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A GROUND breaking project to tackle the problem of front line police officers dealing with mental health

  • Published: 15-08-2017 at 10:08

A GROUND breaking project to tackle the problem of front line police officers dealing with mental health related incidents is being launched in Lincolnshire.

The county’s police and crime commissioner has agreed with Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust that a senior manager from the mental health trust will be assigned to his office to work on a new action plan.

The innovative approach by PCC Marc Jones will result in a Lincolnshire wide collaborative action plan to approach mental health and criminal justice.

In 2015/16 Lincolnshire Officers reported 2256 episodes with a mental health issue. Front line officers reportedly spend an increasing amount of time supporting the needs of people who need mental health support but more is needed to meet demand for crisis mental health care.

The plan will see Claire Darbyshire, Deputy Director of Strategy at Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust working directly for the PCC’s office for an initial period of three months.

Claire will work with a project manager to create an operational plan with clear measurable outcomes.

The actions will be developed after discussion with a variety of stakeholders across the county including local authorities, public health, NHS, police, probation services, housing associations, user groups and the voluntary sector.  

The initial proposal report points out that, while there have been collaborative individual projects, the Lincolnshire approach will be ground-breaking in scale.

According to the report there is “some evidence of innovation in Policing and Healthcare collaboration across the UK, resulting in successful discreet projects, but not on a strategically-led scale, and certainly not as part of a joint programme embedded into the strategic plans of each organization”.

PCC Marc Jones has already funded a team of nurses from the mental health Trust to be deployed in Lincolnshire Police’s control room to help officers deal with incidents involving mental health issues.

The £60,000 initiative enables mental health crisis nurses to be on hand six days a week to offer advice and help for officers dealing with situations or to direct them to alternative services.

The PCC pledged, in his latest Community Safety, Policing and Criminal Justice Plan for Lincolnshire, to “work with commissioners of mental health services to deliver a sea change in provision in Lincolnshire”.

“I am delighted to be able to work with senior executives from the county’s mental health trust to assess how we can make a very real difference to the way we deal with our most vulnerable people,” said Mr Jones.

“This is about compassionate, effective and efficient policing. It is crucial that we seek new ways to help people with complex needs so we can, where possible, avoid them needing emergency services but if they do then we deal with them sensitively and professionally.

“We need well thought-out, deliverable and measurable actions and embedding a senior health professional to work within my office is a first, but important, step.”

Dr John Brewin, Chief Executive said: “We are pleased to strengthen our partnership with the Police and Crime Commissioner so that we continue to work in an innovative way to deliver actions that will make a real difference to the most vulnerable members of our communities.”

For more information contact Jon Grubb from the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner on 07780 953575 or mjgrubb@btinternet.com