GREATER Manchester Police is hoping that days like this can help reduce the number of repeat callers — especially those with mental health problems.

PC Darren Bunn is part of the force’s North Place-based Initiative (PBI) which was set up earlier this year.

The aim of the PBI is to work with a variety of organisations to tackle the root causes of crime. The group will look to deal with all types of crime and represents a new style of policing which will see officers work closely with other public services.

Repeat 999 callers are an ongoing problem for the force and for PC Bunn, it is a case of ‘where to draw a line in the sand’.

He said: “We always talk about resources and there are a lot of people out there that genuinely need care but there are also a lot of people that keep asking for help but then don’t take it, we can’t sustain that.

“One guy called us 102 times from his address last year. That’s without taking into account all the times he has rang us to tell us he’s on a bridge or wherever.”

“It’s about thinking where we can draw a line in the sand.”

If officers believe someone has a mental illness, and they need ‘care or control’, they will act under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act. This involves taking the person to a place of safety.

Patients can be kept on this section for up to 24 hours.

Whilst under the section, the person should get a mental health assessment

However after their mental health assessment, they may be discharged or they may stay in hospital under a different section of the Mental Health Act.

In a lot of the cases where people are discharged, PC Bunn said it becomes a vicious cycle and in times when police resources are stretched, he believes tougher action may need to be taken with some of the repeat callers.

PC Bunn added: “With that guy I’ve spoken about, we’ve generally found, because it’s drug-induced mental health issues, once he’s been taken to hospital and come back down off his drugs, but then he won’t engage with Achieve or care workers so he goes back out and the cycle continues.

“We issued him a £90 fixed penalty before Christmas for wasting our time. He hasn’t called us or NWAS (the ambulance service) since, he hasn’t turned up at A&E and he’s turning up at more of his mental health appointments. It won’t work with everybody but if we can take a few away it allows us to focus on other things.

“We’ve prosecuted seven people. The minimum cost savings to us from that was £412,000 which is 274 jobs and the I’ve got 36 active cases that I’m going through that process with and I’ve not even scratched the surface yet.

“Another lady has made 88 calls this year and we’re only half way through. In the whole of last year, she only made 36. She has issues with alcohol and asks for a lot of help in all these calls, all the help under the sun has been offered, it’s her choice still to choose not to do that the next day when she’s sober or hungover.

“I’m not telling people to get over their drink and drug issue but I’m asking them to just start accepting help.”