POLICE and Crime Commissioner, Donna Jones, has launched a pivotal mental health deployment coordinator role to better help those facing a mental health crisis.

This newly created post within the police's control room will see calls from vulnerable individuals professionally assessed to determine the appropriate support agency.

This move aims to alleviate the pressure on officers who have often been pulled away from frontline duties to deal with such crises.

The role, funded by the commissioner's office, is being trialled in association with the South Central Ambulance Service, with an overarching mission to reduce the demand on police forces.

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It aligns to the police's primary focus of fighting crime and building safer communities.

Notably, the initiative was launched during Mental Health Awareness Week, running from May 13 to May 19, 2024.

The role supports the Right Care Right Person (RCRP) scheme introduced in July 2023, which involves the local NHS, ambulance trusts and local authorities.

This national partnership across England and Wales is anticipated to save around one million police officer hours annually.

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The new role's effectiveness in reducing police time and officer hours will be closely monitored.

PCC Donna Jones said: “The rise in the number of calls coming in that are related to people who are experiencing a mental health crisis is growing every year. That’s putting a lot of pressure on police resources and police time.

“A trained mental health coordinator working in the control room will triage calls swiftly to identify the right agency to support the person in need thereby allowing more police time to be available to respond to the crimes.

“The police are seldom the appropriate first agency to respond to those suffering mental health episodes. My ambition is to free up police time, increasing their ability to respond to crimes whilst ensuring those in need receive compassionate support from health professionals.”