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A system designed to support mental health patients in Bedfordshire saved more than 400 police deployments and prevented almost 200 detentions during the last year, a meeting heard.

With its programme for frequent service users, the mental health hub has saved an estimated £20,000 per user per month across each of the county’s emergency services, according to Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner Kathryn Holloway.

The results one year on really do bear repeating,” the PCC told the Bedfordshire Police and Crime Panel while presenting her annual report.

We’ve had a first anniversary of the mental health hub set up with East London NHS Foundation Trust, which covers this area,” she explained. “That allowed me to fund mental health nurses who would sit in the force control room and also sit within Signpost.

This was so we could arrange for victims of crime and for those who front line officers were encountering with particular mental health issues to be triaged on to the services they needed.

Critically, when it came to the group of the most prolific users of all the blue lights, we gave them a named police officer and a named mental health nurse.

In its first year, with dedicated nurse support, the force contact centre handled almost 1,500 calls, which involved an element of mental health crisis.

This was around those who are either threatening to commit suicide, or harm to themselves, or harm other people,” she said.

With the further support of our Signpost service they were able to prevent 182 detentions under section 136 of the Mental Health Act 1983.

In total, 443 police deployments were also avoided with the intervention of the dedicated mental health team and nurses within the force contact centre.

You’ll appreciate the money and time this has saved Bedfordshire Police, freeing up officers, who would otherwise have had to attend mental health incidents in person, to deal with other 999 life-threatening matters.

The programme has saved an estimated £20,000 per user per month across each of the county’s blue light services, this year, while supporting the high intensity and most prolific users of emergency services, not just policing.

This is by providing that one-to-one support with named police officers and named mental nurses to those who are our most frequent callers.”