Monday, 23 April 2018

Dyfed Powys Police - Powys Partnerships

Rhiannon (far right)  with colleagues at the recent 2018 mental health conference
This week our guest author is Chief Inspector Rhiannon Ivens of Dyfed Powys Police.

Chief Inspector Rhiannon Ivens has served in both Hampshire Constabulary and the Metropolitan Police service and performed the role of Chief Inspector Operations for several years prior to taking up her role as a substantive Chief Inspector with Dyfed-Powys Police.

I was appointed by Chief Constable Mark Collins on the 10th April 2017 as Chief Inspector and am responsible for Partnerships in Powys. I have a significant amount of experience in this field and am keen to support existing partnerships in addition to creating an environment whereby working together with other agencies and stakeholders is as seamless and effective as possible to achieve excellent outcomes for the residents and visitors to the county. 

On 1st March 2018 at Police Headquarters in Carmarthen, the Police & Crime Commissioner and Chief Constable hosted their second annual Dyfed Powys St David’s Day Conference. I was honoured to be involved in arranging this event which was enjoyed by many.

The focus of this years’ event was Mental Health.

Chief Constable Mark Collins took up his role as national lead for mental health in January 2017 and is committed to learning from the experiences of those living with mental ill-health, people external to policing, and from those within the service itself.

Despite the snowy weather conditions so many people and partners joined us on the day with an audience of 80 - 90 people present, including partners from mental health services in Powys Teaching Health Board. This goes to show that so many people cared deeply about being there and the subject of mental health. 

Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llewellyn opened the event (above).

Guest speakers from different fields gave presentations and answered questions from the floor. They included:

Inspector Michael Brown OBE, who works with the College of Policing and National Police Chiefs' Council and is the author of the Mental Health Cop blog (below).

John Williams (below) is a Professor of Law at Aberystwyth University, and has presented papers at numerous conferences including the International Academy of Law and Mental Health.

Tony Herbert, whose son died in police custody in Somerset in 2010.

Social justice, and the way that we treat people with mental health issues, have been important to Mr Herbert even before James’s tragic death. 

Tony Herbert
“Mental health demand is rising not just in policing but across our whole emergency system and in society as a whole. Much of policing and mental health is not about major crisis incidents or serious adverse events; it is about the daily challenge of quietly responding to vulnerable people, often collaboratively. Today’s conference has been a great opportunity to share stories and learning but also encourage attendees to think creatively about how, in our respective roles, we can get better at early intervention.”

“I am very happy with the success of the second Annual St David’s Day Conference. Having a focus on mental health provided local organisations, partner agencies and Dyfed Powys Police itself with an opportunity to discuss and debate on a very important topic.”

The conference was instrumental in supporting the police and our partners to provide the best possible service to those suffering with mental illness. More recent improvements, increased awareness, understanding and compassion for service users has led to many incidences of positive intervention and our commitment to further progress is cemented by our Force Mental Health Strategy and Delivery Plan moving forward.

I received a lot of positive feedback from the event and it was encouraging to know that attendees have pledged a commitment to improving and raising awareness of how to deal with mental health.

Some examples below:

“I will read up more of the roles different agencies play in supporting mental health sufferers to enable better signposting if and when we encounter the issue.”

“I will discuss with clients their experience of police involvement in times of crisis highlighting positive and negative points.”

“I will feedback to the organisation the positive comments I’ve heard here today and include pointers from speakers in my presentations with Time to Change Wales on stigma and discrimination towards mental health.”

“I will promote positive mental health and ensure my staff and I receive relevant training.”

Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn said:

"It was a pleasure to work alongside the Police and Crime Commissioners staff and police staff who all worked really hard to ensure this was a successful event."

Thank you for the opportunity to provide a bit of an update of my recent work regarding mental health and I look forward to continuing this work with fantastic partners in and around Powys and in Powys Teaching Health Board.

Many thanks to Rhiannon for telling us all about the mental health conference which took place last month - really appreciate it especially as we were snowed in here in North Powys!

If you have any questions about mental health in relation to policing that you would like to ask Rhiannon, please post them in the comments box below. We love to hear from you.

Finally, those featured in the photo at the top are as follows:

Brieg Dafydd & Mair Harries - Office of the Police & Crime Commissioner, Sharon Reynolds - Corporate Communications, Michael Henry - Staff Officer to Chief Constable Mark Collins, and Chief Inspector Rhiannon Ivens.

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