PCC ring fences £250,000 for new mental health and policing fund
Matthew Scott is ringfencing £250,000 for projects which help cut the amount of time Kent Police spends dealing with mental health issues.
Anyone - particularly representatives of charities or local authorities and even staff and officers within Kent Police - will be able to bid for a share of the Kent Police and Crime Commissioner’s new Mental Health and Policing Fund.
Mr Scott said: 'It is sadly the case that there has been an increasing reliance on Kent Police to assist those in mental health crisis. It is estimated that a third of Kent Police’s time is now spent dealing with individuals and cases involving mental health illness.
'This is not sustainable.
'Throughout last year, even before I was elected Kent's PCC, I championed the need for a revolution in the way police forces deal with people in a mental health crisis. Mental health will remain one of the guiding principles of my new Safer in Kent Plan, and in the next financial year I'm making specific funding available to support community schemes reflecting my commitment to this issue.
'I'm looking for new and innovative projects that reduce pressure on policing through early intervention, raising awareness, counselling, crisis support or the provision of alternative places of safety. I also want to work with those who help protect vulnerable people with conditions like dementia from harm and exploitation.'
Mr Scott, who is the deputy portfolio lead on mental health for the national Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, added:
'Importantly, the funding will not be used to support mental health services which are the responsibility of the NHS, or to support those services where statutory funding has been withdrawn or reduced. I want to see locally-led, community-based initiatives that help reduce demand on officers and staff.'
The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner will begin accepting bids into the Mental Health and Policing Fund from 1 March 2017, with the first wave of successful bidders to be announced by Mr Scott in June. Meanwhile, some of the fund will be used to support and develop existing projects like Crisis Cafes and the scheme whereby Mind counsellors work alongside Kent Police Force Control Room call-handlers.
The fund forms part of Mr Scott’s new Commissioning Strategy. Published today, the 30-page document sets out how £4.2million will be allocated to provide victims’ services and boost community safety across Kent and Medway in 2017/18.