Mental health - 1162/18

Date Responded 14 November 2018

Provision of information held by Northumbria Police made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the 'Act')

As you may be aware the purpose of the Act is to allow a general right of access to information held at the time of a request, by a Public Authority (including the Police), subject to certain limitations and exemptions.

You asked:

In response to the rising number of detentions by police under Section 136, many forces have introduced Triage schemes with Health partners.

These can be schemes where a health professionals attends incidents concerning mentally ill people in a police car with a police officer.

Alternatively there can be a mental health professional working in a force control room advising officers before they exercise their power to detain using this section.

There may be other variations which also are described as Triage schemes.

You may have created an alternative to a Triage scheme such as training a limited number of officers to a higher level to deal with such incidents. These are often called Crisis Intervention Teams.

I would like to know whether your force has any such Triage scheme. If you have can you tell me:

  1. What form/s it takes.
  2. When it started and if it is not running at present, when it finished.
  3. What coverage it has ie 24 hours a day 7 days a week, or 12 hours a day 4 days a week etc.
  4. Has your scheme been evaluated and if so is it possible for me to have a copy of the evaluation.
  5. If you do not have a Triage scheme do you have an alternative and if so could you briefly describe it.

In Response:

We have now had the opportunity to fully consider your request and I provide a response for your attention.

Following receipt of your request, searches were conducted with the Safeguarding Department of Northumbria Police. I can confirm that the information you have requested is held by Northumbria Police.

I am able to disclose the located information to you as follows.

  1. Northumbria Police run a model whereby a police officer and mental health nurse go out on patrol together in an unmarked vehicle. This enables them to provide a face to face service to help people who find themselves in crisis as well as speaking and offering direct advice over the phone. They also provide assistance and guidance to front line officers on any issues around mental health including s135 warrants, safe & well checks and missing persons.
  2. Street triage was first launched in September 2014 covering the areas of Gateshead, South Tyneside and Sunderland; following its success it was extended to cover the whole force also comprising Northumberland, North Tyneside and Newcastle in July 2015 and continues to operate.
  3. There are two teams operating across the force everyday between the hours of 1000 – 0300. (On public holidays there is only 1 team). Outside of these hours officers can contact the crisis team whom have a 24/7 single point of access for advice. Referrals to street triage are only permissible via the police control room; GPs, ambulance service etc are not allowed to contact the team directly and use them as a short cut to access mental health services.
  4. The scheme was independently evaluated by Newcastle University in 2016 and subsequently published in the British medical Journal (open) edition. Negotiations are currently on-going for a further evaluation with a focus on the service user experience.
  5. N/A
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