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A mental health practitioner will accompany police officers to incidents involving mental health issues under the scheme. A previously successful trial where nurses pair with officers responding to calls involving mental issues is returning to Kent. The pilot by Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust (KMPT) and Kent Police will run in Thanet over the next few months when demand for attendance at mental health related incidents is high. Kent Police detained 1,256 people under section 136 of the Mental Health Act in 2016 and chief superintendent Rachel Curtis hopes the triage team will help officers make “informed decisions”. She said: “The street triage scheme will mean a qualified medical professional attending mental health related incidents in Thanet that have been reported to the police. “Our police officers receive mental health training the same way they receive first aid training but they are not medical experts. “The pilot will mean those in crisis will receive qualified medical help and the officers will have on-the-scene advice from an expert to make informed decisions. “The number one priority here is making sure those suffering a mental health crisis get the most appropriate care and treatment.” The street triage scheme is the latest in a number measures KMPT and Kent Police have put in place to address mental health in police incidents in the county. KMPT’s Director of Transformation, Vincent Badu, said: “We are delighted to be involved in the delivery of this pilot scheme, which will offer a local response to anyone in crisis. “The scheme demonstrates the importance of partnership working and, through the Concordat, we have agreed joint outcomes and measures which will enable us to capture all the improvements achieved.” Kent Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott says he will be “keeping a close eye” on the progress of the initiative. He said: “Cases involving mental health now amount for around a third of Kent Police time. “I am pleased to see the return of a street triage scheme. “I will be keeping a close eye on the scheme to see whether it helps deliver against the priorities set out within my Safer in Kent Plan. “I also continue to welcome bids to my Mental Health and Policing Fund from projects which free up police officers’ time while also ensuring that people in mental health crisis get the right support from the right person. “The increased time police spend dealing with mental health is unsustainable nationally so I will be discussing the triage outcomes with my fellow PCCs and Government so that other force areas can decide whether they wish to replicate this scheme in their own communities.” View on Police Oracle