Mental health street triage scheme removed in Kent
The pilot project focused on reducing the number of mentally ill people held in police cells in Kent has been removed.
Figures obtained by Radio Kent showed there was a 30% reduction in the number of people being sectioned by the force under the Mental Health Act, however a lack of police resources has seen the project cancelled, reports the BBC.
Karen Dorey-Rees, from the Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust, said the triage service was a success.
“Officers were detaining people unnecessarily and that’s not a criticism of them, they just didn’t have any alternative. Hence the idea of putting a nurse with them,” she said. We felt the pilot was very effective, we’ve had a different view when we look at our data [compared to the police]. It was very unfortunate they had to withdraw the officers although I do understand the rationale behind it.”
However, Insp Wayne Goodwin, who is Kent Police’s mental health liaison officer, said it was very difficult to give “full county coverage” with the street triage service.
“We often tend to be the first resort instead of the last resort for people in mental health crisis. We’re now able to take advantage of a call system where officers at the scene can seek the advice of a mental health expert on a 24/7 basis. The [street triage] trial has ceased in its current format.”
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