Police forces across England and Wales will adopt a new approach called Right Car, Right Person to dealing with mental health calls as a new toolkit and national partnership agreement are launched.
The National Partnership Agreement provides a framework for assisting police with decision-making about when they should be involved in responding to reported incidents involving people with mental health needs.
The Right Care Right Person approach is based on a model developed by Humberside Police in 2021 which has also been implemented by other forces including Lancashire Police, South Yorkshire Police and North Yorkshire Police.
The National Police Chiefs’ Council said that while some mental health incidents do require police attendance, there are a significant number which involve no safety risk or crime. The new approach will mean police stop attending a lot of health incidents, unless there is a significant safety risk or crime being committed, and instead refer these to the appropriate partner agency.
Where police officers do take a person in a mental health crisis to hospital under the Mental Health Act, the agreement emphasises the need for local partners to work towards handovers happening in one hour. Estimates cited by the NPCC show that implementing the principles of Right Care Right Person could save around one million police officer hours each year.
To supplement the strategic approach set out in the Agreement, the National Police Chiefs’ Council, College of Policing, and NHS England are producing detailed guidance to support local areas with the operational delivery of RCRP.