CPFT staff on patrol with police officers to support those in mental health crisis | News

CPFT staff on patrol with police officers to support those in mental health crisis

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

Staff from Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust – the organisation which provides mental health care and treatment - are 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 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 avoid police using their powers to detain people, or unnecessary conveying to hospital.

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. This allows vital resource to be allocated to other ongoing incidents.

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.”

The vehicles are on patrol from 3pm - 11pm Sunday to Thursday and 5pm - 1am Friday to Saturday. The first patrol car has dealt with around 50 incidents a month. The patrol cars are not solely designated towards mental health incidents and are directed to deal with other emergencies and situations as they arise.

Detective Inspector Dan Cooper said: “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 resource.

“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 & Peterborough Integrated Care System said: “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-centred approach to someone’s mental health especially when a crisis situation can be de-escalated, and people can be supported at home."

Pictured above is PC Rich Jenkins with advance nurse practitioner Gemma Harlow.


For more information contact:
Andy Burrows
Deputy Head of Communications

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