Mental Health Act 1983

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 7:07 pm on 11th July 2017.

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Photo of Sarah Newton Sarah Newton The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department 7:07 pm, 11th July 2017

I very much appreciate my hon. Friend’s specific point. I wanted to set the scene and describe to him the scale of the investment to ensure that we do have the appropriate medical professional to accompany the police. I think we can all agree that we need those trained mental health professionals to be able to assess the person and to make the best judgment call on the best way to treat them. It is unreasonable to expect a police officer to have enough clinical experience to be able to make that call.

Like my hon. Friend, I have spent time with my local armed police officers. I have been out on the beat. I have seen the extent to which, in the course of their everyday working, they encounter people who have mental health problems, and how brilliant they are at handling the situation. We have heard vividly about how well they are able to manage it, as he has seen himself, but that is usually about containing it. They are not qualified to assess the best clinical approach for the individual in the way that a mental health professional is.