Turning Point CEO Lord Victor Adebowale gives evidence to London Assembly’s Police and Crime Committee

News item posted: 19 June 2017

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The meeting was an opportunity to discuss the progress of the recommendations made by the Independent Commission on Mental Health and Policing, and came as the Home Office announced proposals to change the way in which the Mental Health Act is used to protect people suffering a mental health crisis.

Some of the issues addressed by Victor included the importance of training, joint working with the NHS,  appropriate places of safety and the roll out of the Met's Vulnerability Assessment Framework - a tool that has been developed to gather improved intelligence on vulnerable people coming into contact with the police, including those with mental health conditions.

During the session, Victor praised the progress made to date, and reemphasized the need for continued improvement:

"I am satisfied that progress has been made to improve the experience of people with mental health conditions coming into contact with the police in London, but there is still a lot to do.

"The work that has followed the Commission's report, informed by the recommendations, has no doubt improved the experience of people coming into contact with the police in London. I would go so far as to say that lives have been saved through the creation and roll out of improved training and the introduction of street triage and liaison and diversion pilots which are a really powerful step forward."

Victor also pointed out that more needed to be done around the transportation of people experiencing a mental health crisis to places of safety, as set out in the Crisis Care Concordat.

"The Concordat makes a lot of welcome commitments but signing the Concordat is easy, implementing it is the challenge. I am concerned, for example, that despite ambulance staff doing a great job on the ground and demonstrating their willingness to work with the police, the London Ambulance Service needs more support and resource from commissioners to meet their commitment to get to people experiencing mental health issues within the same timeframe expected for those with physical conditions. When the police are still moving 70% of people with mental health conditions to places of safety; unwell people are being excluded from hospitals; and are still being taken to police cells, its clear more needs to be done."