety: section 3(2). The use of civil law means that the standards of evidence are substantially lower than for criminal law, for example permitting hearsay.[1] The requirement of a course of conduct shows that Parliament was conscious that it might not be in the public interest to allow the law to be set in motion for one boorish incident.
      Under this Act the definition of harassment is behaviour which causes alarm or distress. The Act provides for a jail sentence of up to six months or a fine. There are also a variety of civil remedies that can be used including awarding of damages, and restraining orders backed by the power of arrest.

      The problem was solved. The ACT is very simple and may be applicable in this case. If it is I suggest a report from you and a visit from a police officer could serve the purpose. We have recently seen that care workers are not perfect. I suggest it may do no harm to remind them there are laws that do protect. That is why they were passed. Qualified professionals are not beyond the law – apart it seems from Chief Constables who I have been advised by the Home Secretary Nobody has the authority to ‘Interfere with on operational matters’ Which I am hoping to change her mind on.

      Good luck with the Bethlem. Don’t waste your time with complaints procedures which cannot possibly be unbiased. Harassment is a criminal offence which on a conviction attracts a fine of up to scale 5 and / or 6 months imprisonment. The very least the police must do In my view is investigate your complaint(s) I believe that should have a salutary effect on those who believe they have the right to abuse others because they are very important or are professionally qualified.

  3. All rather at odds with his position at Hampshire where as
    DCC condoned the use of ” mental health issues” of a complainant as
    an excuse to avoid addressing the truth, and accountability of
    officers breaches of conduct and unprofessional behaviour

      1. Thankyou mentalhealthcop, attempts to address the issues involved with then DCC Hampshire, Simon Cole, were ignored or sidestepped even when made by MP Andrew Turner . As an individual of no particular status any approach by me would be (and has been ) fielded by a staff officer politely repeating an official liturgy of indifference and personal regret. That mental health labelling continues to be used as a convenient cop out for accountability avoidance by police management can only harm public trust and confidence . The hard won reputation achieved with simple common sense and humanity by everyday plod inevitably suffers as a result . Thankyou again for allowing me to express my views in the first post-I was a little surprised not to be moderated out but will understand should you choose that option on this occasion .It is more a response to your reply anyway

      2. You are welcome – I only moderate views which are illegal, highly offensive or which contain information which could identify people who are entitled not to be identified. You can say what you want here withint those boundaries, which I submit are fair.

      3. In response to the additional comment from Leonard Measures. Although not much comfort; he is not being singled out due to lack of status. Police Officers have also previously raised matters with Andrew Turner MP who met personally with the previous Chief Constable Paul Kernaghan to discuss those matters and more recently a letter was sent to the present Chief Constable Alex Marshall from another MP.

        Both MPs were fobbed off and from experience we find that they have little or no influence when dealing with Chief Constables.

        Mr Cole took over from DCC Readhead in Hampshire Constabulary and Mr Readhead now also works for ACPO.

        During DCC Readhead’s service in Hampshire Constabulary; the Harassment Contact Officer’s Scheme was disbanded and welfare officers were replaced with a telephone helpline to PPP AXA Healthcare.

        We look forward to Mr Cole pushing forward any necessary changes and engaging with any person or support group seeking to improve the mental health of police officers and police staff.

      4. Julian , I do not feel singled out at all, this is standard and long established practice, I should perhaps have mentioned similar responses to Andrew Turner MP from Alex Marshall, Hampshire CC ,Nick Herbert MP as – until quite recently- Minister for Justice (who is rather more forthright in his published views surrounding “plebgate” regarding Ministerial intervention and police operational independence) Two public deputations to the Police Authority with a highly qualified response from them on the first occasion and a disingenuous, or at least inaccurate, letter from DCC Hampshire, Andy Marsh that I took as an attempt at damage limitation . To be fair though his appointment was extremely recent then- so perhaps understandable .A second deputation at the final police authority meeting (personnel and professional standards) brought no response as they ceased existence a few days-?- later. Take it up with the newly appointed PCC is the suggestion . Comment from the office of Andy Marsh on this occasion -take it up with the PCC . The sound of avoidance is palpable. So CC Simon Cole is just one more link in a well oiled and established chain , just not rocking the boat then, or now, likely as not. Mental health as the 2010 NPIA publication states will in some way affect us all one way or another . Mental health does not mean invalid nor should it automatically mean case closed…good luck with your own pursuits on these matters ———police officers ,police staff, and the rest of us?

