Nurses joining West Sussex police on the beat

Eastbourne crew members nurse Carl Ellis and PC Chris Yabsley with the unmarked car the crews use ''''               E51044P
Eastbourne crew members nurse Carl Ellis and PC Chris Yabsley with the unmarked car the crews use '''' E51044P

A PILOT to help police identify those suffering a mental health crisis is spreading throughout Sussex.

Labelled a ‘street triage’, Sussex Police has announced it is rolling out the scheme of having nurses on patrol with police officers.

Initially trialled in Eastbourne, it is now spreading to other parts of the county and a spokesman from Sussex Police said people in the Chichester and Arun districts could expect to see officers and nurses out together.

“In the past if the police received a call about a person with a mental health problem they may have had to detain that person under the Mental Health Act in order to get them the help they need,” he said.

“However, with the right support from a mental health professional there may be no need for them to be admitted to hospital or detained.”

The project initially launched in autumn, 2013, in Eastbourne following a 12-month grant from the department of health.

Police have hailed the scheme’s effectiveness.

Chief Inspector Chris Ball said: “My officers are looking forward to the challenges of street triage and I have every reason to believe that the outstanding success of street triage in Eastbourne will be replicated in West Sussex.”

The nurses are taking part thanks to the Sussex Partnership NHS Trust.

Police mental health liaison officer Sarah Gates said: “Sussex Police is delighted to be given the opportunity to extend street triage to the people of West Sussex.

“We will continue to work with our partners in Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust to deliver an excellent service to people in crisis.”