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The Centre for Mental Health has welcomed plans for mental health professionals to be placed in prison stations as part of a drive to reduce reoffending by mentally ill patients.
Under a £25m new pilot scheme, mental health nurses will be based in police stations and courts in ten areas across the UK:
- Avon and Wilshire
- Sunderland and Middlesbrough
- South Essex and Wakefield
Mental health nurses are to be posted in police stations and courts in a bid to reduce reoffending by mentally ill criminals, the government has announced.
The £25 million pilot will be tested in Merseyside, London, Avon and Wiltshire, Leicester, Sussex, Dorset, Sunderland and Middlesbrough, Coventry, south Essex and Wakefield.
Care and support minister Norman Lamb said the scheme will mean that people with mental health problems are treated "as early as possible" to help "divert" them away from offending again.
If successful, the measure will be rolled out across the rest of the country by 2017.
It has been estimated that police officers spend 15% to 25% of their time dealing with mental health problems - the equivalent of around 26,000 officers.