Amendment 292P

Part of Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill - Committee (11th Day) – in the House of Lords at 7:00 pm on 24th November 2021.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Lord Berkeley of Knighton Lord Berkeley of Knighton Crossbench 7:00 pm, 24th November 2021

My Lords, I fear that I am going to venture still further on to the shores of Utopia. Having listened to the amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Thomas, and indeed earlier amendments, and recalling my days, many years ago, working in a hospital and then for the Koestler Trust—which takes art into prisons—I could not help thinking of how both in hospital and in prison, and for police officers, huge time is taken up dealing with people who should simply not be there. This has been said a lot, and it will go on being said.

My Utopian contribution to this debate is that, really, we need another agency to deal with people who are mentally ill, thus taking time off the work of the police, who are often tied up for hours trying to sort out what to do with somebody who is mentally ill. Think of the doctors and nurses in A&E who are constantly dealing with mentally ill people and people who are addicted to drugs or alcohol, and also of the prison officers who are trying to deal with similarly afflicted people. My feeling is that maybe, one day, it will happen. It probably is Utopian, but we need a third agency to take the stress off police officers, prison officers and those working in the National Health Service.