Police in a London borough faced a backlash after an officer tweeted they could not catch criminals because they were too busy searching for missing people and dealing with mental health issues.
The comments were made in a post on Lewisham borough’s Twitter account just before midnight on Wednesday which read: “So busy dealing with the fallout from mental health issues and ‘missing’ people don’t have time to fight crime.”
The tweet was immediately criticised by users of the social media site with one saying : “Someone’s getting fired in the morning.”
Another wrote: “I’m guessing you don’t see that as your role but I would argue it is still important. Recognising you do need more support.”
The tweet had been deleted by 2.30am. At 2.35am the account posted: “Busy night in #Lewisham with #missingpeople and mental health related calls. These calls are important to us and we are doing our upmost.”
The Met faced criticism over its use of Twitter last week when the force was accused of “demonising” Notting Hill Carnival in a tweet linking the event with a seizure of heroin in Catford.
Three years ago the force’s helicopter Twitter account came under fire for arguing back when people asked why helicopters were flying over their homes.
On one occasion residents questioned why the aircraft was flying over homes at 2am. The account replied: “Not sure if searching for a stabbing victim and firearms suspects is unnecessary, but apologies if you were disturbed.”
The controversy in Lewisham came as new figures emerged showing that calls to the Met police relating to mental health issues have soared by a third in the last five years.
There were 115,000 calls to the Met in the 12 months to July in which someone raised concern about a person’s mental health – an average of 13 an hour.
A Met spokesman said: “A tweet posted by @MPSLewisham at 23.56pm on August 30 was erroneous and did not reflect the values and work ethic of Lewisham borough or indeed the MPS.
“This is why it was removed. A new message has since been tweeted by @MPSLewisham.
“Every call matters to us. Dealing with vulnerable missing people and attending calls related to mental health issues is a vital part of everyday policing.”
Link to original article
Theresa May has unveiled plans to change mental health legislation and services in an election pledge.
If the Conservatives win the general election on June 8, the party has announced it will:
– Replace the Mental Health Act to tackle discrimination and the overuse of detention;
– Reform the Equalities Act to protect people from discrimination at work;
– Commit to 10,000 more staff working in NHS mental health services by 2020.
For more detail on the proposals, click here.
Responding to the election pledge, Marjorie Wallace, chief executive of SANE, says: “Theresa May’s electoral pledge is a major victory for all of us who have campaigned to recognise the enormous impact that mental ill-health has on society as a whole.
“We share the view that the Mental Health Act needs reform to give more positive rights to care and treatment and better safeguards for those detained; and everyone welcomes the initiative in schools.
“However, her ambitious and panoramic vision of mental health in the future is painting over some dangerous cracks and fault lines in psychiatric services, which many people are experiencing now.
“At SANE, we hear daily of heartbreaking struggles from individuals and families who are being failed.
“Cuts and closures mean there are few available inpatient beds in the country. For people in crisis police are often the first resort, they may have to be sectioned to receive treatment, driven hundreds of miles to find a hospital bed, or sent home to await a visit from an overstretched community team.
“What we need is a second stage for this promised revolution to succeed, and there needs to be a guarantee that alongside the measures proposed, resources are placed in frontline services.”
View on the SANE website
On the 14th August the Evening Telegraph published a story about Lee. Follow the link below to read the article. Phil is quoted below.
Phil has now vowed to fight for better support for young people suffering similar problems and pledged: “Once I have buried my son, I will be taking up this cause.
“I want to make sure that enough help and support becomes available for other young people and their families.
“You get told that young men don’t talk about their mental health issues but Lee did. “He was going to the doctor and was asking for help but he wasn’t getting it. That needs to change. No one in particular is to blame. The resources are just not there to help young people like Lee.
Link to the full Evening Telegraph article
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