HAMPSHIRE'S Police and Crime Commissioner's mission to improve treatment for those suffering with mental health problems will see him host a live webchat tomorrow.
Members of the public will get the chance to quiz Simon Hayes on how patients, whether they are victims or perpetrators, by police and offer him advice on how things can be improved.
He will be online as part of Mental Health Awareness Week, which this year is focusing on anxiety, and he is keen to know how the force can do more to ensure the most vulnerable can be treated better.
Mr Hayes is inviting those who have had experience of mental illness within a police environment to get involved and work with him to improve services.
This is not the first time Mr Hayes has focussed on mental health issues - since taking up his post in November 2012 he has raised concerns about the treatment of patients arrested under the Mental Health Act and the lack of adequate places of safety available to them.
He has also funded the extension of pilot schemes, such as Operation Serenity, which sees mental health professionals work alongside police officers responding to reports involving those suffering from mental illness.
He said: “Through this webchat, I would like to hear from members of the public who have experience of mental health issues, directly or indirectly, where there was police involvement and how they were supported.
“This will provide me with a greater understanding of what is being done well and where services might need to improve.
“Many people close to us can be affected by mental health illness which comes in varying forms. It is essential that we recognise that people with mental health issues are more vulnerable to being victims of crime as well as, potentially, being the perpetrators.
“We should therefore look at ways in which this can be prevented by raising awareness and encouraging those with issues to seek professional advice and support.”
To get involved in the webchat, which takes place between 6pm and 7pm, visit http://www.hampshire-pcc.gov.uk/Get-Involved/ONLINE-WEB-CHAT.aspx.