Search

Pilot scheme will put mental health teams into prisons for first time

10:57 25 April 2014

The scheme was launched in Haringey.

The scheme was launched in Haringey.

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Mental health nurses are being placed in police stations and courts for the first time as part of a major pilot scheme launched in Haringey.

The pilot, which was officially launched at Haringey Civic Centre this month, will see teams of psychiatric nurses permanently based at courts and police stations across Camden and Haringey.

The aim is to improve the way people with mental health problems are dealt with by the criminal justice system.

It is hoped vulnerable people who are arrested or taken into police custody can get the help and treatment they need much more quickly, with assessments and referrals taking place at the earliest opportunity.

It comes amid concern about the numbers of people detained under the Mental Health Act who are thrown into police cells rather than put into the care of health professionals.

The Care Quality Commission highlighted the problem last week when it released new figures that showed 35 per cent of people sectioned in the financial year 2012/13 ended up in police cells, despite legislation requiring this to happen only as a last resort. For children under the age of 18, the figure was 45 per cent.

Marjorie Wallace, chief executive of the mental health charity SANE and a Highgate resident, said: “People in acute crisis may be suicidal or otherwise at risk and they urgently need care, not confinement in a police cell.

“They need compassion instead of being strip-searched and treated as criminals.

“They may feel doubly punished, first by their condition and then by being treated as if they were criminals. If this were happening to people with a physical condition there would be a national outcry.

“We welcome these pilot schemes because too often police have been picking up the pieces where psychiatric services have failed mentally ill people. We hope that mental health nurses will reduce the shocking numbers of people being detained in this way.”

The trial will last 18 months and includes Kentish Town, Holborn and Wood Green police stations and Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court, which deals with most Camden defendants and many from Haringey.

The NHS says it will reduce the burden on the justice system by saving police and court time. It will help young offenders in particular, about a third of whom are estimated to have mental health needs.

Mark Landy, of Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health Trust, said: “There’ll be a nurse situated in every custody suite and it’s that nurse’s job to assess the immediate needs of the person in the custody suite, managing that risk and making sure they’re safe whilst they’re there.”

Ch Supt Chris Bourlet, of the Met, said: “This is a very positive initiative. We know people coming into police custody are more likely to suffer from mental health issues.

“By working in partnership, we can make sure those people get the most appropriate on-going support when they leave, by finding longer term solutions to health issues which may stop people coming back into police custody in the future.”

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

Yesterday, 18:00

Plans to stack phone masts on top of a block of flats in Belsize Park have been making waves with angry residents

Yesterday, 17:38

A popular cafe in Waterlow Park is being dismantled prompting an outpouring of grief from customers who lined up to pay tribute to its charismatic owner

Yesterday, 16:00

Alexandra Park and Palace will decide tonight whether to apply for an events licence for the park, prompting fears over noise pollution and public access

Yesterday, 15:39

Actor and active animal welfare campaigner Peter Egan will compere a sparkling fundraising evening in aid of Mayhew International at Burgh House

Best-selling author Kathy Lette has slammed Royal Mail after private post for her and her barrister husband Geoffrey Robertson was found dumped in a street in West Hampstead.

Yesterday, 12:57

Supporters of Burgh House gathered for an afternoon tea to raise funds for the upkeep of the Grade I-listed building.

Yesterday, 10:35

The London Fire Brigade hosed down the car just outside a disabled parking bay in a residential street

Wed, 17:25

Anger over the proposed cycle-superhighway CS-11 has fuelled calls for Hampstead to become an independent parish council, granting the area planning powers separate from Camden.

PROMOTED CONTENT

Interested in purchasing a flat and want to know the rules, rights and regulations as a leaseholder? Or maybe you are already a leaseholder and want to find out more about extending your lease?

Scores of people visited the opening of Composite Door Master’s first public showroom in Hayes at the weekend, where they were treated to a spectacular show by award winning magician, Marc Oberon.

You’ve got cash, you’ve got style and you’ve got a bursting social calendar, but no time. These Crouch End studio suites to rent could be your dream come true.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

Competitions

If you’re obsessed with Apple or just love a good gadget, this is a prize that will blow you away! An incredible £3,333 to spend on Apple goodies! How would you like to be the proud new owner of the Apple Watch?

As we grow older it becomes more and more important to have means to travel about safely and quickly. Our friendship groups and families grow and the need to have a car that is not only safe but also fast and big enough for all our needs is ever more important. There are many cars on the market for such needs but none deals with them as efficiently or as neatly as a VW Golf Estate. These cars are build strong, long lasting and spacious for a reason. They cater to the needs of many and are some of the most popular cars currently on the market.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now