The Department of Health has set up this £15 million fund to provide health and community based places of safety to prevent vulnerable people being held in police cells.
The main aim of the programme is to provide new and improved health based places of safety and mental health crisis support facilities across England.
The funding can be used to:
- Refurbish or improve existing health-based places of safety, for example to increase capacity.
- Build new places of safety.
- Make existing places of safety suitable for people aged 18 and under.
- Create mental health crisis cafes or places of calm.
- Provide ambulance transport to places of safety (so a police car is not used).
- Provide vehicles for mobile services to respond to mental health crises in the community.
Commenting on the new fund, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said:
“Mental illness is not a crime – we want to end the scandal of people in crisis being unnecessarily locked up in a police cell. This funding will mean local areas can invest in creating safe places so people get the best support.”
Although progress has already been made to decrease the use of police cells, the use of police cells still varies considerably across the country. There are 23 priority areas, covering 10 police forces, where the use of police cells is amongst the highest. A joint letter from the Home Secretary and the Health Secretary is being sent to Crisis Care Concordat groups in these areas inviting them to bid for funding.
Full details can be found on the GOV.UK website