Forty-one projects will benefit from a share of £15 million to improve provision of mental health places of safety, the government announced.
The Department of Health funding is supporting the creation of new places of safety and the refurbishment of existing sites, to prevent people experiencing a mental health crisis, who have committed no crime, from being placed in a police cell.
The government wants to see an end to the unacceptable situation in which hundreds of people in crisis are being locked up in police cells each year because health services are not available in time. When a person is experiencing a mental health crisis they need the right care, in the right place and too often the only safe place available is a police cell – somewhere which often exacerbates the crisis.
The first wave of bids, totalling £6.1 million, have been awarded to 15 NHS trusts and partnership organisations covering 10 police force areas. They have been focused where use of police cells as a place of safety has previously been amongst the highest in the country.
The full list of successful wave one bids covers Avon and Somerset, Cleveland, Derbyshire, Devon and Cornwall, Essex, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, South Yorkshire, Sussex, West Yorkshire, and Wiltshire police force areas. Projects include new section 136 suites, crisis cafés, triage vehicles and places of safety for children and young people.
The government has also opened the bidding process for the remaining £8.9 million of funding to the rest of England. Through local Crisis Care Concordat groups, organisations including mental health trusts, clinical commissioning groups, police forces, local authorities and the voluntary and community sector can bid for the funding.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said:
“This government is committed to ending the scandal of people in crisis being locked up in police cells.
When a person is experiencing a mental health crisis they need the right care, in the right place and at the right time. We are fully committed to improving mental health services across the country and these projects will help support people at a crucial time.”