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Surrey police to begin working with mental health teams

SURREY POLICE: Mental health workers will access detainees at four sites in the county (PA)

POLICE IN Surrey are set to start working with mental health assessors who will evaluate detainees brought into custody.

Teams from the Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust will be involved in checking people arrested and taken to police sites in Guildford, Salfords, Staines and Woking.

Mental health workers in the £300,000 scheme are to assess whether people require support, according to the NHS.

“It's important to remember that not everyone in custody is a criminal”, said team leader Matt Lamport.

“Studies have shown that those detained in police custody suites have higher levels of mental health problems than the general population.”

He added: “Until now we've been reliant on the police, who are of course not trained as mental health workers, to spot where there is a need and call one of our services for an assessment.”

Police are legally able to detain a person for 72 hours if no crime has been committed but they believe the detainee is mentally unwell, Lamport said.

The scheme is being funded by NHS England, and will consist of three mental health workers providing assessments during office hours, with plans to expand provision to weekends and evenings.

Mental health and deaths of black men under police supervision have been an issue in the past, a notable case being that of Sean Rigg who died five years ago while in custody at Brixton Police Station, south London.

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