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As I stated in my initial response, we know that police officers often play a significant and valuable role in assisting those in mental health distress. However, it is crucial that we develop a strong collaborative approach, with public services, the third sector and communities working together to improve support for those with mental ill health.
Police Scotland’s new call-handling approach is being rolled out across Scotland, and it is already helping the service to respond more effectively to demand, putting resource where it is most needed and ensuring that people receive the support that best meets their needs. Working with other partners to address risk and vulnerability is a key feature of that approach. In addition, a new mental health hub service has been operational since March 2019, delivering dedicated support to people who contact Police Scotland in mental health distress, with calls referred to psychological wellbeing practitioners.
The distress intervention group that I mentioned, in which Police Scotland is a key partner, will provide strategic leadership across the Scottish justice and health and social care sectors to ensure that more effective pathways are available to people who present to public services in distress.