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Commissioner pledges continued funding for force control room based mental health nurses

TO MARK World Mental Health Day, Police and Crime Commissioner, Jason Ablewhite has today committed to continue funding three mental health nurses based in the Cambridgeshire Constabulary force control room where 999 calls are taken.

The Integrated Mental Health Team, who are commissioned from Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT), provide officers with real time clinical advice on the best way to support and keep safe people in suspected mental health crisis. The expert advice means that call handlers, police officers and staff can identify calls where mental health may be an issue make informed decisions on how to respond.

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The team were initially funded for a year as part of the partnership response to the county’s Mental Health Crisis Care Concordat. However, the professional advice and guidance nurses have been providing has not only ensured people receive the right care at the right time from the right service, but has saved officer time too. Over 800 instances have been supported by team in the first year, freeing up frontline police officers to attend other calls.

The Commissioner will now be working in partnership with the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group to merge the Integrated Mental Health Team into their wider model of support services. The Clinical Commissioning Group has enhanced the ‘First Response’ provision for people in mental health crisis over the past year through significant additional investment.

Police and Crime Commissioner, Jason Ablewhite, said: “World Mental Health Day seemed the perfect day to share my decision to continue the funding of this service.

“While this is clearly only one part of the wider partnership response to improving the provision of support for people in suspected mental health crisis it does enable officers and staff, who often become the first point of contact, to improve the response they provide. 

“I have been speaking to senior colleagues within the Constabulary and Clinical Commissioning Group to ensure that we work together to safeguard the dignity of those facing mental health problems, giving them the best chance of returning to full health. There is always more work to do but I am confident this service in particular is really making a difference.”

Sarah Warner, Chief Operating Officer for CPFT, which provides mental health and community health services, said: “We welcome the Commissioner’s on-going commitment to have staff from our Integrated Mental Health Team working directly alongside officers from Cambridgeshire Police.

“Frontline police officers often have to deal with incidents involving members of the public having a mental health crisis.

“But they now have a direct line to our staff who can advise on the most appropriate help in the quickest possible time.”