Mental Health Policies for New Recruits (820A/21)
Under the Freedom of Information Act (2000), I would like to make a request for the following information pertaining to the mental health policies for new recruits joining the West Midlands Police Force over the last five-years (2016 to present).
1/ Do the West Midlands Police Force have an occupational health policy for recruiting candidates who have previous suffered from mental health issues, such as depression?
2/ How is the mental health of candidates and their suitability to join the West Midlands Police Force assessed? Is this assessment conducted on a case-by-case basis or are there any stipulated criteria?
3/ Is a face-to-face consultation with a qualified mental health practitioner or occupation health doctor offered? If this has been affected by COVID-19, are video consultations being offering in their place?
4/ Does the West Midlands Police Force hold any policies regarding the recruitment of candidates who are currently on or have been on anti-depressant medications, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or tricyclic antidepressants?
5/ Do the West Midlands Police Force have any stipulated criteria regarding anti-depressant medications which must be met, such as must be off anti-depressant medications for a stipulated period of time i.e. 6 months or 12 months?
6/ In the last five years how many recruits, who have had mental health issues such as depression, have joined the West Midlands Police Force?
7/ How many of these have been on anti-depressant medication (current or past prescription)?
Our data are not organised in such a way as to allow us to provide this information within the appropriate (cost) limit within the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act. This is because we do not separately or centrally record the information requested at question 6, therefore, in order to answer this question we would have to manually review each record for every new recruit in the last five years. Such a search, however, would exceed the appropriate limit (FOIA, s.12).
This means that the cost of providing you with the information is above the amount to which we are legally required to respond i.e. the cost of locating and retrieving the information exceeds the ‘appropriate level’ as stated in the Freedom of Information (Fees and Appropriate Limit) Regulations 2004.
In accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000, this letter acts as a Refusal Notice for this part of the request and if one part of a request exceeds the fees limit then S12 of the Act applies to the whole request.
However, in accordance with Section 16 of the Act I have a duty to provide advice and assistance in relation to your request and can answer questions 1 – 5 as this was retrieved during our initial research. Please note this is an overview provided by the current Force Medical Advisor (FMA) since starting the post in 2018. Please find this attached.
This should not be taken as a precedent that additional information would be supplied outside of the time/fees legislation for any subsequent requests.
Further information on section 12 of FOI is available here: