Costessey deaths: Fears over police's planned Right Care, Right Person mental health policy

Flowers laid near the house in Costessey, near Norwich, where four members of the same family were found dead. Credit: PA
Flowers laid near the home where four members of the same family were found dead in Costessey, near Norwich. Credit: Press Association

Campaigners have said that the deaths of four members of the same family prove mental health support is not good enough for a plan by police to stop responding to some 999 calls.

The Right Care, Right Person policy was due to be rolled out across Norfolk next month following similar schemes elsewhere in the country.

It would see people in need of mental health support who had called 999 being directed to a more appropriate service.

In the case of calls where there was a risk to life, or the threat of serious harm, police would still attend.

Kanticha Sukpengpanao, her brother-in-law Bartlomiej Kuczynski, and his children Jasmin Kuczynska and Natasha Kuczynska were found dead. Credit: Facebook / family photos

But following the deaths of four people in Costessey, near Norwich, last week, Norfolk Police has confirmed the policy is now under review.

The bodies of Bartlomiej Kuczynski, 45, his daughters 12-year-old Jasmin Kuczynska and eight-year-old Natasha Kuczynska. and their aunt Kanticha Sukpengpanao, 36, were found in a house on Friday morning.

It later emerged a call had been made from the property just an hour earlier but police had failed to respond.

Mark Harrison, from the Campaign to Save Mental Health Services in Norfolk and Suffolk, said campaigners had been calling on police to abandon plans for the Right Care, Right Person policy for months.

"The right people aren't there," he said. "They don't exist. That's why it is so irresponsible.

"This case illustrates, before it's even operational, why it's such a stupid and irresponsible programme."

Mark Harrison, chair of the Campaign to Save Mental Health Services in Norfolk and Suffolk Credit: ITV Anglia

The campaign group was set up 10 years ago following cuts to mental health services which, according to them, left the most vulnerable without adequate support.

Norfolk and Suffolk Mental Health Trust, which run services in the area, has been in and out of special measures in recent years.

Mr Harrison said with community services cut back, and the ambulance service also struggling to cope, it was no wonder people in mental health crisis turned to the police.

The Independent Office for Police Conduction (IOPC), which is now investigating Norfolk Police's response, confirmed Mr Kuczynski had expressed concerns about his mental health but was told to seek medical advice.

Norfolk Police confirmed the Right Care, Right Person policy had not yet been introduced in the county. A spokesman said the force was "looking to introduce [it] in February" but that it "is currently under review".

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