Mental health nurses will accompany police officers to some emergencies in a new ‘street triage’ pilot scheme.
West Yorkshire Police is one of five forces that will take part in the pilot, aimed at improving the way people with mental health problems are treated in emergencies.
The scheme will ensure that people who need immediate mental health support will get the medical attention they need as quickly as possible.
As part of the scheme, mental health nurses will support police officers while they are out on patrol, assist officers when they are responding to emergency calls and give advice to staff in police control rooms.
British Transport Police are also taking part in the street triage trial, which has already been established in Leicestershire and Cleveland.
Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb said: “Making sure people with mental health problems get the right assessment, care and treatment they need as quickly as possible is really important, especially in emergency situations.
“We know that some police forces are already doing an extremely good job of handling circumstances involving mentally ill people but we want this to be the reality everywhere. By providing police forces with the support of health professionals we can give officers the skills they need to treat vulnerable people appropriately in times of crisis.
“We have already seen encouraging results from the other pilot sites and I am excited that these five additional police forces are trialling this important scheme.”
Director of Nursing, Vivienne Bennett said: “Nurses play an invaluable role in helping people with mental health problems and these new street triage pilots will make sure that people get the help and assessments they need as quickly as possible in times of crisis.
“By doing this it ensures people needing assistance are in the right environment and have access to better treatment and care. This is a great example of collaborative working and better integration of services.”