Since October 2017, a mental health professional has been present in police control rooms to assist dealing with individuals who persistently call 999. The results have been encouraging.
Working with other organisations to help individuals, the first three months of data shows that police use of section 136 of the Mental Health Act has fallen by 20 per cent. Section 136 allows police officers to remove an individual from a public place when they think an individual may be suffering from a mental illness and need care. An individual is NOT under arrest if they are detained under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act.
Along with a reduction in section 136 detentions, we have seen admission to acute mental health wards for those being detained under section 136 increased by nearly 48 per cent, demonstrating that those individuals that are detained are unwell enough to need inpatient care.
You can read a case study below showing the effectiveness of having a mental health professional in the control room…
A cause for concern job came through to the Force Control nurse asking for more information about a gentleman who had voiced thoughts to end his own life. The gentleman was well known to a local Police Support Officer (PCSO) who had assumed that he had a learning disability, however he was not known to mental health services. Advice was given by the mental health professional that Street Triage were available to conduct an assessment once the gentleman was located.
The gentleman was eventually located and the attending officer contacted Street Triage. The gentleman was living in squalor and freezing conditions and had advised the officer that he intended to overdose on his heart medication because he was so cold.
Street Triage suggested he was brought to the Crisis Assessment Suite (CAS) as it was warm and they could carry out a full assessment of his mental state and needs. He hadn’t eaten; he had no food in the house, no heating, no hot water, no washing facilities and no cooking facilities.
Street Triage staff gave him hot drinks, food and a blanket. After they spent time with him and told him that there are ways to address these issues, he said that he felt like there was hope.
After spending several hours with the gentleman, he was taken home and a follow up visit was arranged with him. Before the visit, Street Triage and CAS collected food, toiletries, bedding, towels and warm clothing. As it was over the Christmas period, he was also given a list of places that he could go for meals over the Christmas and New Year holiday period.
The team also referred the gentleman to The Recovery Advocates & Consultants (TRAC), who agreed that they would assist with his housing, gas supply and benefits and any other social issues or problems with accessing services.
Having the Force Control and Street Triage service involved massively improved the outcome for this gentleman. He gave very positive feedback and said that the team had made his Christmas. The PCSO and officers involved said that they do not know what they would have done without the service.