      5. May I point out that ‘Taking matters up with him’ as written is much easier said than done? As illustrated by the account of my experience in attempting to do that in 2006 as recorded below. Beginning at; :

        From my personal experience of Hampshire Constabulary (HC) attempting to assist the victim of criminal actions against him by a PC and Sergeant of the Hampshire force ignorant of relevant law aiding and abetting the illegal eviction from his home at about 12 pm. on 6 August 2006. While doing that I became aware of the case of a former DS of HC who is another victim.

        The struggle continues but now I find I am up against the newly appointed Police and Crime Commissioner (P&CC) of Hampshire Simon Hayes who has taken it upon himself to refuse to meet me to discuss matters I have drawn to his attention because I believe he already is under the control of the very body he was appointed to replace. The corrupt Hampshire Police Authority which has metamorphosed into a Police and Crime Panel (P&CP) which has I believe some of the same people in it as those who applied for the Chief Constable to be absolved from any responsibility for actions of police officers under his command and control which to my disgust was granted..

        How may I ask is the public expected to have any confidence or trust in such a plainly corrupt police administration?

        In breeding within Hampshire Constabulary resulting in what is claimed to be the personal selection of a new Chief Constable by a P&CC who does not even have the courage to meet me to hear my complaints, of a former DCC who headed the PSD which to my knowledge has existed as a body to cover up rather than uncover police malpractice does not fill me with any confidence. How was the public consulted on that appointment may I ask? Could it be that the P&CP which is made up from former members of the corrupt and discredited now defunct Hampshire Police Authority are the decision makers?.

        I do not use the word ‘Corrupt’ lightly. What other word can be used to describe a Police Authority that applied to the IPCC for Chief Constable Paul Kernaghan who not only did not react to a written report of a criminal eviction of an innocent man from his home on 3 August 2006 aided and abetted by two police officers I delivered to his headquarters on 4 August for him to be absolved from all and any responsibility for the criminal conduct of officers under his command and control which a corrupt IPCC approved the rejected my appeal?

        How can we be confident that the new appointee is not besmirched by the past activities of the department that he has been the head of as DCC? Personally speaking I firmly believe that Hampshire is desperately in need of a fresh beginning rather than more of the same.

    1. Unfortunately I had the same problem with Hampshire Police regarding my son who was experiencing a massive panic/anxiety attack in his flat. 28 Police were called, they refused to let me in, and they tasored him. It wasn’t funny and the IPCC said there “were no lessons to be learned” following my complaint. I had dealt with these attacks on a regular basis with no problem but they would not listen that night. He now has a conviction for Affray when in actual fact it was they who caused it. My request to Hampshire police is to LISTEN TO THE CARER as it is they who know the individual well, also to the medical professionals…..JUST learn to listen and involve the carer.

      1. Firstly, if you could control the situation why were police called? Secondly, at the majority of conflict incidents I go to a police office I have somebody stood over my shoulder telling me everything’s okay and I should just leave, I never do and would be criticised for doing so. Whilst I don’t know the circumstances of your particular incident I would recommend you read the post on this blog about ‘tasers’ and ‘least worst option’

      2. Again we must talk. Hampshire obviously problems. As for the IPCC when all of their nine Senior Investigators worked for the Police what can you say!

      3. As I understand it the lady did not call the police. There were 28 there when she arrived and they refused to let her in to take control of caring for her son unless I have misunderstood? Why 28 police? That is almost two rugby teams or more than two league sides is it not? Why tasors when there were so many police officers?

    2. I am pleased that mental health cop is allowing views to be expressed on his blog which is an indication of openness and transparency and will ultimately increase the confidence of both police officers and members of the public.

      I believe that everyone should have a second chance and hope that Mr Cole has gained an insight into how important mental health is and that we should practice what we preach.

      Hampshire Constabulary has an apalling record of how it treats it own police officers and staff with regards to mental health.

      Mr Cole has passed the buck in relation to such matters as an ACC in Hampshire Constabulary (For Mr Cole’s benefit this refers to a report dated 13 June 2006 and a subsequent operation named “Companionway”).

      The Independent Police Support Group was formed in 2004 as a direct result of the treatment of 2 police federation representaives by Hampshire Constabulary who either attempted or contemplated suicide as a result of their treatment for supporting officers and challenging behaviour at senior levels which caused whistleblowers to become lll.

      Whilst ACPO and Mind have prepared a useful publication in dealing with mental health; we will be approaching Mr Cole and other interested parties with a view to changing how police forces deal with their own staff to reduce the number of police suicides.

      We thank mental health cop for his continued passion for this subject.

