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‘Review decision to stop mental health nurses working in police custody’ says inspectorate 

Pilot scheme of 2017 wasn't adopted as normal practice

Government is being encouraged to review its decision to end a pilot scheme which saw mental health nurses working within Police Headquarters.

It’s one of the recommendations from a review of the Island’s police force by His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabularies and Fire and Rescue Services.

You can find the full report HERE.

Inspectors, who visited the Island in 2021, noted that police officers here spent ‘a lot of their time’ responding to mental-health related incidents.

They were complimentary of the Mental Health Police Liaison Scheme which was piloted in 2017 – it saw nurses working from the custody suite giving advice and support to officers and the public.

Officers who were interviewed told the inspectors that the scheme had proved effective in reducing the use of coercive powers and had helped get help to vulnerable people quicker.

However the report highlighted that the Department of Home Affairs had rejected a business case from the Isle of Man Constabulary, in 2020, to make the scheme ‘normal practice’ citing funding.

As a result mental health nurses moved back to Manannan Court and the use of powers to detain people with mental ill health in public increased.

Despite nurses still attending some incidents this was said to happen less often than during the pilot scheme – longer waiting times at hospitals also meant officers had less time for their ‘core duties’.

Officers who were interviewed as part of the review said the pilot system was better than that currently in place adding that they were ‘desperate to have mental health professionals here permanently.’

The review has led to the inspectorate calling for improvements.

“We encourage the Isle of Man Government to review its decision to end the piloted process. It should consider what processes it could introduce to improve how the constabulary deals with mental ill health.” His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabularies and Fire and Rescue Services.

Members of the senior management team within the constabulary have made representations to the department to seek the reintroduction of the pilot scheme arrangements.

Chief Constable Gary Roberts told Manx Radio it’s something he’d be in favour of:

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