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Police and crime commissioner puts mental health at heart of fresh plan for Kent

11:16 14 September 2016

Matthew Scott out with officers in Kent

Matthew Scott out with officers in Kent

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Matthew Scott pledged at a governance board meeding last month to bid for more funding to help officers in their handling of mental health cases

Kent’s police and crime commissioner has again reiterated his desire to tackle mental health issues by putting it at the heart of his fresh plan for the county.

Every PCC has to publish a plan outlining the priorities for the force and setting out how they hold the force to account for delivering those priorities.

Conservative Matthew Scott, who inherited the existing Kent plan produced by Ann Barnes when he was elected in May, said: “While this plan has many elements that are the same as the previous version, it has been updated to reflect the priorities that formed the basis of my election campaign.

“I will work hard to cut crime and reduce re-offending in all parts of the county.

“I want to make sure that victims are at the heart of the justice system and get the support they need.

“I will look at how we can deliver a better service to the public while ensuring value for money.

“I want to see visible, effective and dedicated policing.

“At the same time, action is required to tackle the harm caused by anti-social behaviour, domestic abuse, violence and substance misuse.

“The golden thread running through the plan is my desire to revolutionise the approach to mental health, to ensure those with mental health issues who come into contact with the police, for whatever reason, receive the appropriate support without taking up valuable police time.

“If we get that right then vulnerable people will get a better service and more police officers’ time will be freed up to deliver more visible policing on our streets.”

The commissioner revealed at his first governance board meeting - an opportunity once every quarter to grill the chief constable - last month that he will make a bid to government for more funding to help officers in their handling of mental health cases.

Police chiefs had revealed an alarming lack of beds for people suffering from mental illness that are picked up by officers across the county, meaning they now spend approximately a third of their time dealing with such issues.

The lack of capacity in the county was so severe, there were even instances of having to transport people as far as Yorkshire in order to be adequately placed and supported, the meeting was told.

The updated plan, approved by the Kent and Medway Police and Crime Panel at a meeting last week, runs until April 2017.

Mr Scott will then publish his own four-year plan running to 2021, in which the public will be consulted on content and priorities this autumn.

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