The number of 999 mental health calls have shot up by nearly 60% in just three years, according to new figures released by Suffolk police.

Statistics released by Suffolk Constabulary show that 1,017 mental ill health calls were made in 2019/20 and 2,370 were made in 2022/23 - a difference of 57%.

The news comes just a few weeks after Suffolk Constabulary announced its plans to implement the 'Right Care, Right Person' (RCRP) strategy, which will see officers scaling back their attendance to calls regarding mental welfare later this year.

East Anglian Daily Times: Assistant Chief Constable Eamonn Bridger.Assistant Chief Constable Eamonn Bridger.

But the force is keen to reassure the public that "engaging" conversations are taking place behind the scenes with regards to its plans to scale back future attendance.

Assistant Chief Constable Eamonn Bridger assured the public that "protecting and keeping people safe" would remain the force's top priority.

READ MORE: Suffolk father filled with dread over plans to scale back police mental health calls

Voicing his concerns at the proposals, Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dr Dan Poulter said the plans should be "thought through very carefully and introduced over time".

Faced with these new figures, Dr Poulter added: "It is important that the police can focus their time and resources on reducing crime, but we need to recognise that this is a complex issue and finding the right solution to ensure that people in mental health crisis and distress receive the right care and support needs to be carefully thought through."

East Anglian Daily Times: Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dr Dan Poulter.Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dr Dan Poulter. (Image: Newsquest)

He described rapid changes to the current system as "undesirable," warning of "adverse outcomes" if the changes aren't phased over several months and years.

Superintendent Angus Moir is the RCRP project lead and, in light of these new statistics, he offered his reassurances that the police were "engaged" in conversations with the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, the Integrated Care Board and local councils about implementation of the strategy.