Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner Hardyal Dhindsa yesterday (25 June) welcomed the success of improvements to mental health care in policing but said stronger partnerships were needed to develop services further.
The Commissioner was presented with a series of reports at his Strategic Priorities Assurance Board meeting on the progress of Derbyshire police’s mental health provision since the Mental Health Crisis Care Concordat was signed by the force and its partners in 2014.
The Concordat is a national agreement setting out how organisations should work together to better help those in mental health crisis and since its launch, Derbyshire has implemented a host of improvements including the development of a Mental Health Triage Hub (MHTH) based within the force control room at police HQ.
The hub, which runs from 4pm until midnight seven-days-a-week, is made up of qualified mental health nurses and social care workers who review mental-health related police incidents and their own health records to advise officers’ dealing with those experiencing mental health problems or learning difficulties.
The aim of the hub is to reduce the number of inappropriate section 136 detentions (laws which allow police to detain an individual with mental health problems and take them to an appropriate place of safety) and divert unnecessary attendance at A&E departments.
Other improvements include the launch of Liaison and Diversion (L&D) services in custody facilities in November 2016 to provide critical information to police and partners such as the youth offending service and probation to best meet the needs of vulnerable people who come into contact with the criminal justice system.
As a result of the ongoing improvement work, the force has now eradicated the use of police cells for people experiencing mental health crisis in favour of more appropriate, health-based places of safety.
Commenting after today’s meeting at Police HQ in Ripley, Mr Dhindsa said: “I’m impressed by the vast improvements made, particularly the fact that people in the grip of a mental health crisis are no longer being kept in a police cell as a place of safety but given the appropriate healthcare they need in the best setting for their needs.
“The triage system has been especially effective in ensuring officers on the ground have access to professional health support however I’m keen to expand the operating hours of this service further.
“There’s also further scope to strengthen partnership work and bring all interested parties including Clinical Commissioning Groups, probation and blue-light colleagues together to identify workable goals and focus our action. There are close links between mental illness and alcohol and drug use and we need experienced practitioners to help us keep the momentum of progress going and achieve the kind of results we’ve seen with my City Centre Summit.
“In view of this I’ve called for substance misuse practitioners to be also based in the Triage Hub, challenging our public health commissioners and providers of mental health and learning disability services in the city and county to join this innovative resource and deliver joined-up services for the most complex individuals whether they are a victim or perpetrator.
“I’m very much looking forward to the Prime Minister’s promised £20billion investment in the NHS to take mental health provision forward and better support police to do the job they are trained and tasked to complete.”
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Posted on Tuesday 26th June 2018