Today a report was published by Lord Adebowale, the Chief Executive of Turning Point, into the handling of mental ill health incidents by the Metropolitan Police. The Commission he headed was set up by the Commissioner, Sir Bernard HOGAN-HOWE, to examine how they could better police incidents connected to mental illness. In particular, it was set up following the inquest into the death of Sean RIGG which concluded last year that the actions of Metropolitan Police officers “more than minimally contributed” to his death.
The Commission took a wide range of evidence from many people and the only police officer on the board of it was Chief Constable Simon COLE, the ACPO Lead on Mental Health and Disability. Controversy was suggested early on when organisations like Inquest and Black Mental Health UK were not asked to provide a panel member, but I hope those organisations feel they had ample chance to put their view across around deaths in custody and black and minority ethnic mental health issues. Obviously, the cross-over is where previous tragedies have occured involving the police, although not just in the Metropolitan Police area.
I was honoured to be asked to speak to the Commission: one of the members being Paul FARMER, the Chief Executive of Mind, he recommended by work to Lord ADEBOWALE after receiving last year’s Mind Digital Media Award. I spent two very enjoyable hours talking to them about the whole nature and variety of mental health demand and was asked tough questions about canteen culture in the police, racism and leadership and mental health issues. As well as being able to explain some of my views about restraint indicating potential medical emergency and my “twenty percent theory” – I was interested they had concluded a similar number – I hope what I had to say was of some help to them.
Read the report for yourself – it is fascinating in many regards and it is tough: when I have fully digested it and have the time to quote and summarise it, I will write a response.
REACTIONS TO THE REPORT
- Metropolitan Police – press release from the Commissioner, Sir Bernard HOGAN-HOWE
- Mind – press release from our major mental health charity.
- Centre for Mental Health – press release.
NB: this picture is the mental image that sits in my head of policing the Olympics in London in 2012 as I was posted to duties at the ExCeL and the O2 arenas. A brilliant, world class city in which millions of people suffer from mental ill health.
Winner of the Mind Digital Media Award.