Sussex Police show support for those suffering with mental health

The number of people taken to police cells during a mental health crisis have reduced by 80 per cent in the last year.

Only 151 adults were taken to custody as a place of safety after being detained under the Mental Health Act, comparing to 765 adults in 2014 and 2015.

No children or young people aged under 18 were also taken into custody and 45 children and young people were detained during this time but were cared for at the hospital places of safety.

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These figures have been released by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) who have seen a reduction in the use of police cells across all forces.

Sussex Police has been working with Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust for three years, operating street triage teams, which started in Eastbourne, and has expanded across East and West Sussex.

This scheme sees a specially allocated police officer and a specialist mental health nurse responding to incidents where a mental health intervention is needed.

In August the Home Office announced that more than £630,000 will be awarded to mental health services in Sussex - helping to provide more facilities.

The money will fund a new crisis suite for adults, children and young people at Millview Hospital in Hove, three new facilities to manage urgent mental health care in hospitals in Eastbourne, Hastings and Crawley.

Chief Superintendent Di Roskilly said: “People suffering a mental health crisis are not criminals and a police cell is never a suitable place for them.

“We have understood this for a number of years and have been working hard with our partners at the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (SPFT) to help those in crisis gain the most suitable support.

“These figures show that even in the last year we have, with our partners, made enormous strides forward and with this extra funding to SPFT from the Home Office we can continue to make these improvements,” he added.

Facilities will be improved in West Sussex including a street triage vehicle, and a new place of safety for children and young people in Chichester, a new crisis cafe in Bognor Regis and refurbishments to two A&E departments at Worthing General Hospital and St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester to deliver improved mental health support suites within a more appropriate setting.