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Surrey Police stations to have mental health workers in custody suites
Police stations across Surrey will have mental health workers stationed in custody suites to help identify people in need of treatment and support.
The service, which was set up from £300,000 of funding from NHS England, will be launched by the Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust at custody suites in Staines, Guildford, Woking and Salfords.
The criminal justice liaison and diversion service team will assess people brought into custody for mental health needs and find them the right services.
Police are allowed to keep people in custody for up to 72 hours if no crime has been committed and they suspect they are mentally unwell Matt Lamport, team leader, said: “Studies have shown that those detained in police custody suites have higher levels of mental health problems than the general population.
“But until now we’ve been reliant on the police, who are of course not trained as mental health workers, to spot where there is a need and call one of our services for an assessment.
“Even a trained professional can’t identify a mental illness by just sight alone so it’s safe to assume that some people would be released or move on to prison without being identified.
“With this new service we aim to give everyone in police custody a mental health assessment to ensure that those with additional needs are picked up.”
Earlier this year, Home Secretary Theresa May called for more joint working between services after it was revealed police officers spent 15 to 25 per cent of their time dealing with people with mental health problems.
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