Specialist Mental Health Co-ordinator Assists Force Control Room

A dedicated Mental Health Co-ordinator has been temporarily based in Cleveland Police’s control room as the force and Tees Esk and Wear Valleys (TEWV) NHS Foundation Trust trial new ways of supporting people with mental ill health.

Designed to reduce demand on police officers where mental health is an underlying factor in an incident, the trial also aimed to ensure victims received the most appropriate support during and after an incident.

The Co-ordinator, who is a trained mental health professional, worked in the Control Room between 1pm and 11pm seven days a week between Monday 12th and Monday 26th September as part of the pilot scheme.

The Co-ordinator assessed and evaluated incoming events or incidents involving people with mental ill health and, where appropriate, worked to resolve them without the need to involve police. 

This was often achieved with the expertise of Street Triage Teams who support police officers by working with people experiencing mental ill health who come into contact with the police.  They help them avoid going into police custody when this may not be the most appropriate place for them, instead arranging the appropriate care and treatment they need.

Where this couldn’t be achieved, the Co-ordinator advised Control Room staff and supervisors on how to successfully resolve an incident.

Supt Alison Jackson, Head of Cleveland Police Control Room said: “The Co-ordinator role trial was a pivotal one which added real value to the service provided by our control room staff and supervisors.

“Our police officers are regularly called to incidents where mental health illnesses are a factor and although we will always seek to provide a professional, speedy and appropriate response, we are not mental health professionals.  Having the Co-ordinator sit alongside our staff meant we had an expert on hand which contributed to us achieving the best possible outcome for everyone involved.

“Working in partnership with TEWV means a more tailored and effective service for those with mental health issues and for the wider public.” 

Lisa Taylor, head of service for offender health at TEWV added “We have for many years now had a great working relationship with Cleveland Police, to provide support and guidance to their officers. This pilot scheme was another way of ensuring that we not only continued to support police officers on the street make best use of their time, but that we also provided a professional and quick response to people who needed it.

“The street triage and liaison and diversion schemes have already reduced the number of people needing to be unnecessarily detained in custody and by having a coordinator based in the control room we could react even quicker and in many cases offer advice and support on the spot.”