North Yorkshire Police introduced Right Care, Right Person on 31 January 2023.
This was a significant change where the police would no longer attend incidents that were mental health support cases. They do however work to thresholds, where they would attend if there was risk to life or risk of serious harm.
North Yorkshire Council were asked to comment, but declined to do so.
The Home Office have released a National Partnership Agreement limiting the police response to mental health crises.
Cllr David Fothergill, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board said:
Councils recognise that the police may not always be the most appropriate service to respond to a mental health crisis and so it is good that this is being clarified through this national agreement.
However, we are concerned that this is being rolled out too quickly, with inadequate local engagement and partnership working meaning that other agencies risk being unable to pick up any increases in demand for their services. It is also important that the police work closely with their local partners to plan its implementation.
Mental health services are funded via councils social care budgets which are already under considerable pressure. To deliver the best care possible for those experiencing a mental health crisis, alternative community services need to be fully funded across the country.
The Local Government Association represents a number of local councils, but without comment from North Yorkshire Council, it is not clear if their criticism also applies to North Yorkshire.
- Right Care, Right Person’ is a model designed to ensure that when there are concerns for a person’s welfare linked to mental health, medical or social care issues, the right person with the right skills, training and experience will respond. In recent years, police officers have often been required to offer support to those who really require specialist medical or psychological care.
- Under ‘Right Care, Right Person’, officers no longer be take on this responsibility when it is not appropriate to do so.
- Police intervention can have a detrimental effect on vulnerable patients who feel they are being criminalised because of their health or social care issues.
- Care is now be provided by the agency that can best meet the individual’s needs ensuring in many cases continuity of care and specialist knowledge.
Assistant Chief Constable Scott Bisset, said:
The purpose of Right Care, Right Person is to ensure that vulnerable people who are in need, are dealt with by the most appropriate service.
In North Yorkshire and the City of York we continue to work closely with our partners in health, social care and the third sector to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our communities. We all share an appetite to ensure that members of those communities who are in need of care and assistance receive it from the agency best placed to provide it.
There is a recognition across the board that a police officer is sometimes not best placed to provide that care to someone, for example, in mental health crisis. Of course where there is an immediate threat of significant harm the police will continue to attend as we currently do. Right Care, Right Person doesn’t change that.
We meet regularly with our partners to ensure that, where calls for assistance have been received by a service, the individual at the centre of that call has indeed received assistance. In North Yorkshire and the City of York Right Care, Right Person is not simply about any service no longer attending particular incidents. It is rather a genuine desire on the part of all concerned to ensure that people who call for help, firstly, get that help and, secondly, that it is provided by the correct professional with the correct training who is therefore best placed to provide it for the good of the individual.