Patrick Vernon, who is campaigning for Labour's Brent Central nomination has posted an article on his blog LINK about the Independent Commission on Mental Health and Policing in which he took part.
The inquiry report makes mental health core business for Metropolitan Police Service. At times it was real hard and emotionally challenging to examine and review the 55 cases along with listening to the families’ experiences of the systematic failure leading to the death of their love ones. Respect to all the families who are still fighting for justice and peaceSome of the key findings in the report include:
- In most cases, there were failures in systems, mis-judgments or errors by individuals, resource limitations, poor co-ordination with other services or discriminatory attitudes towards people with mental illness that led eventually to these deaths.
- People with mental health issues complained they were treated like criminals by the police. They also felt individuals with mental health issues were handled with too much force, that the police should engage more with the families, and that police and NHS staff should have more mental health training.
- Many families said they could not understand why there was not better liaison between agencies. Some professionals made similar points in evidence.
- The Commission did have access to MPS files. However paper files and records were incomplete. This is clearly unacceptable for a 21st Century, customer-focused police service.
- Care pathways must be recognised and developed and there needs to be greater operational working together, such as inter-agency working within the NHS, clinical commissioning groups and local government.
- The Commission’s report was based on evidence direct from families over five years, MPS files as well as wide consultation with the public, service users and professionals. The Commission panel was independent and made up of experts who gave detailed consideration to the evidence.
PLIAS Resettlement is stepping up to the mark to fill a gap with the development of a mentoring programme geared towards supporting the over representation of BME individuals who have been through the criminal justice or mental health systems. PLIAS is offering a solution based mentoring and support programme for BME members of the community which aims to reduce re-offending. This project supports alternatives to custody and diversionary activities by delivering supported care in the community.
The mentoring programme is the cornerstone of PLIAS Resettlement Court Liaison and Diversion Project. By equipping and empowering BME individuals with mental health issues to improve their lives and achieve their vision through personal mentoring relationships, PLIAS Resettlement is positioning the organisation to be a major advocate for BME individuals to guide them into making good choices for themselves