The Street Triage was set up as a pilot scheme in 2014 and has since proved hugely successful in helping cut the number of people with mental health issues being taken to police cells as a place of safety when they are in crisis.
The service involves mental health practitioners assisting police officers on patrol in the county on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights from 7.30pm to 8.30am.
By working with mental health professionals, either on patrol or within the Force Command Centre, officers attending an incident are able to quickly access background medical information, advice, and if needed, a full mental health assessment, regarding the mental health of a person. This means the officer has situation-specific information on hand, allowing them to deal with the incident in a manner appropriate for the situation and person involved, whilst causing as little stress and trauma to the detainee as possible. It is not only aimed at those with a history of mental illness, but people of all ages, whether they have learning disabilities, personality disorders or a history of substance abuse.
The scheme operates across Dorset and at the request of the police, the mental health professionals also personally attend incidents in the Bournemouth, Poole and Weymouth conurbations
By supporting the Street Triage service, the PCC helps reduce the number of people in Dorset held by police under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act 1983 (where the police can take a person in a public place, who they believe to have a mental illness and are in need of help, to an appropriate ‘place of safety’). It also vastly increases public satisfaction in policing, reduces the number of victims of crime and anti-social behaviour, reduces the number of people seriously harmed in Dorset, and supports neighbourhood policing.