Police are too often called out to support people having a mental health crisis instead of health professionals, Hertfordshire's Police and Crime Commissioner has warned.

Mr Lloyd says police officers in the county are now being called to several incidents related to mental health every day – with national data showing they account for 20 per cent of police officer time.

But Mr Lloyd says it is wrong that people in mental heath crises are more likely to get the support of a police officer.

He says they would be better dealt with by health professionals.

“It really isn’t good enough, if you do believe mental health should be treated as least as importantly as every other health issue,” he told a meeting of the Hertfordshire Police and Crime Panel.

“It really isn’t good enough that we can’t get people out and supporting people with mental health.”

Mr Lloyd stresses that police officers in the county are skilled  and “far from incompetent around mental health issues”.

And he acknowledges the “strain” the NHS is under, particularly the ambulance service.

But he says the best person to be there is a mental health professional, rather than a police officer.

And he says that in some cases the presence of the police uniform can even make the crisis worse – because the person then believes they have done something wrong or are in trouble.