Cars manned by police and mental health nurses are taking to the streets of Notts to give emergency help to people with mental health and learning difficulties.
The Street Triage scheme is a new partnership between Notts Police and the NHS which directs the right care and treatment to people in distress or vulnerable situations.
It will divert them away from the criminal justice system towards a more appropriate care setting.
When vulnerable people need mental health support, specially trained mental health nurses from Nottinghamshire Healthcare will join police on their call-outs
They can also give telephone advice to police officers to help decide which health service to refer people to.
The scheme should cut demand on police time, allowing officers to focus on crime, and reduce the number of people arrested, taken to psychiatric assessment suites, or to A&E.
“Police are frequently called to incidents where the mental health of one or more individuals involved is an underlying factor,” said chief inspector Linda McCarthy.
“Making the right decision at the scene can directly impact on better quality, long term outcomes for people.”
Professor Mike Cooke, chief executive of Nottinghamshire Healthcare, said: “Our staff will now be able to assess the person there and then, rather than in a police or health setting.”
Notts’ police and crime commissioner Paddy Tipping said: “This will help to safeguard people’s dignity and rights by providing localised, effective treatment in an appropriate setting – which I do not believe to be a police cell.”