Psychiatrists in Scotland will work with stakeholders on police watchdog report

Scotland news
18 October 2023

Psychiatrists in Scotland will work with stakeholders to respond to a new study by the police watchdog which claims mental health demands have increased significantly in recent years.

The report by the HM Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland (HMICS) said the role of Police Scotland in dealing with mental health needed to be clearly defined and articulated to officers, police staff and the public.

It also warned too much of frontline officers' time was being taken up as a result.

And mental health should be managed primarily by health and social care services.

Now the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Scotland wants to reach out to Police Scotland and other stakeholders to devise a plan to improve the situation for patients and help solve the many challenges the police face.

Responding to the report, Dr Jane Morris, Chair of RCPsych in Scotland said:

“We have a great deal of sympathy for the Police, who like us have been chronically under-resourced and find themselves with a workforce crisis.

“Both services are now under immense pressure, but we must not forget our duty to work together in collaboration for the most vulnerable members of society.

“Any of us could find ourselves coping with our own mental crisis or that of a loved one and we rely on good joint working between different agencies at those times.

“There needs to be much better funding and commissioning of mental health services across all communities in Scotland. This will help people to be seen earlier and reduce the number of those going into crisis.

“It takes 14 years to train a psychiatrist and we currently dealing with long waiting lists. We cannot create a workforce which simply does not exist.

“No decisions have been made yet and that is why we will work with others to come up with practical solutions so the situation can be improved for our members as well as the police force.”

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