Stephen Kelsey, Susan Redshaw, Susan Duffy, Donna Short, Phil Strange and Barry Coppinger - Police and Crime Commissioner
As the Police and Crime Commissioner and Cleveland Police continue to support National Mental Health Awareness Week, the force has unveiled details of other ways vulnerable people are supported by police and partners.
They have already launched a multiagency concordat which will ensure all agencies adhere to agreed practice when dealing with people with mental health issues.
Cleveland Police and Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Trust Street Triage introduced the first Street Triage service in 2012, where mental health nurses attending incidents alongside officers to assess the mental health of often vulnerable people. The team also trains police officers in mental health awareness, equipping them with wider knowledge and understanding of issues surrounding and affecting those with mental health issues.
Nursing staff operate as a team between 12 noon and midnight seven days a week with the aim of reducing the number of detentions under the Mental Health Act. Street Triage has seen a great deal of success in that hardly any people detained now come into police custody, going instead to another place of safety.
In the year to March 2015 the team assessed 361 people across Cleveland, with only 7 of these people (1.9%) detained under the mental health act.
Many of the people who come into contact with the team are not deemed to have a mental health issue requiring hospital treatment, but many of them are suffering low level issues with their mental health or other issues which make them potentially vulnerable – drug and alcohol use, housing and finance or relationship problems. The team supports people and can refer them to other agencies for help, advice and support.
The service has received national recognition, with visits from other forces and Mental Health Trusts keen to use the Street Triage Model developed in Cleveland.
Another successful initiative is Liaison and Diversion (L&D) which is about early assessment of arrestees’ physical and mental health and wellbeing in custody - and through the criminal justice process.
Diverting people from offending - with a focus on rehabilitation and preventing re-offending – is a priority in Barry Coppinger’s Police and Crime Plan 2015-2017.
And Mr Coppinger showcased Cleveland’s success at an L&D event in Durham last month, where regional experts in policing, health, court and youth services met to share best practice to identify any gaps in provision so they can be addressed.
Mr Coppinger said: “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.
“L&D is in its early stages however the signs are promising. 97% of young people accepted - when offered - L&D services.
“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.
“Over 1,770 adults and 268 young people engaged with L&D Services in the last 12 months and it has now been confirmed that Cleveland is to be included in Wave 2 of the rollout of L&D, having previously been one of the pilot forces. I’m sure we will continue to see success in this area.”
Posted on Tuesday 12th May 2015