Crime commissioner: 'Mentally ill need help, not arresting'
AN emergency summit was held to tackle the problem of people with mental health issues committing crime.
Bolton’s police and crime commissioner Tony Lloyd called the meeting in response to the increasing demand on police in dealing with people with mental health problems.
It is hoped it will help reduce crimes committed by people with mental health problems, as well as protecting the vulnerable.
Representatives from local authorities, the NHS, the probation and fire services, Greater Manchester Police and voluntary groups were at the meeting.
Mr Lloyd said: “This issue is putting an ever-increasing burden on local policing services.
“Greater Manchester Police is becoming the agency of last resort, with officers being called to detain people with mental health problems.
“Officers are not health workers and people with mental health problems need a hospital bed, not a police cell.
“Not only does this take up valuable time, but it also adds to the distress of that vulnerable person.
His concerns reflected those of mental health professionals who say their services are in crisis and levels of access to treatment unacceptable.
Mr Lloyd said: “It’s clear the system is broken and needs to be fixed.”
Figures from New Economy show that many offenders are known to have mental health or drug and alcohol problems.
The meeting looked at how to make sure the right treatment and support is in place to help people suffering a mental health crisis and prevent them committing crimes.
Baron Frankal, director of economic strategy at New Economy, said: “The Commissioner’s foray into areas like mental health is to be welcomed.”
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