In this guest blog, Lord Victor Adebowale, chair of the Independent Commission into Mental Health and Policing, talks about the importance of as many people as possible contributing to the Commission’s consultation.
The Independent Commission on Mental Health and Policing is currently holding a public consultation. This is open to anyone who wants to share their views about mental health and policing in reference to the Metropolitan Police Service in London. As chair, I would urge all individuals working in the wider field of mental health, as well as any other interested party, to take the time to complete the survey. The website allows people to securely and anonymously share their experiences and opinions.
It is one of our central aims to help the police to improve a key area of their work and your contribution will help us to get it right.
The overall purpose of this Commission is to carry out an independent examination of cases, within the past 5 years, of death or serious injury of people with a mental illness after contact with police. I stress that the review isn’t only about deaths in custody but is looking more widely at improving the police response to incidents involving mental health. I have mentioned before that protecting the most vulnerable in society should be a high priority for police – and that includes safeguarding the lives of people with mental health problems. The Commission will be making recommendations to help improve the Metropolitan Police Service’s response to people with mental health conditions and to help prevent similar incidents that we’ve seen before occur again in the future.
Including myself, there are 13 members of the Commission. The members have been chosen for their wealth of experience, in crime issues, mental health, law and policing. Among those appointed are Louis Appleby, who is professor of psychiatry at the University of Manchester, director of the National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by people with mental illness and national clinical director for health and criminal justice. Others include Claire Murdoch, a registered mental health nurse, is chief executive of Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust; Paul Farmer heads up mental health charity Mind; and Patrick Vernon, a specialist in mental health within black and minority communities. We also have Lucy Scott Moncrieff, president of the Law Society and a specialist in mental health law; Chief Constable Simon Cole, who is the Association of Chief Police Officers’ lead on mental health and disability, and Dr Ruth Allen, director of social work at South West London and St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust. It is very much a team effort.
We want to gather a range of views to help make this a relevant and grounded report, strengthened by the understanding of the direct experience and views of the public. Please take the time to let us know what you think.
The public consultation on mental health and policing closes on February 11. For more information or to complete the survey please visit the Commission website: https://mentalhealthpolicing-independent.wazoku.com/home
Lord Victor Adebowale is chair of the Independent Commission into Mental Health and Policing and chief executive of Turning Point.