By Peter Makossah
Derbyshire Police in collaboration with the NHS have launched a new mental health street triage service in a bid to improve the way people in mental health crisis are treated in emergency situations.
The scheme, which was trialled last year across the county was deemed a success and have seen police officers and mental health professionals from Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundations Trust deployed together to incidents, where it is felt someone may need immediate mental health support.
One of the main aims of the scheme is to ensure that people are directed to the right service for the help they require, it will also ensure response officers are released from the incidents to allow them to respond to other emergency calls.
Chief Inspector Glenn Hoggard, who is the mental health lead for the force said: “The feedback from the trial ran last year was overwhelmingly positive.
“The number of calls made to the police often involve a mental health element and in many cases the police are not the most appropriate agency to be leading on the response.
“The introduction of this triage service will ensure that response officers can return to other calls for service and are not tied up for hours dealing with an incident.”
Derbyshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Angelique Foster has co-funded the triage service which will have four dedicated officers.
The triage cars will operate from 4pm until midnight, seven days a week, with one car allocated to the north of the county and one to the south.
The team, who will be in constant contact with the county’s mental health helpline team and police control room, will attend mental health related incidents and provide on-scene assessments and divert people to the most appropriate care pathway, including crisis alternatives to hospital.
“The introduction of this triage service will ensure that response officers can return to other calls for service and are not tied up for hours dealing with an incident.”Chief Inspector Glenn Hoggard