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Home Secretary launches Richmond Fellowship’s place of safety pilot

Home Secretary Theresa May has officially launched Richmond Fellowship’s pilot scheme to trial an alternative ‘place of safety’ to police custody for individuals in mental distress.

It’s the first time a voluntary sector provider is working in partnership with the NHS and police to provide an alternative place of safety to give a better experience for people who are detained pending a mental health assessment.

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Richmond Fellowship to be part of Home Office trial to reduce the use of police cells as a place of safety

We’re to take part in a Home Office scheme to trial alternative ‘places of safety’ to police custody for individuals in mental distress.

Home secretary Theresa May announced the pilot during her speech at the Police and Mental Health Summit today.

She told delegates of the plans to provide a number of alternative places of safety over the course of the three month pilot to give a better experience for people who are detained pending a mental health assessment and to save police time and resources.

As part of the pilot, Richmond Fellowship will be exploring options with Sussex Police and Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust to use alternative accommodation to police custody as a ‘place of safety’ to take someone in distress to for a mental health assessment.

Richmond Fellowship chief executive Derek Caren said: “The evidence shows that a police cell is not the best place to take someone to if they’re in mental distress. As a voluntary sector organisation we’re keen to explore what part we can play in providing alternative ‘places of safety’ for individuals in crisis when they’re at their most vulnerable.”

Richmond Fellowship is already signed up as a supporter of the Mental Health Crisis Care Concordat. It already runs a number of crisis services across England, providing support for people in the community as either an alternative option to an admission to hospital or as a step-down between an inpatient stay and returning home.