4th July 2020

Police & Crime Commissioner starts work on mental health support promise

Supporting people in mental health crisis was the focus of a conference organised by Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens today.

Representatives from the NHS, Avon and Somerset Police and charities were all invited to take part in the conference at The Station, Bristol. The event was opened by Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens and Wiltshire Police and Crime Commissioner Angus Macpherson with guest speaker Lord Victor Adebowale, Chief Executive of the charity Turning Point.

Following the launch of the Government’s national Mental Health Concordat in February, emergency services including the NHS will now develop a local action plan to discuss how to care and support people with mental health problems.

Sue Mountstevens, who has already begun work with local partners to look at what action is needed to help people in mental health crisis, said: “I want to see all partners working much more closely together to ensure people with mental health problems receive the right care, at the right time and in the right place.

“Mental health is a huge issue across the whole of the UK. The Concordat was the first important national step to realising this, but we have a lot of work to do locally.

“Today’s conference was the first step I would hope in the next six months we can come to an agreement between all the partners about how best to support people in mental health crisis in Avon and Somerset. We all want to get to a point where we stop people with mental health issues being locked up by the police.”

The National Mental Health Concordat set out principles around the use of police cells for detaining people under section 136 of the Mental Health Act.

The section 136 legislation was designed so that police cells would only be used exceptionally as a place of safety. In Avon and Somerset in 2012-13 1086 people were detained under the Mental Health Act and 646 of those ended up in a police cell.

Sue Mountstevens will be a leading partner in delivering the local action plan which will deliver the Concordat’s goals.