PCC welcomes Home Secretary’s announcement about mental health

20/05/2015

Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner, Katy Bourne is backing government plans to provide more funding to deliver more places of safety for people living with mental health issues.

The announcement that up to £15m will be made available was made by the Home Secretary during her speech at the Police Federation annual conference in Bournemouth today (20 May).

Commenting on the funding and issue of people being detained under the Mental Health Act, Mrs Bourne said: “Police cells are no place for people with a mental illness and so I welcome the commitment of more government funding.

“Dealing with the issue is a challenge for all of us, not least police officers who regularly come into contact with those living with mental illness. Vulnerable people in our society need to receive improved support and care from health professionals. They should not be greeted by police officers, handcuffed and taken to a cell but instead be seen by medical experts, who can offer them the appropriate healthcare and support.

“In Sussex, we are already leading the way with our mental health ‘street triage’ scheme, which involves police officers working alongside mental health professionals to ensure those in mental health crises are dealt with by the NHS rather than taken into police custody.

“Since the ‘street triage’ pilot started in Eastbourne in October 2013, 250 admissions to police custody have been avoided for those detained or “sectioned” under the Mental Health Act. From January 2015, a further 45 have been avoided in Hastings, ten in Crawley and 48 in Worthing.

“In April the Chief Constable announced that he has withdrawn police custody as a place of safety for children and young people under 18 who have been detained under s136 of the Mental Health Act. They are now taken to hospitals as alternative places of safety.”

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