WILTSHIRE Police has welcomed the launch of the Mental Health Concordat.

It sets out shared national principals to bring together a multi-agency response to those in mental health crisis. The agreement has been signed by the government, NHS providers, police forces and social care leaders.

It also specifically states that police officers should not have to consider using police custody as an alternative location if there is a lack of local mental health provision.

Additionally, Wiltshire Police has also been selected to take part in a pilot scheme which will see specially trained mental health nurses based in some custody units across the county.

This will further aid the support and treatment those with mental health issues may need following arrest.

Acting Head of Operational Support Services at Wiltshire Police Superintendent Marion Deegan said: “Working with specially trained mental health professionals from the point of arrest will enable earlier identification of those in need of mental health assessment or referral and reduce the risk of reoffending, which would only go to benefit the local community and free up police resources.”

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire and Swindon, Angus Macpherson, said: “People who are facing a mental health crisis need to be cared for by trained health professionals and in safe and suitable accommodation. “Too often they have ended up in police cells. This is stressful for the individuals concerned and has also taken up a lot of police time.”