Chief Constable Simon Cole discusses the important issue of mental health and the support that is available, both internally, for officers and staff but also the external support given to people from communities across the city and county.
On a day-to-day basis mental health is a really important issue.
It’s an important issue within our own organisation in terms of the wellbeing of our officers and staff but also externally when we are dealing with people from communities across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.
Mental Health reads across everything we do and is part of our daily business.
We train all of our new recruits in mental health first aid and we try to make sure we work closely with partners, like the Leicestershire Partnership Trust. On a typical day we refer twice as many people to other agencies to make sure they are supported and safeguarded as we do arrest people.
We also run a mental health triage service. This is staffed by a police officer and a mental health nurse together in order to respond to people with mental health problems in public places.
We deal with around 60-70 incidents a day and as well as supporting incidents the team give advice to other operational officers who may be dealing with mental health related incidents too.
The triage car is available daily between 8am and 2am daily and has reduced the number of people detained by the police and taken to a place of safety for a Mental Health Act assessment from around 450 per year down to 260.
We recognise that often our own people deal with challenging and traumatic incidents every day and it can be a stressful environment to operate in at times.
For this reason, we have invested a lot into our own wellbeing offer to make sure people feel supported and have access to the right resources and services.
We have put training in place for our managers and supervisors so they have the right knowledge to help spot the signs of issues like anxiety or depression and enable early intervention.
We interface with mental health 24/7, every day of the year and it has a huge impact and is of huge importance to our service internally and externally.
Simon Cole QPM