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­Londoners getting better police service with Right Care, Right Person

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­Londoners getting better police service with Right Care, Right Person

Communities in London are getting a better police service and more relevant medical care six months on from the launch of Right Care, Right Person.

Since its launch, calls into the Metropolitan Police from people in health crises are being immediately triaged by health services to ensure Londoners in need get the relevant help from the right agency. As a result, officers are attending fewer health calls – with deployment reducing from 41% to 29% compared to the same period last year. Each month, this equates to 6,000 fewer deployments and 34,000 officer hours that can be spent tackling crimes that are impacting Londoners instead.

Six months on from the launch of Right Care, Right Person, officers are responding to 18% more urgent robbery calls and, despite the increase in volume, getting to victims faster. Officers are also spending 21% more time on scene with victims compared to the same period last year.

The national scheme is a partnership between local police, ambulance, and adult and child social care services and the NHS to ensure patients in health crisis receive the right care when they call 999 or 101.

The Met launched the scheme on 1 November 2023, after increasingly responding to mental health crisis and other health-related issues diverting officers from their core role of preventing crime, supporting victims and bringing offenders to justice. This meant patients who needed medical help were being attended to by officers instead of expert healthcare professionals.

Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley said: “Over the last six months this work has delivered promising results for London.

“First and foremost, in a moment of crisis, it’s absolutely right that someone is seen by a specially trained healthcare professional. Through really strong partnership with our colleagues in the NHS, London Ambulance Service and social care teams across London, anyone who calls for help is now being seen by the most appropriate service and receiving the right care.

“Secondly, this work has freed our officers up from more than 6,000 incidents every month meaning we’re getting to emergency calls more quickly and we’re responding to more incidents being reported to us. For example, over the last six months we’ve been able to respond to 500 more robberies in progress every single month.

“Officers are increasingly able to do a better job for the capital by responding to and tackling the things we know our communities care about. This is exactly the type of change we’ve promised to London and I am delighted with the progress we’ve made.”

Detective Superintendent Alistair Vanner, the lead for Mental Health at the Met, said: “I am proud of how this scheme has been implemented in the last six months. Working closely with the NHS, London Ambulance Service and social care services across London, we are seeing a reduction in officers attending immediate urgency calls for health crises. This means that our frontline officers are able to attend calls for crimes such as burglary, where their skills are much better suited.

“People experiencing a mental health crisis deserve the right response from trained medical professionals and should not feel like they are being criminalised in their time of crisis or need.”

The Right Care, Right Person approach is about ensuring our communities receive an appropriate response from agencies best equipped to support them and is an example of the commitment in the New Met for London plan to free up valuable police time to focus on supporting victims of crime.

In addition to the Right Care, Right Person scheme, a new 24/7 helpline has been set up for officers to call NHS Mental health professionals before detaining someone under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act. This ensures each person receives the best advice, care and support in their time of need.

Emmanuel Kankam, a Clinician on the NHS Section 136 advice line at North London Mental Health Partnership said: “We've observed a notable change in the nature of calls we receive on the Section 136 police advice line. Initially, many calls came after individuals had already been detained, but now we're seeing an increasing number of calls for clinical advice before individuals are sectioned. This shift suggests a growing tendency from police officers to explore alternative options before resorting to detention, potentially resulting in fewer individuals being involuntarily detained.”

Extensive training has taken place across our command-and-control (MetCC) teams who deal with 999 and 101 calls. These teams assess incoming calls and decide whether to deploy police or not. As part of this assessment, MetCC officers will look to see if a crime has been committed, if someone needs medical support or if a patient has walked out from a health facility.

Officers continue to attend calls where there is an immediate risk to life, such as a person who may be at risk of taking their life, or threatening others harm but calls will be triaged by 999 and 101 call handlers so a caller’s needs are better assessed to ensure the right service responds.

In practice this means officers:

  • Do not attend medical calls where a healthcare professional is more appropriate.
  • Do not attend welfare checks for people who have missed a planned health appointment, check whether they have taken their medication, or to check on a person when the health or social care agency is not working.
  • No longer look for people who have walked out of mental health facilities or left hospital unless there is a policing reason.
  • Always call for an ambulance to transport people who have been sectioned under the Mental Health Act instead of using a police van.

London Ambulance Service Chief executive Daniel Elkeles said: “We have worked closely and collaboratively with the Metropolitan Police on the implementation of Right Care, Right Person to ensure our staff were not put at risk and people get a better response to their needs.

“We’re now receiving between 200 and 250 referrals a day from the police of individuals to whom they would have previously responded, but who in reality are patients that my service and the wider NHS should be caring for. We have put in place systems to make sure we can assess these additional patients for an LAS response or referral to more appropriate NHS services for treatment.

“In the next few weeks we will also introduce six new dedicated mental health ambulances which will allow the Police to take fewer patients to hospital and free up more of their resources.”

Notes to editors

Prior to the launch on 1 November, in London, police officers spend an average of 14.2 hours in hospital with patients when they are sectioned under the Mental Health Act while they wait for a medical professional to take over care. In March 2023 alone, officers spent 10,000 hours working on sectioning patients and in 2021/22, the Met received more than 78,000 mental health-related calls and more than 204,000 concerns for welfare calls.

Since the implementation of Right Care, Right Person, officers are now attending 999 within 12 minutes (681 seconds on average), 6% faster than previously.




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