Nurses who dealt with thousands of mental health incidents praised by police commissioner

Cambridgeshire Police and Crime Commissioner Jason Ablewhite (centre) with IMHT Service Manager Shar

Cambridgeshire Police and Crime Commissioner Jason Ablewhite (centre) with IMHT Service Manager Sharon Johnson (left) and IMHT Lead, Gareth Hughes (right). Picture: CLARE TEVLIN - Credit: Archant

Cambridgeshire Police and Crime Commissioner Jason Ablewhite has praised nurses who provided advice to officers dealing with thousands of mental health incidents.

Between 2018 and 2019, mental health nurses based in the Constabulary's Force Control Room were involved in nearly 9,000 incidents.

In particular, the team were involved in 8,894 calls, up from 7,123 incidents in the previous 12 months and an increase of 147 additional calls per month.

The specialist nurses, who are provided by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT) and make up the Integrated Mental Health Team (IMHT), offer frontline officers instant support in dealing with people in mental health crisis.

The Commissioner said: "It was staggering to see over the last year, the team dealt with 9,000 incidents.

"That is why I will continue to provide funding for this service to ensure we get the best outcomes for people in mental health crisis."

Gareth Hughes, IMHT Team Lead, said: "We are seeing an increase in calls relating to mental health issues come through and can have between 20 to 30 jobs a day.

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"Our role is quite versatile as there are occasions when we have talked to people in crisis and given support to the police whilst liaising with mental health teams in relation to police matters.

"We have supported police on help with missing persons, domestic abuse cases as well as advising operations and giving clarity to officers over the Mental Health Act."

The IMHT has been recognised by the Clinical Commissioning Group as an integral part of first response work as part of the wider response to mental health crisis care.

Sharon Johnson, from CPFT and Service Manager for IMHT, said: "Having our specialist mental health nurses working directly alongside officers from Cambridgeshire Police continues to prove highly effective."

"Officers have a direct line to our staff who can advise on the most appropriate help in the quickest possible time."

Debra Bevan, Mental Health Policy Co-Ordinator, was praiseful of the IMHT and said: "The team provides a valuable service to those in mental health crisis, as well as providing training and support to officers and staff in all areas of mental health."