New figures have highlighted the effectiveness of a mental health-related service that operates in Northumberland and other North East areas.
The Street Triage team of professionals from Northumbria Police and Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (NTW) make on-street assessments to ensure an individual gets the best care possible when concerns about their mental state are reported to police.
One of its main aims is to help avoid preventable detentions when using Section 136 of the Mental Health Act.
And the organisations have now revealed that the number of Section 136 detentions made in the Northumbria area has fallen from 289 in 2015 to 136 in 2016.
Prior to the introduction of the Street Triage team, police might have detained the individual until they could pass them into the care of a mental health hospital, which can take time.
Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Dame Vera Baird, said: “The triage is an excellent example of partner agencies working together to ensure those detained by officers, who are thought to have a mental health illness, receive the most appropriate police response.
“Northumbria is doing well at this and this is thanks to the drive and determination of those involved, who are committed to offering an outstanding service for vulnerable people who come into police contact.”
Claire Witten of NTW, clinical lead for the service, added: “A mental health nurse working alongside a police officer to deliver rapid intervention to those in mental health crisis, wherever they may be, has shown that together we can reduce the number of Section 136 detentions.”