A report claims Metropolitan Police officers will stop attending mental health crisis calls so they can focus on crime.
Sir Mark Rowley, chief officer of the Met Office, said in a letter seen Guardian That in the new policy exemption will be given only when there is danger to life.
The letter was sent to health and social care services on 24 May, with a deadline of 31 August for when the new scheme would come into force, the newspaper reports.
Sir Mark is understood to be concerned that officers are spending too much time dealing with mental health incidents which is distracting them from the main policing tasks of the capital force.
In the letter they refer to the Right Care, Right Person (RCRP) strategy which was implemented by Humberside Police so that mental health calls are dealt with by medical professionals and not officers.
Figures on the College of Policing website say the policy implemented by Humberside Police has saved an average of 1,132 officer hours per month and prompted an average of 508 fewer police deployments per month.
Part of Sir Mark’s letter says: “It is important to stress the urgency of implementing the RCRP in London.
“Every day we allow the status quo to remain in place we are collectively failing patients and not setting up officers to succeed. In fact, we are failing Londoners twice.
“We are failing them in the first place by sending police officers, not medical professionals, to those in mental health crisis, and expect them to do their best in situations where they are not the right people to deal with the patient. .
“We are failing Londoners a second time by taking vast amounts of officers’ time away from preventing and solving crime as well as properly dealing with victims to fill in the gaps for others.”
In the letter, he says weather officers currently spend 10,000 hours a month dealing with mental health issues.
The purported change in policy comes at a difficult time for the weather police, mired in several controversies over the years.
Most recently, the force attracted criticism for its hardline policy at the coronation of King Charles after several protesters were arrested.
Sir Rowley defended his officers and said that “rapidly developing intelligence” suggested that the protests could have affected the safety and security of the event.
And the force was branded institutionally racist, anti-feminist and homophobic in Baroness Louise Casey’s report on the Met released in March this year which was commissioned after Sarah Everard’s murder.