I think I’m becoming a bit report weary, especially now I have to make sure I’ve read every one of them cover to cover and several, like the new one this week from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, are hundreds of pages long. Two hundred and twelve pages long, to be precise.
I’ve printed off this latest report and have put it on top of —
- The All Party Parliamentary Group on Mental Health report of Parity of Esteem, (2015).
- The Equality and Human Rights Commission’s report on preventing deaths in custody, (2015).
- The Home Affairs Select Committee Report on Policing and Mental Health, (2015).
- The HM Government Review on the Operation of Sections 135/6 of the Mental Health Act 1983, (2014).
- The Care Quality Commission Report: A Safer Place To Be, (2014).
- Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary’s Report: Core Business, (2014).
- The Bradley Review: Five Years On, (2014).
- The Crisis Care Concordat, (2014).
- The joint HMIC / CQC / HIW / HMIP Report: A Criminal Use of Police Cells, (2013).
- The Independent Commission on Policing and Mental Health (known as the Adebowale Report), (2013).
- The Bradley Report, (2009)
- The Independent Police Complaints Commission report: Police Custody as A Place of Safety, (2008)
- Home Office Circular 66/1990
I could go on with other reports and yet more reports. Then there is this list of statutory guidelines, many parts of which are routinely disregarded. Only yesterday I heard a person from the Department of Health lamenting that no-one really knows about the new Code of Practice to the Mental Health Act that is coming in to play in two weeks’ time!
- Code of Practice 2015
- Code of Practice 2008
- Code of Practice 1999 – no link found
- Code of Practice 1993 – no link found
- Code of Practice 1990 – no link found
So rather than provide you with a running commentary on this new report, I’d refer you to the excellent summary coverage of it by @NathanConstable who blogged before I got the chance and said exactly what I think about it – rather than bore you in a similar way, I’d just encourage you to read his post and see it against the background set out above. I’d just ask whether anything else needs to be happen before we accept that there is a serious human cost to our ongoing inability to get this right, a serious lack of strategic vision about what we’re trying to do and no remaining excuses for the interia because we can’t look grieving families and vulnerable adults in the eye and claim to be getting this right.
Perhaps if we had children being detained in custody for days because a £100bn a year organisation can’t sort a quite, ligature proof room somewhere for them to wait safely until we get a plan in place we would realise we have to do something – but hang on, we’ve already had that, haven’t we? Perhaps if we had hundreds of unnatural deaths a year across our coercive systems we the police and mental health services often interface in a range of complex ways, we’d have to do something – but wait: we’ve already had that, haven’t we? Perhaps if we had vulnerable adults detained in cells whilst extremely psychotic, covered in their own faeces, smearing bodily fluids all over the walls after drinking from the toilet and banging their heads repeatedly off concrete walls for protracted periods of time – but wait: we’ve already had that, haven’t we?!
I can think of just a few more shocking things that could happen but I’m just too appalled at the idea that we’d need to see ourselves reflected so badly and that it took such events to make us see that before the end of this century my grandchildren’s generation are going to look at us and wonder how on earth these things weren’t viewed as the outrages they are and more importantly, why we kept letting it happen.
Are we going to do this properly, or not?!
We should just decide and be honest with people – at least we can all get on with our lives knowing where we stand. I know that change is happening at last and I know we can see various versions of furious activity all around us – it’s not good enough, it’s not fast enough and we should be ashamed that we are perfectly capable today of repeating the disasters that struck vulnerable people and their families a decade or more ago.
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