A WATCHDOG report has praised how North Yorkshire Police trains its officers in relation to mental health.

While largely positive, the Police Leadership Report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS), said it was concerned about police forces around the country which lacked "sufficiently deep understanding of the skills and capabilities of their workforce, risking their ability to meet future demands".

The report looked at how forces were teaching their officers to deal with certain problems, and cited North Yorkshire Police's investment and work with the University of York "to research and improve its understanding of its mental health demand and how it can help its officers to understand and support people".

It said: "The force provides courses for 249 officers that include training from mental health professionals.An evaluation of the programme by the university six months later showed that those who had been trained had a greater knowledge and confidence about, and a better attitude and response to, mental health incidents."

Deputy Chief Constable Lisa Winward said she welcomed the mention of the work, which helped shape the way the force approaches mental health.

She said: "The recognition of our investment in training is also pleasing to see, in particular in the way we deal with vulnerable people with mental health issues. We have made great strides these past few years in providing a much more considered service for vulnerable victims. Since the inspection was carried out, we have launched our bespoke mental health training package which is being delivered to all front-line officers and staff, including the Force Control Room.

"We will actively take on board the report’s wider findings and recommendations for all police forces where improvements in performance can be made. We see this as a positive and healthy process for a publicly-funded service such as the police."