Scottish Government ministers have been urged to investigate concerns officers are being used to plug gaps in social care.
Scottish Conservative MP for Angus Kirstene Hair has asked Justice secretary Humza Yousaf and health secretary Jeane Freeman to help police who are spending “hours at a time” dealing with mental health emergencies for which they are not trained.
Police are sometimes the sole responders to incidents involving mentally vulnerable people.
Ms Hair reported officers “feel it is their duty” to take people to Ninewells Hospital in Dundee, taking “vital resources” from other call-outs “for hours at a time”.
She said it was “unfair” to expect officers to continue to take on such a role and “unrealistic for our valuable police time”.
Ms Hair wants the Scottish Government to look at the introduction of a similar scheme to one recently trialled by police in Northumbia, where mental health professionals accompanied police patrols to assist in certain situations.
She said: “Frontline police officers do an incredible job protecting our communities, often in very challenging circumstances.
“The public quite rightly expect officers to be given every support to allow them to focus on that role.
“It is therefore concerning to see that officers here in Angus, and across the country, are spending such significant amounts of time handling incidents that we all recognise could be better dealt with by healthcare professionals.”
Her request comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced an extra £2.5 billion for England’s police, triggering £80 million in extra funding to be made available to the Scottish Government.
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “As part of Scotland’s Mental Health Strategy we are providing extra investment over five years, rising to £35 million in the fifth year, for 800 extra workers in key locations, including police custody and accident and emergency departments.
“This will help to ensure that people have better access to mental health support at a time and place where they may need it the most.
“In Programme for Government 2019, we have also committed to supporting the Distress Intervention Group which is working across health and justice agencies to provide improved support for people in distress and crisis.
“There are already many good Scottish examples of health and justice organisations working together to support better outcomes for people for example through the Mental Health Street Triage pilot in Govan which is a collaboration between police, ambulance and mental health services, while mental health and distress is one of the priorities of our Health and Justice Collaboration Improvement Board.
“As outlined in the Policing 2026 strategy and reflected in Scotland’s Vision and Priorities for Justice, Police Scotland continues to evolve to meet the changing nature of crime and society, working with the wider public sector and others to keep communities safe from a range of harms.
“By protecting the police revenue budget in real terms, the Scottish Government is delivering an additional £100 million throughout this parliament, with annual funding now more than £1.2 billion.”