Essex Police to trial mental health crisis car project

Police are appealing for information following the burglary

Police are appealing for information following the burglary - Credit: Archant

A pilot project to help police better support people with mental health issues has been launched in Essex.

Essex Police has teamed up with the county’s two mental health NHS trusts to run four street triage cars, one of which will be based in Colchester.

Staffed by trained officers and mental health professionals they will be available on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights from 6pm until 2am – identified as the peak times for people with mental health problems to be taken to a place of safety by police.

The cars will attend incidents where a person is thought to be in crisis and in need of urgent support or intervention.

For the rest of the week a dedicated helpline will be available between the same times.

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This will allow officers to speak to health experts to get specialist advice and support when dealing with people with mental health issues.

The pilot scheme began on Monday and will run until March 31 next year.

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It aims to reduce the number of people detained under the Mental Health Act.

Detective Chief Inspector Tom Simons from the Public Protection Command team at Essex Police said: “The street triage pilot is an innovative and proactive approach to reduce the numbers of individuals detained unnecessarily under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act and provide a better response to those in mental health crisis.”

Nationally there has been criticism of a lack of adequate facilities for people in mental health crisis.

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