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Street triage services in England: service models, national provision and the opinions of police

  • Abirami Kirubarajan (a1), Stephen Puntis (a2), Devon Perfect (a3), Marc Tarbit (a4), Mary Buckman (a3) and Andrew Molodynski (a3)...

Abstract

Aims and method

Street triage services are increasingly common and part of standard responses to mental health crises in the community, but little is understood about them. We conducted a national survey of mental health trusts to gather detailed information regarding street triage services alongside a survey of Thames Valley police officers to ascertain their views and experiences.

Results

Triage services are available in most areas of the country and are growing in scope. There is wide variation in levels of funding and modes of operation, including hours covered. Police officers from our survey overwhelmingly support such services and would like to see them expanded.

Clinical implications

Mental health crises now form a core part of policing and there are compelling reasons for the support of specialist services. Recent changes to the law have heightened this need, with a requirement for specialist input before a Section 136 is enacted. Those who have experienced triage services report it as less stigmatising and traumatic than a traditional approach, but there remains little evidence on which to base decisions.

Declaration of interest

None.

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Copyright

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is unaltered and is properly cited. The written permission of Cambridge University Press must be obtained for commercial re-use or in order to create a derivative work.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Stephen Puntis (stephen.puntis@psych.ox.ac.uk)

References

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1Coleman, TG, Cotton, DH. Reducing risk and improving outcomes of police interactions with people with mental illness. J Police Crisis Negot 2010; 10(1–2): 3957.
2Department of Health. Mental Health Act. The Stationary Office, 2007 (https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1983/20/section/136).
3Riley, G, Freeman, E, Laidlaw, J, Pugh, D. ‘A frightening experience’: detainees’ and carers’ experiences of being detained under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act. Med Sci Law 2011; 51(3): 164–9.
4Wells, W, Schafer, JA. Officer perceptions of police responses to persons with a mental illness. Policing 2006; 29(4): 578601.
5Care Quality Commission. Monitoring the Mental Health Act in 2013/14. Care Quality Commission, 2015 (https://www.cqc.org.uk/sites/default/files/20150204_monitoring_the_mha_2013-14_report_web.pdf).
6Home Office. Policing and Crime Act 2017. The Stationary Office, 2017 (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2017/3/part/4/chapter/4/enacted).
7Adebowale, L. Independent Commission on Mental Health and Policing Report. Independent Commission on Mental Health and Policing, 2013 (http://www.turning-point.co.uk/media/621030/independent_commission_on_mental_health_and_policing_main_report.pdf).
8Reveruzzi, B, Pilling, S. Street Triage. Report on the Evaluation of Nine Pilot Schemes in England. University College London, 2016 (https://s16878.pcdn.co/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Street-Triage-Evaluation-Final-Report.pdf).
9Jenkins, O, Dye S, Obeng-Asare F, Nguyen N, Wright N. Police liaison and section 136: comparison of two different approaches. BJPsych Bull 2017; 41(2): 7682.

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Street triage services in England: service models, national provision and the opinions of police

  • Abirami Kirubarajan (a1), Stephen Puntis (a2), Devon Perfect (a3), Marc Tarbit (a4), Mary Buckman (a3) and Andrew Molodynski (a3)...
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