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Matthew Scott welcomes Government cash for mental health services in Kent

Matthew Scott at Kent Police HQ
Kent’s Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott has welcomed news that the county is to receive £59,000 of Government funding to improve local mental health services.
The Department of Health has awarded £8.4 million for 47 projects across the country to ensure those in mental health crisis do not end up in police cells. These include three successful bids from the Kent and Medway Mental Health Crisis Care Concordat, of which the Office of the Kent Police and Crime Commissioner is a member.
Mr Scott, who has placed mental health at the heart of his Police and Crime Plan, said:

'Mental health is one of the biggest challenges facing policing at the moment, with an estimated third of Kent Police time taken up dealing with people in a mental health crisis. Next year, legislation will end the practice of police cells being used as a place of safety for people in mental health crisis so alternative support must be found.'

The three projects in Kent are:
  • A Crisis Café in Tonbridge, run by West Kent Mind and aimed at reducing the number of people detained under Section 136 by providing an alternative and more appropriate place of safety
  • A mobile engagement vehicle, used by the Thanet Community Safety Partnership to provide information and advice in the community
  • A secure response vehicle, used by the Kent and Medway NHS Partnership Trust to transport those in crisis from places of safety to appropriate care facilities
Kent Police Assistant Chief Constable Tony Blaker, the force’s lead on mental health, said:

'Kent Police, as a member of the Crisis Care Concordat, continues to work closely with partners to reduce the number of people being detained under the Mental Health Act and to prevent those people who are in need of care from being detained in police cells. We are extremely pleased that the bids made by the Concordat have been recognised and that some financial assistance has been awarded to these projects.'

The funding announcement on 25 October followed an initial £6.1 million awarded in August to 15 NHS trusts and partnership organisations covering 11 police force areas.

Mr Scott added: 'Increasingly the Government is allocating its funding where agencies - including the police, fire authorities, the NHS, local councils and charities – can demonstrate an ability to collaborate and work in partnership. I hope that the signatories to the Kent and Medway Mental Health Crisis Care Concordat can work even closer in future to continue to draw on vital sources of funding such as this.
'For my part, I will also continue to work with local MPs and the Government in order to address what is one of the biggest challenges facing policing.'

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