      1. If I may I wish to add weight to this comment below taken from Julian King’s posting above.

        ‘Hampshire Constabulary has an apalling record of how it treats it own police officers and staff with regards to mental health’

        From my personal experience of Hampshire Constabulary (HC) in attempting to assist the victim of criminal actions against him by a PC and Sergeant of the Hampshire force ignorant of relevant law aiding and abetting the illegal eviction from his home at about 12 pm. on 6 August 2006. While doing that I became aware of the case of a former DS of HC who is the victim of savage abuse of power against him by its Chief Constable (CC) and other Senior officers which is still the subject of ongoing legal proceedings. In my view there was a deliberately reckless damaging disregard for the mental welfare of the victims by all concerned. In the case of the the illegal eviction victim he too has been damaged both mentally and financially. It is the weapon of choice by CC s intent on covering up police incompetence by failing to deal with crimes reported to them but not investigated or prosecuted. It is called ‘Local resolution when the correct term is or should be ‘Cover up’ or Whitewash’

        An extract from my relevant message which is connected, is below but I have redacted sensitive material.

        I wrote:

        I think the illegal eviction of (deliberate deletion) from his home with the active support of a Constable and Police Sergeant which Paul Kernaghan Chief Constable (CC) deliberately failed to deal with, thus perverting the course of justice which was not an operational matter but the deliberate commissioning of crime to protect and defend those guilty of the offences on the orders of a CC who had perversely arranged for HPA to apply to the IPCC for him to be exonerated from all responsibility from the illegal actions of Police Officers under his command and control. The names of the Chairman and members of the HPA at that time is most relevant – I believe the newly appointed PCC Simon Hayes who has evaded questions I put to him on the subject was a member, possibly its Chaiirman.

        My experience with the CPS was that it colluded with HC declaring the crimes committed by fraudsters and known criminals aided and abetted by police officers that I personally reported in a letter to the chief constable who the HPA (i believe with Simon Hayes as chairman?) applied to the IPCC for the CC Paul Kernaghan QPM to be absolved from any responsibility for the conduct of the officers under his command who aided and abetted the illegal eviction of an innocent man from his home after it was broken into and entered with the assistance of a locksmith on 3 August 2006 at about 11 am.

        Those crimes have not been investigated save in an attempt to have the complaint withdrawn by what HC call ‘local resolution’ therefore the Chief Constable Paul Kernaghan QPM remains accused by me of dereliction of his duty as a constable in failing to act on crimes I reported to him in writing as a member of the public and therefore is accused by me of perversion of the course of justice which the new PCC has a duty to arrange for the proper investigation of preferably by another force because the Hampshire force is implicated as he himself may also be if he was indeed the chairman of the HPA which applied for PK to be exonerated from any responsibility for the conduct of officers under his command. That is a question that needs to be answered.

        I intended to make this information public as best I can by making a Freedom of Information request to the PCC with a copy to the press. The attempt failed because the PCC does not have a FOI facility which raises questions in my mind. I do not know what the best way of doing that is.but am determined that corrupt and perverse administration of justice by all concerned shall be tackled and challenged. In my experience the Hampshire Professional Standards Department is manned and controlled by those who are implicated by the maladministration of the prevention detection investigating and prosecution of crime making it unfit for its purpose and dangerous for the public who are entitled to expect that HC as guided by the PCC correctly records reports of crimes made to it showing that they are not dealt with superficially as being ‘civil matters’ but diligently investigated and dealt with vigorously.

        As a member of the public I have no confidence in policing and am distressed to see and hear reports of police officers suffering from mental stress as a result of past and current abuses of power by their superior officers with vested interests in protecting themselves from being held responsible for their own inadequacies and failings. The concept that NOBODY HAS THE AUTHORITY TO INTERFERE IN OPERATIONAL DECISIONS OF CHIEF CONSTABLE AS AS DECLARED TO ME BY THE HOME OFFICE AND THERESA MAY THE MINISTER IS PERVERSE AND DANGEROUS. The Commission and covering up of crimes cannot possibly be AN OPERATIONAL MATTER. CRIME IS CRIME NO MATTER WHO IS ENGAGED IN IT. THE POLICE HAVE NO IMMUNITY. .

    3. Leonard, I had a similar experience with Hampshire Police. We must talk. my blog why is embryonic is my highlighted webpage. It is time this force was held accountable for it’s behaviour through the law and media.

