A BRAND new NHS service based within Greater Manchester Police’s communications centre will support officers when responding to mental health-related calls.

The 24/7 Control Room Triage Service will be delivered by North West Boroughs Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust and Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust, working in partnership with Greater Manchester Police.

It is hoped the service will help to reduce demand on emergency services by avoiding unnecessary deployments of police officers.

Launched this week, the service will see trained mental health professionals based at the Clayton Brook communications centre, assessing incidents relating to mental health and providing advice and support to police staff.

Mental health staff will also provide expert clinical advice to police officers through telephone or video conferencing, supporting them to make the right decisions when responding to incidents involving people who are experiencing mental health problems.

Rob Potts, assistant chief constable at Greater Manchester Police said: “This collaborative approach will see trained mental health professionals working alongside and supporting officers, allowing us to protect the most vulnerable at times of crisis and ensuring the best outcome for the individuals affected at the earliest opportunity.”

Bev Hughes, deputy mayor for policing and crime, said: “Police officers are often the first contact for people going through a mental health crisis so it’s vital they have immediate access to the right help and advice to be able to support those in need.

“By doing things differently we are building on our work to transform mental health crisis care, once again bringing police and health partners together to enhance existing services, reduce demand on our over-stretched emergency services and, importantly, ensure the most vulnerable members of our community are protected and supported.”

Dr Chris Daly, medical director for Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust said: “Our Trust has an excellent working relationship with Greater Manchester Police and we are glad to support them when they are dealing with some of the most vulnerable people in society.

“Not only will this service support police officers, it will also ensure people living with a mental health issue get the care they need sooner. Our experts will be well-placed to support officers make informed decisions.”