Matthew backs Mental Health Awareness Week in Kent

Contributed by editor on May 08, 2017 - 11:55 PM


Kent’s Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott has reaffirmed his commitment to ensuring people suffering mental ill health get the right care from the right person.



Speaking at the start of Mental Health Awareness Week 2017, Mr Scott said: ‘Revolutionising the way people with mental illness interact with the police was a key part of my pre-election Six Point Plan. Since then I’ve published Safer in Kent: The Community Safety and Criminal Justice Plan with mental health very much a guiding principle within it.’

As he prepares to mark the one-year anniversary of taking office (12 May), the PCC said: ‘It’s been a very busy year, especially with regards to delivering on my promise on mental health.

‘Here in Kent, I’ve triggered a review which included asking police officers and staff to share their experiences of mental health and policing with me. I’ve invested in the continuation of the scheme where counsellors from the mental health charity Mind work in the force control room and I’ve discussed key issues with the Chief Constable in public.

‘I’ve set out my expectation that the Chief Constable must tackle abuse, exploitation and violence – including where domestic abuse occurs behind closed doors with often devastating long-term effects on victims’ mental well-being

‘Still, around a third of Kent Police time is spent dealing with incidents involving mental health including incidents where no crime has been committed but there is a need to safeguard someone experiencing a mental health crisis.

‘In areas like Thanet, that figure is estimated to be 50%. That trend is not sustainable, so I welcome the fact that Kent Police and the NHS have reintroduced a street triage scheme in Thanet.

‘I’ve also set up a Mental Health and Policing Fund to support schemes and projects that reflect my commitment to this issue, like the crisis cafes in Maidstone and Tonbridge. There is currently £150,000 available and I urge other charities and local organisations who feel they may have something to offer to visit my website and to contact my office if they have further questions. The deadline for applications is 30 May.’

Nationally, Mr Scott is also proud to have been named the deputy spokesman on mental health issues for the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners.

He added: ‘My portfolio role has led to me having some very important strategic conversations at a national level. For example, on Friday I was in London speaking at a roundtable event commissioned by the NHS Confederation Mental Health Network.

‘Later this month week I’m addressing the national Police Federation’s annual conference in Birmingham. I’m keen to support them because members of the emergency services are more at risk of experiencing a mental health problem than the general population, but less likely to seek support.’

He added: ‘Looking forward, I will continue to commission services that reduce pressure on policing due to mental health here in Kent, but a true revolution in the way people with mental illness interact with the police can only come about if there is a consensus from all partners, locally and nationally, to make it happen.’

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