The College of Policing has signed up to Public Health England’s consensus statement ‘Policing, Health and Social Care: working together to protect and prevent harm to vulnerable people’.
This consensus statement aims to provide a focus for the police, health and social care services, as well as the voluntary and community sectors, to work together to prevent crime, improve people's health and wellbeing, and protect the most vulnerable people in England.
Research has shown that the risk factors that are associated with people becoming victims of crime or offenders are the same as those that lead to poor health and social outcomes. It therefore makes sense for agencies and the voluntary sector to work together to identify those at risk and to do what they can to reduce those risks.
Front-line police time can often be spent dealing with people who have complex health and social needs, often not crime-related. Where forces and local mental health trusts have worked together to ensure the right referral is available for vulnerable individuals, a reduction in the amount of police time that is required has been shown, as well as improvements in the outcomes for the individuals concerned.
The consensus commits partners to working together to use their shared capabilities and resources more effectively. There is also a commitment to focus more on intervening earlier on, before a crisis point is reached.
An action plan is also being developed covering areas such as improving the use of data, developing the evidence base, and supporting workforce development.
Richard Bennett, College of Policing said:"The College is happy to be a signatory to the policing and health consensus being launched. We are well aware that collaborative working can be key to improving how police, health and other partners interact with the vulnerable in our communities. Over time we will be looking to work with partners in, and out of, policing to build an evidence base of what works that can inform the professional practice of policing in the future."
Duncan Selbie, Chief Executive of Public Health England said: "The consensus statement sets out our ambition to go further and faster by working together in the public interest."
The consensus is supported by two other pieces of work that are being published at the same time. Public Health England is publishing 'Policing and health collaboration in England and Wales: Landscape review'. This report provides a snapshot of collaborations between policing and health currently, and identifies the blockers and enablers for developing and strengthening joint working. The Centre of Excellence for Information Sharing is publishing 'Putting information sharing at the heart of collaborative working: Information sharing between the police and health services for prevention, early intervention and care purposes'. This practical guide uses case studies to illustrate effective information sharing between police and health.