A new street triage Scheme has been introduced across South Bucks, which aims to offer improved immediate support to those suffering ill mental health who call the police in a crisis state.

Starting from today, a mental health professional will be attending evening incidents with officers between 5pm and 4:30am in the Wycombe, Chiltern and South Bucks areas in order to offer expert advice and make accurate risk assessments regarding the care of the patient.

Police hope that the scheme will provide an alternative to the use S136 of the Mental Health Act, which gives them the power to detain someone found in a public space, suffering from ill mental health, if they believe them to be a risk to themselves or others.

Supt Yvette Hitch, LPA Commander for Chiltern and South Bucks, said: “Having trained mental health professionals working alongside police officers will provide a much better service to vulnerable people in a crisis state.

“The more effective early assessment will mean that mental health patients are receiving an efficient response which is more appropriate to their needs.”

Supt Ed Mclean praised the introduction of the triage scheme, and welcomed the improved support for those suffering from ill mental health within the community.

He said: “Far too often people suffering from mental health crisis have found themselves being taken into police custody because there’s been nowhere else for them to go, or because the police officers haven’t known what else to do to keep them safe.

“The street triage scheme can provide a much better service to vulnerable people in need of help.”

The service has already been rolled out in other areas, including Reading and Oxfordshire, and is said to have been ‘highly effective’ in making sure those suffering poor mental health are getting the appropriate care as quickly as possible.