YP Comment: Police require public's trust. Inspector praises West Yorkshire

EVEN though Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary '“ the police watchdog '“ publishes regular reports throughout the year, its overview makes sobering reading.

Policing is at its most effective when it is in partnership with the law-abiding public and the people they purport to serve.

As is now the norm, the South Yorkshire and Humberside forces are both rebuked in the strongest terms – the former because of a management malaise arising from several national scandals, not least the prevalence of child sexual abuse in Rotherham, and the latter as a result of the failings of former chief constable Justine Curran who resigned shortly before the publication of a critical report earlier this year.

Yet, while local residents now have every right to expect their police and crime commissioners to preside over significant improvements, inspector Michael Cunningham’s findings with regard to West Yorkshire’s police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy – the so-called Peel principles – offer reassurance. Unlike others, it is managing to protect vulnerable people and support victims of crime through a series of protocols developed in the wake of critical reports in the past – proof of HMIC’s effectiveness as a watchdog. Its work protecting the public from the most prolific, serious and dangerous offenders also been singled out for praise, along with its response to organised crime.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

However it would be a dereliction of duty on the part of Dee Collins, the relatively new chief constable, if she did not address misgivings about neighbourhood policing. Her force’s non-emergency hotline has been previously proven to be not fit for purpose and it would be regrettable if this failing overshadowed progress in other areas. After all, policing is at its best when it is partnership between officers and the public that they purport to serve – irrespective of whether it is more traditional crimes or offences arising from the advent of the internet and new technology.

Cinderella service

GIVEN the seriousness of the pressures facing the NHS, it’s reassuring that nine out of 10 mental health patients receive a follow-up appointment within a week of being discharged from hospital.

However the context is critical. Extrapolation of the figures, published by mental health charity Mind, means that at least 11,000 people across the country were not given follow-up care – or the courtesy of a reassuring telephone call.

These are not patients recovering from fractures, or other injuries and illnesses, where time is the best healer of all. These are fragile individuals, often irrational, whose very vulnerability and torments make them a danger to not only themselves, but to others as well. Given that National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence guidelines clearly state that individuals should be seen again within seven days, or 48 hours if deemed to be a suicide risk, too much is being left to chance. At the very least, all concerned should receive a phone consultation within two days and have the necessary contacts in the event of an emergency.

Yet, with instances of young mental health patients having to travel from Hull to Manchester for treatment, this is another reminder that the Government – and NHS – need to invest significantly more resources in this Cinderella service and reverse previous cuts that were about as short-sighted as Beeching’s blueprint for the railways. It makes sense. Better community care will lessen the burden on hospitals and GP surgeries who will not always possess the psychological skills that patients require. Theresa May accepts this, but there’s clearly much work still to do.

Rylstone wonders: Calendar Girls and their legacy

WHAT a legacy. Eighteen years after the risqué poses by members of Rylstone WI changed the dynamics of charity fundraising, as well as inspiring a hit Hollywood movie and much else besides, Yorkshire’s very own Calendar Girls remain an inspiration with their tireless work on behalf of cancer sufferers.

Their latest venture could not be more quintessentially English – Tea with the Girls – as they look to raise funds for Bloodwise, the leading blood cancer research charity. Like their original calendar which became a global phenomenon and encouraged others to pose in various states of undress, they hope others will hold cream teas where any personal embarrassment can be kept to a minimum.

Who would have thought that the death of John Baker from non-Hodgkins Lymphoma would inspire his Calendar Girl wife Angela – the original Miss February – to come up with a novel idea which continues to raise lifesaving, and life-changing, sums of money?