Two police liaison and section 136 schemes were developed alongside police services at different sites within the same NHS trust. In one, a mental health nurse worked with frontline police attending incidents related to mental health. The other involved nurses providing advice from the police control room. Section 136 detentions were measured over two 6-month periods (6 months apart) before and after practice change. Data analysed included total numbers of section 136 assessments, outcomes following subsequent assessment, and relevant diagnostic and demographic factors. Association of any change in section 136 total numbers and proportion subsequently admitted was investigated in both sites.
The model involving a nurse alongside frontline police showed significant reduction in section 136 numbers (38%, P <0.01) as well as greater admission rates (P = 0.01). The scheme involving support within the police control room did not show any change in section 136 detention but showed a non-significant (P = 0.16) decrease in subsequent admission.
Mental health nurses working alongside frontline police officers can help improve section 136 numbers and outcomes.
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