Mental Healthcare Practitioners and Police Join Services This Summer

Thursday, 22 May, 2014

In support of Mental Health Awareness Week, Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill and Dorset Police have announced plans to pilot a street triage service starting at the end of June, which will enhance the existing mental health service.

The 12 month pilot will take place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights and will see mental health practitioners support officers across Dorset where the Police believe people need immediate mental health support. The aim is to ensure that people get the appropriate medical attention and care they need as quickly as possible.

As part of the Street Triage service, mental health practitioners will conduct a telephone triage service to support police officers out on patrol, assist officers when they are responding to emergency calls and give advice to staff in police control rooms. At the request of the Police, the mental health practitioners will also attend incidents in the Weymouth and Bournemouth/Poole conurbations from their base at Weymouth and Bournemouth Police Station and triage people of all ages, whether they have learning disabilities, personality disorder, substance misuse, or mental health issues and also liaise with other agencies for continued support afterwards.

This scheme will divert people from the Criminal Justice System when appropriate and provide access to community based services thereby ensuring that their health and social care needs are known and provided for by appropriate services.

Dorset Police and Crime commissioner Martyn Underhill said: “It is crucial that people with mental health problems get the right care as quickly as possible in emergency situations. With the support of health professionals, officers will have the assistance they need to treat vulnerable people appropriately in times of crisis. This is a huge step forwards in our partnership work between health services and the police.”

Chief Inspector Sarah Derbyshire from Dorset Police said: “Dorset Police have a crucial role in working with and supporting people with mental health problems. Officers may be the first to respond to urgent situations involving people with mental health problems and have to make quick decisions to assess the situation as well as the needs of the individuals involved. I believe that by working together we can improve the way mental health sufferers are dealt with, getting them the help they need as quickly as possible.”

Stan Sadler is a Mental Health Practitioner. He said: “Dorset Healthcare NHS University Foundation Trust is grateful for the opportunity to work in close collaboration with Dorset Police. Current mental health and learning disability Liaison and Diversion provision, as part of the national initiative, operating in Dorset, will be enhanced even further with the introduction of the street triage service.

“The opportunity to work in partnership with Dorset Police will prove of significant benefit to the provision of intervention to vulnerable people presenting in crisis situations when affected by mental health difficulties. It is our expectation that we reduce the inappropriate use of police cells as places of safety and promote effective pathways of diversion in support of improved health and social functioning at the earliest opportunity.”

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