The street triage scheme sees mental health nurses accompany officers to incidents where police believe people need immediate mental health support. The aim is to ensure that people get the medical attention they need as quickly as possible.
Initial reports from established street triage schemes in Leicestershire and Cleveland show that it can help to keep people out of custodial settings and reduce the demands on valuable police time.
As part of the scheme, mental health nurses will:
Support police officers while they are out on patrol
Assist officers when they are responding to emergency calls
Give advice to staff in police control rooms
The five new police forces that the Department of Health will be working with are:
British Transport Police
West Yorkshire Police
West Midlands Police
Thames Valley Police
In launching these new pilot sites, Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb said:
Making sure people with mental health problems get the right assessment, care and treatment they need as quickly as possible is really important, especially in emergency situations.
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 and I am excited that these five additional police forces are trialling this important scheme.
North Yorkshire, Sussex, Derbyshire and Devon and Cornwall police forces have already been selected as pilot sites for this scheme; they have begun setting up their pilots this summer.
Minister of State for Policing and Criminal Justice Damian Green said:
These pilots will help ensure people with serious mental health issues are given the appropriate care and support, while ensuring police officers’ time is freed up to fight crime.
They also show the good partnership work going on between health services and the police to ensure people with mental health issues are dealt with by the right emergency service.
Director of Nursing, Vivienne Bennett said:
Nurses play an invaluable role in helping people with mental health problems and these new street triage pilots will make sure that people get the help and assessments they need as quickly as possible in times of crisis.
By doing this it ensures people needing assistance are in the right environment and have access to better treatment and care. This is a great example of collaborative working and better integration of services.
- Places of safety should typically be hospitals, residential care homes or the home of a relative or friend of the person. A police station should only be used as a “place of safety” as a last resort.