Five new police forces will now have nurses assisting police officers on emergency calls and in control rooms as part of the street triage scheme.
Nurse assistance has already begun in some police forces, but there are now five more police forces set to trial the scheme in which mental health nurses accompany officers on call outs. Funded by the Department of Health and backed by the Home office, the scheme is aimed at improving the way people with mental health problems are treated during emergencies. This means that people will get the medical attention they need at a quicker rate.
Care and support minister Norman Lamb says that “We know that some police forces are already doing an extremely good job of handling circumstances involving mentally ill people but we want this to be the reality everywhere.
“By providing police forces with the support of health professionals we can give officers the skills they need to treat vulnerable people appropriately in times of crisis.
“We have already seen encouraging results from the other pilot sites.”
Reports from Leicestershire and Cleveland where the scheme has already been put in place say they have seen it helps the public and reduced the demand on police time.
Under current guidance, police are encouraged to take people with mental health problems to a hospital or similar location in all but exceptional circumstances; yet an investigation found detention in police cells was far from an exceptional occurrence.
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