Mental health nurses on the beat

Police on the beat in Sussex are to be joined by mental health nurses. The pilot scheme is being funded by the Department for Health and aims to help people suffering from mental health issues rather than detaining them uneccessarily.

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'Nurse patrols' for mental illness

Nurses are to patrol alongside police officers in a bid to improve responses to mental health emergencies.

Street triage teams are to be tested in Sussex as part of an initiative funded by the Department of Health and backed by the Home Office.

It has been estimated that police officers spend between 15 to 25% of their time dealing with mental health problems - the equivalent of around 26,000 officers.

All too often the police encounter vulnerable people with mental health issues who need immediate care or longer term support which only the health service can provide.

As the Home Secretary announced recently, the roll-out of these street triage pilots are a step forward in our ongoing work with the Department of Health and police to ensure people with mental health issues are dealt with by the right emergency service.

– Damian Green, policing and criminal justice minister

The scheme aims to ensure fewer people with mental health problems are detained in the wrong environment - a problem recently outlined in a joint inspection by a number of agency watchdogs.

Force will be linked to Sussex hospitals

We have a great record of joint working with Sussex Police to provide places of safety for people who need to be detained under the Mental Health Act. We have built five places of safety linked to our hospitals, and in doing so we have reduced the numbers of people with mental health problems who end up in custody.

This wonderful scheme goes a step further. By putting mental health nurses on the beat with police officers we will provide people with help where and when they need it. This is a fantastic opportunity to put our ideas into practice. "

– Lisa Rodrigues CBE Chief Executive, Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust,


Sussex PCC says new scheme will alleviate 'strain' on officers

We have a high number of detainees in Sussex who have mental health issues and it is of concern to me, as PCC, that it should not simply be down to the police to deal with this. I welcome the fact that the Sussex NHS Partnership recognise this and are keen to share the responsibility with the police. I am pleased that the Department of Health has chosen Sussex to be a part of this programme which demonstrates that the health services and the police take these responsibilities seriously.

– Katy Bourne, Sussex Police and Commissioner

She added:

I look If Specifically Asked: forward to seeing the results of this pilot and ensuring that those with mental health issues get the very best attention they require, alleviating the strain currently put on police officers."

– Katy Bourne, Sussex Police and Commissioner

Sussex Police welcome pilot project

We welcome this announcement, and are delighted to be one of the forces selected to take part in a pilot project.

Often police are called at a time when people are at a point of crisis when other support is not immediately available. Whilst our custody centres have been modernised over the years and are designed so that we can appropriately look after people, we agree that they are not necessarily the best place for someone who is suffering from a mental health issue..."

– Sussex Deputy Chief Constable Giles York
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