      1. Phil, Firstly if your experiences are similar to my own then let me congratulate you on not commenting from the confines of a secure psychiatric unit or custody suite. Personally I do not believe the Police will ever be allowed to be properly held to account for wrongdoing unless you have very deep legal pockets, huge media interest or the status of a VIP -or a matter of such little import ,no harm would ensue . It is not in the public interest .On these matters generally I will contact you separately. My initial response to the blog by Simon Cole came about having nearly choked with indignation at the notion of his concerns for mental health policing as national lead for same when as DCC chose to condone PSD investigations portraying a complainant as delusional rather than address evidences of the complaint itself . Then conducting a review of the process( after contact made by MP Andrew Turner) finding nothing wrong, declined to meet with AT, three cited witnesses (two county councillors- one a JP ,one parish councillor) or myself. And so the avoidance continues, not just Simon Cole but the whole rotten process , My experiences with Hampshire police range across the board from the criminal to commendable. So far as those regarding ” mental health issues” I am happy to report from the perspective of somebody previously suffering (if thats the right word) from hepatic encephalopathy prior to liver transplant -January 2008 During periods of cyclical confusions I was in contact with local police on two or three occasions -,that I remember -and I can say they were nothing short of absolutely bloody excellent. Not being able to regain entry to my house after dismantling the faulty and very noisy alarm with an axe decided to walk ten or twelve miles to the home of my. wife (separated but still best friend) managed several miles ,stopped to rest at the roadside opening my eyes after a few minutes -?- to see blue lights flashing and several officers approaching across the grass .I was asked what I was doing and who I was but couldn’t remember my name or where I lived – I was not distressed about this at all and these people were calm polite and not threatening in any way. a female officer asked if I was on any medication- which I remembered , and my consultants name in Southampton . Within a very short space of time my family were contacted ,my home checked and I was taken to A&E . Two or three officers remained around the corner from me where I was able to overhear them talking to each other .They were obviously amused by the situation but were plainly affected in a very human and sympathetic way. Before leaving with my wife and son these officers shook hands, expressed good wishes for my recovery and said they would inform the other shifts of my condition should something similar occur. On another occasion one of several- having regained consciousness to find myself in a hospital bed ( from who knows where ) immediately removed myself from the place to walk home . Not far from the hospital two young police officers stopped and tried persuading me to return but to no avail. They insisted on taking me home and when I could not gain entry refused to leave until friends arrived . Again these officers behaviour was a credit to themselves and to the force they represent. On the first remembered contact I recall phoning Newport Station to thank officers for their actions . Writing would have been preferable perhaps but by then just remembering how to use the phone was a bonus. I will always be grateful for the kindness and humanity displayed to me by the “everyday plod” during my illness , simple human stuff that should be recognised . Using mental health issues retrospectively to excuse the appalling behaviour and neglect of duty by one officer and then compounding it through a corrupt PSD complaints investigation is not only cowardly but abusive ,not to mention the waste of partner agency resources ie., social services, mental health teams , GP ,consultants, psychiatrist etc . It also belittles a reputation hard won by the rank and file, and destroys public trust- as if you can afford to do that .

  4. As a police officer working on the street, I have dealt with mental health patients under s.136 and have dealt with hospital staff as well.
    Looking at the post by CC Cole and then having read the post by Susan BEVIS, I tried to take a step back and try and look at this issue from a non-biased point of view.

    To tell you the truth, I have forced (in every sense of the word) myself to read and re-read the CC`s post and then realised that all he is saying is the normal corporate dribble spewed out by the top brass in a way to justify their existence.
    The CC outlines an incident he dealt with and is similiar to an incident my colleagues dealt with the difference being that the male patient was trying to jump off a motorway bridge.
    I ask the CC, given his experience in the 90`s, what has changed in the last 2 decades then? Can he really say that things have improved?
    Has ANYTHING changed on the ground???

    I`d like to know if ANYONE that has dealings with mental health patients on the street, in their homes and on the ward, after reading both posts which one they believe is closer to what is actually happening?

    To Susan all I can say is good luck in your fight for truly it is a just one.

  5. Mike I set up a training programme for operational officers in 2005 with my friend Stuart Jones who is a Mental Health Services Manager with Hywel Dad NHS Trust, this programme and Stuart has had several awards through the NHS for this work. I have a long standing interest in training officers and staff on mental ill health during my days as an operational officer and trainer, I now work as an Evaluator with Dyfed Powys Police.

    Our programme in Dyfed Powys centred on placements for officers, I am undertaking my M. A (Ed.) and just started, I’m looking at doing my dissertation on training for police personnel on mental ill health.

    I follow you on Twitter and now linked into your blog, it would be good to link up and your views on such would be invaluable for me.

    Your work is exceptional and inspires many.


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