PLANS to improve the care of people suffering a mental health crisis have been welcomed by Hampshire and the Isle of Wight police and crime commissioner.
Simon Hayes said the crisis care concordat, signed by the Department of Health, Home Office and the mental health charity Mind, would build on work underway in the two counties.
The concordat is aimed at securing improvements in the treatment of people going through a mental health crisis, ensuring they are taken to a hospital or healthcare facility and not a police cell, when mental health services are stretched.
He said: "From a policing perspective, I am keen to ensure resources are used more effectively and outcomes are improved for people with mental health problems. It is critical that more health-based places of safety are provided for mental health patients at a time of crisis — especially those under 18 years — rather than patients being detained in police cells.
"To this end, Hampshire Constabulary and the NHS Trusts in Southampton and the Isle of Wight are piloting Operation Serenity to integrate mental health and policing expertise to ensure incidents involving mental health patients are managed appropriately for the wellbeing of the patient and the local community."
The scheme was introduced on the Island in November 2012, with mental health workers accompanying police to mental health crisis calls on Friday and Saturday nights.
There are hopes to extend it to the rest of the week.