PCC agrees further funding for health and social care professionals in the Bradford Police Control Room to help vulnerable adults (30 Jun 2016)

Mental health nurses and social workers will continue working in West Yorkshire Police's Bradford control room to support vulnerable people after PCC Mark Burns-Williamson agreed £90k of funding for the project, 50% of the total.

The remainder will come from the NHS and Council. The project is between Bradford District NHS Foundation Trust, Bradford Council and West Yorkshire Police.

The cash means the project will continue for a second year after the success of a pilot that involved mental health staff supporting the police hub taking calls from police officers dealing with vulnerable people. Most of the people helped by this approach have mental health issues but a range of vulnerable people can be quickly diverted to the appropriate service.

Early intervention by health and social care staff in the control room has meant a reduction in the use of Section 136 Mental Health Act (1983) that saw vulnerable adults taken into custody rather than signposted to support services and timely mental health assessments. In recent months, detentions have dropped from 25 a month, to seven per month.

That is because health and social care staff can provide immediate advice to police, access clinical records, support and allocate Appropriate Adults and provide training to officers around mental health issues, ensuring those most vulnerable are signposted into support services rather than detained.

The PCC previously agreed funding to extend a similar pilot in Leeds; and over the next 12 months he will be working with NHS and local authority partners across West Yorkshire to make sure these innovative approaches are applied consistently across the whole area.

Mr Burns-Williamson said: "I am pleased to be able to help fund this important project for another year and help those most vulnerable who can sometimes be inappropriately detained rather than signposted to relevant support services.

"With mental health staff on hand to assist officers, that added expertise will ensure we are continuing  to do all we can to help some of society's most vulnerable with timely mental health interventions, rather than police or criminal justice partners.

"Priorities in the Police and Crime Plan include reaching out to people at risk, including those with mental health issues, reducing the risk of committing crime and being the victim of crime for those with mental health problems. I will work with partners to ensure that the learning from these pilots is rolled out across the county and is one of the main reasons why I established the West Yorkshire Mental Health Forum for a consistent approach.

"With partners, we need to improve our understanding of the issues around mental health, community safety and the criminal justice system and ensure we continue with joined up working to ensure the best outcomes for those in need."

Wayne Horner, Adult Safeguarding Governance Inspector, for West Yorkshire Police, added: "West Yorkshire Police is working closely with partners to improve its response to incidents involving mental health issues and to ensure that people receive the right care. 

"We welcome the extension of this project which is helping to identify vulnerable people at an early stage and providing them with the necessary support."

Mark Trewin, Service Manager Mental Health, Bradford Council, speaking on behalf of the Bradford Local Concordat Group, said: "Bradford Council is very pleased to support the police control room project with our partners in West Yorkshire Police, Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust and the Police and Crime Commissioner. 

"Our police colleagues are often the first point of contact for people in crisis. This innovative approach is improving the outcomes for vulnerable people and the way we all work together to support people who come into contact with the police. "

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