Mental Health Staff Team Up With Police On Callouts In Two UK Cities

A new initiative has been given the go-ahead in Peterborough that provides mental health help and support when the police are called out to people in crisis.

Details of the Initiative

As first reported by the Peterborough Telegraph, staff from the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust in the United Kingdom, the organization which provides mental health care and treatment in the cities of Cambridge and Peterborough in the east of England, will be riding alongside police in two specialist response cars.

The first mental health response car began operating last year as part of a pilot project, and now due to that success, a second vehicle is now on the streets.
The project, funded by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Integrated Care System, means that expert support is on hand that can help calm a situation and, in many cases, can prevent police from using their powers to detain people or unnecessarily conveying them to hospital.

Early intervention

As well as ensuring people in mental health crisis receive specialist care as soon as possible, the scheme also significantly decreases the amount of time police officers spend at each incident, which allows the vital resources to be allocated to other ongoing incidents.

Speaking about the expansion of the service, Jamie Secker, Service Manager at CPFT, said,

“Many incidents that police get called out to involve someone with a mental health issue, so to have our practitioners working alongside frontline officers is a very welcome move.

Our staff can offer instant expert support to someone who is experiencing a mental health crisis. Having a nurse who knows what to do often puts people at ease when they’re feeling at their most vulnerable.

We recognise that police officers are stretched, so if we’re able to speed up some of the processes and take on some of the referral paperwork, it frees them up to do other important tasks. We’re really proud of this partnership, and the feedback we’ve had from the people we’ve been called out to has been really encouraging.”

When is the service available?

The vehicles are on patrol from 15:00 until 23:00 on Sundays to Thursdays and from 17:00 until 01:00 on Fridays and Saturdays.

The first patrol car has dealt with around 50 incidents a month so far. The patrol cars are not solely designated for mental health incidents and are directed to deal with other emergencies and situations as they arise.

Detective Inspector Dan Cooper said of the service,

“When people are experiencing a mental health crisis, they need specialist care as soon as possible. This scheme allows that to happen and also helps to free up vital policing resources.

The mental health practitioners have been invaluable during the pilot scheme. Without them on hand, often officers would have to either take the person in crisis to A&E and wait with them or use policing powers to section the person. With so many hours of officers’ time taken up dealing with incidents which involve mental health, and demand for our services at an all-time high, the extension of this scheme is excellent news that benefits everyone.”


Louis Kamfer, Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Strategic Commissioning at the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Integrated Care System, added,

“This is a great example of partnership working that is making a real difference in our communities. Not only does it show what we can achieve when our services work together, but it also provides a better person-centered approach to someone’s mental health, especially when a crisis situation can be de-escalated and people can be supported at home.”

A positive move that should be adopted elsewhere

The expansion of this service is undoubtedly a positive move by the local authority involved to assist those interactions with the police that may include an element of mental health issues or where the individual could use some support on what might be the worst day of their lives.
My Mind News welcomes this initiative and would like to see other local authorities rolling it out elsewhere, both in the UK and beyond. Early intervention can lead to more positive outcomes for those in distress, particularly where police involvement may be secondary to the help that is actually required by the situation.

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