Cleveland Police is supporting national Mental Health Awareness Week “Be Mindful” starting today (Monday 11th May).
The force hopes to bring mental health issues to public consciousness, showcasing the successful steps it has taken to protect vulnerable people who come into contact with police and the criminal justice system.
Police and partners in the health service, the courts, probation and housing providers have worked together to identify early on those with mental health issues, and a Tees-wide Crisis-care Concordat action plan has also been implemented to ensure each organisation is doing all it possibly can to help those who are vulnerable.
After concerted efforts by Cleveland Police and mental health specialists, hardly anyone detained under the Mental Health act is taken into police custody now. People in mental health crisis are almost always taken to another appropriate place of safety rather than being taken automatically into custody.
Custody is now used only as a last resort where it is in the best interest of the person, and to prevent risk to others.
Capacity and staffing levels at Roseberry Park have also been improved so anyone taken there by police or ambulance can be assessed and helped more quickly, with the right staff on hand to help.
Another initiative by Cleveland Police means offenders with mental health disorders or other learning disabilities are helped by Arrest Referral Teams which initiate a multiagency approach to referring people detained by police into appropriate drug, alcohol, welfare, housing, mental health and education support.
There is also a team of NHS staff called the Liaison and Diversion service (L&D) based within police custody who support individuals, who may have learning disabilities, substance misuse, mental health issues or other vulnerabilities, navigate through the criminal justice process whilst providing justice staff with key information to support decision making. The L&D service operates as early as possible within the justice process with the aim to reduce the likelihood of individuals reoffending and providing them with access to treatment or support if required.
PCC Barry Coppinger said: “I am proud to support Mental Health Awareness Week and to demonstrate the high priority we place on supporting some of the most vulnerable people police come into contact with.
“It’s vital that vulnerable people are identified early on in the judicial system so police and partners can offer them appropriate professional support and safeguarding in custody, before and during court and during any bail period afterwards.
“In general terms, we have helped and supported many people in custody who have learning or communication difficulties, mental health issues, or substance misuse problems among others.
“L&D has also helped people with financial or accommodation needs and education, employment or training requirements. Taking this holistic approach to helping vulnerable people not only benefits them, but the agencies supporting them and the wider community.”
Assistant Chief Constable Simon Nickless said: “We are working together to put in place the principles of the National Concordat to improve the system of care and support so that people in crisis because of a mental health condition are kept safe.
“We will make sure we provide the right care at the right time from the right people to make sure of the best outcomes. And through intervening at an early stage, we will work together to prevent crises arising whenever possible.”
“All agencies who sign up to this declaration are working towards developing ways of sharing information to help front line staff provide better responses to people in crisis.
“We are responsible for delivering this commitment in Cleveland by putting in place, reviewing and regularly updating the action plan.”
Posted on Monday 11th May 2015