Lord Victor Adebowale gives evidence on mental health and policing to Home Affairs Committee

News item posted: 19 June 2017

Today Lord Victor Adebowale, Chief Executive of Turning Point and Chair of the Independent Commission on Mental Health and Policing, gave evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee on policing and mental health.

The committee, which is chaired by Labour MP Keith Vaz, is investigating what can be done to improve the use of police and mental health care resources, and reduce the number of people with mental health issues who find themselves in a police cell when they should be in a hospital or other health based place of safety.

Lord Adebowale spoke from his experience of chairing the Independent Commission on Mental Health and Policing which published its report last year. The Commission's report found that mental health is core business for the police and included 28 recommendations. Today Lord Adebowale discussed the importance of interagency working when responding to those experiencing a mental health crisis, as well as the importance of mental health training for the police and having enough appropriate health based places of safety for those in crisis in order to avoid the use of police cells.

Lord Victor Adebowale said; "I thank the Committee for the opportunity to speak about this important issue. The fact is, inconsistency kills. This is not about policy, but about practice. Progress is underway but this now needs to be replicated by police across the country so that we do not have a situation where an individual in one part of the country receives the appropriate level of crisis care but in another does not. We need everyone involved in crisis mental health to play their part. We need the NHS to take leadership and own their part of the pathways to ensure parity of esteem, while leadership across the MPS and all other forces must reinforce at all levels that mental health is core business for the police. Anything less is unacceptable."