Nurses could soon join police officers on patrol in Scarborough following an announcement North Yorkshire had been chosen to pilot a new mental health scheme.
The project aims to improve responses to mental health emergencies and ensure fewer people with a mental illness are detained in the wrong environment, the Government says.
Funded by the Department of Health and backed by the Home Office, the street triage scheme is to be tested in the North Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Devon and Cornwall, and Sussex force areas.
The move comes after it was revealed the county’s first “place of safety” would open in Scarborough by October. It will mean people with mental health conditions will now be treated more quickly and by health professionals rather than being held in police cells for up to 24 hours without the necessary care.
North Yorkshire’s Chief Constable Dave Jones said: “I very much welcome the opportunity for North Yorkshire Police to take part in the street triage pilot.
“We recognise that more can - and should - be done to improve the all-round service for people with mental health issues who find themselves in contact with the police.
“This is reflected in the ongoing efforts in North Yorkshire to provide ‘places of safety’ away from police cells.
“By having mental health professionals working directly alongside our officers, this will help to ensure the most appropriate assistance and treatment is available at the earliest opportunity.”
Home Secretary Theresa May recently said one of the biggest blocks to officers was time taken up dealing with people with mental health problems. It has been estimated they spend between 15-25 per cent of their time dealing with such situations.
Julia Mulligan, Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire, said: “It is vitally important that people with mental health problems receive the very best care and support when they come into contact with the police in North Yorkshire. I’m grateful to the Department of Health for choosing North Yorkshire to test this new and innovative way of working.”