Mental health nurses will take to the streets with police in a new scheme to ensure vulnerable people are kept out of police cells.
In the ‘Street Triage’ scheme nurses will join South Yorkshire Police officers on 999 calls to help those needing urgent mental health treatment.
The seven-day-a week, six-month pilot is running in Sheffield, Rotherham and Doncaster and will be extended to Barnsley in April.
Detective Superintendent Andrew Parker said: “Currently, 40 per cent of all people in Sheffield detained under the Mental Health Act are taken to a police station.
“This situation is wrong, and is failing these people.
“The aim is to ensure people are assessed by a trained mental health nurse and taken to a safe place, to receive appropriate care.
“Police officers don’t have the same expertise as specialist nurses when it comes to people with emergency mental health issues.”
Dr Nick Tupper, NHS Doncaster Clinical Commissioning Group chairman, said: “Ensuring people with mental health problems get the right assessment, care and treatment urgently is really important, especially in crisis situations.”