Wrexham Street Triage Pilot
An innovative scheme which cares for those in mental health crisis during police incidents is being piloted in Wrexham.
The Wrexham Street Triage is a collaborative approach between North Wales Police and Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, working together to ensure front line officers are able to access relevant information and expertise when dealing with members of the public in mental health crisis.
The team are on hand to enable police officers to access relevant information to help them make the best decision to ensure the individual is safe and receives the most appropriate support or treatment in the least restrictive way.
North Wales Police are looking to ensure that any detentions under the Mental Health Act are appropriate and fully informed.
The pilot project operates at predicted times of high demand, from 6pm to 2am on a Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and is supported in part by the Police Innovation Fund until 2017. It enables the team to better respond to incidents where there is a cause for concern that a person may have mental health problems.
A similar scheme has already proved successful in other areas across the UK including parts of the Dyfed Powys force area, with improved decision making for officers and NHS resources being utilised appropriately, thus resulting in better management of risk and more appropriate service being provided to those in mental health crisis.
Chief Inspector Simon Williams said: “Police are often first on the scene at an incident. We often have little choice but to detain the person until health treatment can be provided. The idea of the Triage is to make sure officers are fully informed when having to make such difficult decisions, and ultimately that the person receives the appropriate care.”
“A partnership between the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board and North Wales Police is an innovative alternative; it provides the most appropriate service to people with issues relating to their mental health at the earliest opportunity – and saves time and money for the police, ambulance and health services.”
Sam Watson, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board service manager for the project, said: “The project is all about trying to get clinical expertise to people at the earliest possible opportunity.”
“By working in partnership with our colleagues in North Wales Police, we’re making safer and more efficient care for people that need it at the point of crises.”
“Since the project launched, there have been numerous examples of cases where people have avoided being detained unnecessarily just by having the right consultation and guidance available.”
At a time of reducing public sector budgets and ever increasing demand, the vision for the project is to make innovative steps to adapt collaborative working to better support people experiencing a crisis in their mental health. This was reflected in the Welsh Mental Health Crisis Concordat which was launched on December 10 by the Welsh Government.
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