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Funding to curb use of police cells as place of safety for mental health crises announced

The first wave of funding for a £15 million programme to prevent police cells being used as a place of safety for people with mental health issues has been announced.

Police cells
Police cells Picture: Alamy

The first wave of funding for a £15 million programme to prevent police cells being used as a place of safety for people experiencing a mental health crisis has been announced.

The Department of Health is funding the creation of new places of safety and improving existing services to prevent people experiencing a mental health crisis, who have committed no crime, from being placed in the cells.

Targeted cash

Fifteen NHS trusts and partnership organisations covering 11 police force areas across England are the first recipients of the funding, for projects including new places of safety and vehicles for mobile street triage services to responding to mental health crises in the community.

The money has been targeted where use of police cells as a place of safety has previously been among the highest in the country.

Projects include:

  • A new 4 bed health-based place of safety in Avon and Wiltshire.
  • Crisis vehicles for driving vulnerable people in the East Midlands.
  • A safe place within the paediatric ward at the emergency department at Torbay Hospital in South Devon.
  • A new crisis house offering short stays and support in Somerset.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt said he was committed to improving mental health services: ‘When a person is in crisis they need the right care in the right place and at the right time.

‘We are fully committed to improving mental health services across the country and these projects will help support people at a crucial time.'

The government has also opened the bidding process for the remaining funding to the rest of England.

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