UK TREND : Met Police’s decision to halt mental health 999 Call response sparks controversy
The Met Police has announced that starting in September, they will no longer respond to 999 calls related to mental health incidents, unless there is an immediate threat to life. This decision aims to prioritize the police’s focus on crime and its victims rather than handling cases that require specialized medical assistance.
Met Police will no longer respond to 999 calls related to mental health incidents
The news has generated significant attention on social media platforms, with the public expressing their opinions on the matter. Many individuals’ express concerns, emphasizing that the “right to protection from suicide should be regarded as a fundamental human right,” and argue that the state has a responsibility to aid those in mental health crises. On the other hand, some believe that while it may be a difficult decision, it is necessary to allow the police force to concentrate on their primary responsibilities rather than taking on the role of mental health practitioners.
The right to protection from suicide should be seen as a fundamental human right. The state has an obligation to assist those in mental health crisis. https://t.co/8RD9L1T7UL
— jonathan herring (@jojohjhj) May 29, 2023
Public discontent grows as the Met Police’s decision to cease responding to mental health 999 calls sparks criticism. One Twitter user shared the news, adding the caption, “It is presumed they will now spend their time beating women protesters instead.”
MET police will stop attending Mental Health emergency calls after the 31 August.
I presume they will spend their time beating up women protesters instead.
— BladeoftheSun (@BladeoftheS) May 28, 2023
Expressing a similar viewpoint, another Twitter user highlighted the apparent inconsistency in the Met police’s priorities, remarking that while they may not attend to burglaries or mental health crises, they always manage to find the time to arrest peaceful protestors.
Met police to stop attending emergency mental health calls- So they don’t attend burglaries, mental health crises but they can find the time for arresting protestors. https://t.co/vVgbtuUdSK
— Lady Julie Atkinson #Forever European 💙#Rejoin (@skatinggirl1) May 28, 2023
There were those who voiced their approval of the decision, tweeting that it was the right course of action to address the issue, as we are not providing adequate assistance by dispatching police officers, rather than medical experts, to individuals experiencing mental health crises. They further emphasized the necessity of establishing Emergency Mental Health response teams within the community.
“We are failing them first by sending police officers, not medical professionals, to those in mental health crisis..”
He is right.
We need Emergency Mental Health Response Teams in the community.
— Dr Mike (@EmergMedDr) May 29, 2023
Moreover, others took the opportunity to highlight the broader community needs that extend beyond this decision. They stressed the importance of recognizing that having the police respond to mental health distress situations, often resulting in escalation or threats, can be extremely traumatizing. They further emphasized the long-term repercussions of criminalization and punishment when individuals are in need of care, support, comfort, and material stability. Such actions, they argued, only serve to perpetuate distress instead of providing the necessary assistance.
This is big news & more is needed. Police attending mental health distress situations, to escalate/threaten is so traumatic. The lasting impacts of being criminalised & punished when ppl need care, support, soothing, material stability perpetuates distress https://t.co/aGzwPxIXw4
— FarzanaKhan (@khankfarza) May 29, 2023
Another advocate remarked that the police’s decision was driven by the intention to ensure that individuals with mental health issues receive care from dedicated experts who can provide appropriate support. They emphasized the need for mental health services to restructure and align themselves to effectively address the needs of those seeking assistance.
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