PCC joins Home Secretary at launch of new Mental Health project

10/03/2015

Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner, Katy Bourne, lent her support at the launch of a new initiative to provide more suitable places in Sussex for people detained under the Mental Health Act.

The Home Secretary met with the Commissioner and other partners including the Sussex Partnership Foundation Trust, in Horsham at the Richmond Fellowship residential care home, which will run the Home Office-funded pilot.

Commenting on the project Mrs Bourne said: “I welcome this new scheme as it will provide additional capacity and reduce the use of police cells as a place of safety and provide a better experience for people who are detained pending a mental health assessment.

“Police cells are no place for people with a mental illness. Mental health issues affect a large number of people across all sections of society. Those who live with this illness are also disproportionately more likely to be victims of crime.

“Sussex Police already run a successful ‘street triage’ pilot scheme, involving police officers working with mental health professionals to ensure people suffering mental health crises are dealt with by the NHS rather than taken into police custody.

“In December 2014 I signed the Sussex declaration of the national Mental Health Crisis Care Concordat along with the Chief Constable and senior health leaders.

“This declaration, which is part of the nationally shared Concordat, sets out how partners will work together to support people experiencing mental health issues in Sussex. Improved information sharing and partnership working, prevention and early intervention are some of the commitments set out in the declaration.

“Vulnerable people in our society need to receive improved support and care from health professionals as well as the police. They should not be greeted by police officers, handcuffed and taken to a cell but instead be seen by medical experts, who can offer them the appropriate healthcare and support.”

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