Thames Valley Police (TVP) says it has seen a 72 per cent drop in the number of people being detained in police custody under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act.
In the last year only 24 people were held in police custody out of the 1,095 people detained under this power.
Assistant Chief Constable, Nikki Ross, who is the mental health lead for TVP, said: “I am very encouraged by these figures. TVP recognised that putting people who have been detained under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act into police custody was not in most cases appropriate. People need to be in supportive surroundings where they are able to receive the specialist help they need.
“We have taken action to change how we deal with these incidents.
“Every front line officer in the force now receives mental health training and our Street Triage schemes operate in eight Local Policing Areas (LPAs) where police officers work side-by-side with mental health professionals to find the best outcome.
“As part of Mental Health Awareness week, running from 16 to 23 May, we will be raising awareness of mental health by publicising the work that goes on every day across the Force by staff, officers and our partners.
“Close partnership working is key to preventing a crisis from escalating and improving an individual’s well being. We actively work with our partner agencies to ensure we can identify the best response for those experiencing mental health crises.”
Street triage schemes operate in eight of force LPAs, which are Oxford, Aylesbury, Milton Keynes, Reading, Bracknell and Wokingham, West Berkshire, Wycombe and Chiltern and South Bucks.