A bespoke mental health training package co-produced by the Connect partnership for frontline police officers in North Yorkshire Police has been praised in a report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS).
The purpose of the training is to increase awareness and identification of mental health vulnerabilities, improve the recording of incidences involving people with mental ill-health, enhance skills in communicating with people in mental distress, provide a clearer understanding of referral pathways into mental health services, and aid multi-agency working.
The College of Policing estimates that 15-20% of police incidents include a mental health component.
Approximately 1,500 police officers and staff will be trained this year by mental health professionals from Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust.
The police watchdog’s report stated:
Some forces are investing heavily in training the workforce in order to improve support for people with mental health conditions. North Yorkshire Police, for example, has collaborated with York University to research and improve its understanding of its mental health demand and how it can help its officers to understand and support people. The force provides courses for 249 officers that include training from mental health professionals. An evaluation of the programme by the university six months later showed that those who had been trained had a greater knowledge and confidence about, and a better attitude and response to, mental health incidents.
Some other forces are relying too heavily on online training packages which, on their own, are not sufficiently interactive or reflective for the subject of mental health. We found that where forces are using partner organisations to provide and participate in multi-agency training, personnel feel more confident in their knowledge
The recognition of our investment in training is also pleasing to see, in particular in the way we deal with vulnerable people with mental health issues. We have made great strides these past few years in providing a much more considered service for vulnerable victims. Since the inspection was carried out, we have launched our bespoke mental health training package which is being delivered to all front-line officers and staff, including the Force Control Room.
The Connect partnership between the University of York and North Yorkshire Police (NYP) aimed to improve the way that NYP and other agents deal with incidents involving people with mental health problems.
More information on the bespoke mental health training package can be found here.