Brilliant Idea – let’s hope it’s here to stay

Posted: August 25, 2015 in News
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I was delighted to hear about a new police and mental health project on this morning’s news. Leicestershire police have partnered up with mental health professionals to run the ‘Leicestershire and Rutland mental health triage car scheme’. As a result the number of people with mental illness detained in custody has fallen by two thirds in the last two years.

Mental health practioner, Emma McCann and PC Alex Crisp, part of the triage team

Mental health practioner, Emma McCann and PC Alex Crisp, part of the triage team

Mental health nurses, like Emma McCann, accompany police officers to attend incidents or advise them over the phone. This has reduced inappropriate detention and distress for both mentally ill people and officers but it has saved police time, reducing the average time spent on detaining people from 8 hours to 5. The mental health professionals are also available in custody suites for 18 hours a day, 7 days a week and provide specialist support for children and young people.


CAPSWhen more police time than ever is spent dealing with people with mental illness and HM Inspectors of Constabulary and Prisons are concerned about the large and increasing numbers detained in police cells – this is a brilliant idea. I am not surprised Leicestershire police have been piloting this groundbreaking project. When I was Regional Advisor for the Home Office in the East Midlands, it was Leicestershire police who piloted the ‘Problem Oriented Policing’ programme that I researched in Chicago (CAPS), bringing police officers and local residents together to solve local policing problems. A programme which was later rolled out around the UK. So let’s hope this initiative is here to stay and doesn’t disappear like so many other successful short term projects.



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