A pact promising to give people in times of mental health crisis a better service and more protection has been welcomed by Notts’ police and crime commissioner.
Paddy Tipping said the national agreement was ambitious but honest.
The Mental Health Crisis Care Concordat, drawn up by the Department of Health, has been signed by a spectrum of organisations involved in dealing with people suffering mental health problems.
This includes the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners.
It emphasises the importance of working in partnership and aims to end current injustices by promoting stronger relationships between health services, social care services and the police in the way they respond to sufferers.
“I warmly welcome the honesty of this agreement and its ambitious plans for reform,” said Mr Tipping.
“We share the view that greater partnership working is needed to ensure vulnerable people get the care and help they need at the outset thus maximising their ability to recover and removing any potential danger to their safety.”
The Concordat’s main four principles are:
• Access to support before crisis point.
• Urgent and emergency access to crisis care.
•The right quality of treatment and care when in crisis.
•Recovery and staying well, and preventing future crises.
Notts Police assistant chief constable Simon Torr added: “We can often arrive at incidents where there is someone presents with mental health issues. Police officers then have to make a decision on how to deal with that individual.”
“One of our core duties is to protect the public, but to arrest that person and put them in a cell will not help anyone. It does not solve the problem. It could be detrimental to their own progress and could lead to repeat incidents and often the police are not the best agency to deal.”
“Where possible we detain people under the Mental Health Act and then refer them to our partners in health. But it is not always as straight-forward as that.”
“The key to success in this area is a solid integrated partnership approach. What we require is the ability to get specialist assistance at the right time in a way that prevents unnecessary arrests and provide the best possible outcome.”
“There is always room for improvement. We have set up a team to review our existing protocols and working practices to ensure they are relevant and robust.”
Asst chief cons Torr said Notts Police was also reviewing officer training so they could better recognise and provide appropriate support to individuals with mental health issues.
The training will also help them identify signs and symptoms in themselves and their colleagues, and raise awareness of how to get help.
He added: “This Concordat is our statement of intent to work together to ensure those requiring mental health support at a time of crisis get the right services at the right time and in the right environment.”