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Police now the ’24/7 default service’ for mental health

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DYFED-POWYS POLICE deals with around 200 mental health incidents every week, its Chief Constable has told members of the Dyfed Powys Police and Crime Panel.

Mark Collins said there is continued demand on the force, which is seen as the ‘24/7 default service’ for people suffering with mental health, but welcomed collaboration with Hywel Dda University Health Board to tackle the problem and ensure people are properly cared for.

The Chief Constable is the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for Mental Health and Policing, and addressed the Panel after it asked for assurance that adequate priority is being given to the issue as part of the Force’s annual Police and Crime Plan.

Within the plan, the Commissioner has committed to improving understanding of mental health demands by working in partnership with other services and with people who have experience of mental ill health, and advocating a reasonable and proportionate response by front-line staff when dealing with people experiencing mental ill health.

He has also committed to ensuring that people suffering from mental ill health are treated in a health facility and not detained in custody.

Mr Collins gave the Panel an outline of the national picture which raises concerns about the level of police involvement in responding to mental health problems, saying that the police service is doing a good job in difficult circumstances.

Police operation on Mount Estate, Milford haven on June 12, 2018 (Pics: Herald)

“The main issue is the continuing demand on the force,” he said. “We have 50-60 calls per day relating to mental health in Dyfed Powys. Our triage team deal with over 200 incidents a week.

Unfortunately, the police is a 24/7 default service.

“We’ve been able to reduce priority calls because we are carrying out welfare checks, but collaboration is the most important way forward.

“I welcome the latest announcements from Hywel Dda University Health Board regarding community care cafes in the Dyfed Powys area, with provision in Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion. For me, it’s that step beyond triage.”

The Dyfed Powys Police and Crime Panel has identified mental health as one of the key themes it will scrutinise during the year.

Independent Panel member Helen Thomas said she welcomed the focus that mental health is receiving.

She said: “I would like to thank the Commissioner and Chief Constable for this report. The facts you have given us are worrying. The demand on the police service cannot be under estimated. The focus needs to be on the police service and the huge demands on it.

“Not to be using cells is a huge advance but of course you have to have an alternative suitable accommodation and that’s a challenge. I look forward to hearing the improvements in the future.”

The Police and Crime Commissioner’s full report on Mental Health and Policing in Dyfed Powys, can be found as part of the agenda papers for the July 2019 meeting of the Dyfed Powys Police and Crime Panel.

Find this, along with information about the Panel, its members, future meeting dates and more, at www.dppoliceandcrimepanel.wales

More on police and mental health

by Rhys Williams

A REPORT was released by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services last year, titled ‘Policing and Mental Health – Picking Up the Pieces’.

The Inspectorate revealed concerns that the police are working beyond their duty, and questioned whether the police should be involved in responding to mental health problems to the degree that they are.

Feedback from officers, partners, service users and some limited data indicates that in some cases the police service is stepping in to fill shortfalls in health services. This may include: transporting someone to hospital because an ambulance isn’t available; waiting with someone in hospital until a mental health place is found or checking on someone where there is concern for their safety.

Often, as a 24/7 service, police are the only professionals available to respond because the person is in crisis ‘out of hours’. The report’s detailed analysis shows that the peak time for calls to police for support with mental health-related incidents is between 3pm and 6pm Monday to Friday, towards the end of the working day.

The report also found that mental health crisis is often preventable and avoidable. It is far cheaper for health agencies to intervene early than pay for specialist crisis treatment after harm and distress has already been caused.

For example, in their force management statements (FMS), 13 forces cited the pressure that responding to repeat callers places on an already busy command and control system. If services were in place to treat people earlier, the cost savings would be significant.

The same point was made in the 2016 State of Policing report: “By the time depression or some other mental disorder has been allowed to advance to the point that someone is contemplating suicide, or engaging in very hazardous behaviour, many opportunities to intervene will have been missed by many organisations. When that intervention takes place on a motorway bridge or railway line, or when someone is holding a weapon in a state of high distress, the expense to all concerned is far higher than it should be. The principal sufferer is the person who is ill, especially when it is realised that his or her suffering could have been much less or even avoided altogether. Then there is the economic cost in terms of the expenditure of time and effort by the police and other public services, as well as the expense and trauma sustained by those adversely affected by the crisis at the time. The economic arguments for earlier intervention intensify the health and moral ones already in play.”

It was also suggested that the Crisis Care Concordat, a national agreement between local services and agencies involved in the support of people in mental health crisis, is a step in the right direction, but there still needs to be a rethink.

The report read: “All services and agencies have done considerable work to improve the response to those with mental health problems. A culmination of this collaboration is the Crisis Care Concordat, in which 22 bodies committed to improving the service and experience of those people with mental ill-health.

“However, people with mental health problems need expert support, and all too often this isn’t available when people need it. The fact that people are calling the police to access health care is untenable, and the evidence later in our report shows that the demand for police to respond to mental health-related calls is increasing. We believe there needs to be a radical rethink to guarantee a timely expert response from health services.”

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Dale Road: Several have minor injuries after two vehicle accident

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EMERGENCY SERVICES are attending a two-vehicle road traffic accident on the B4327 Dale Road.

Two fire crews from Haverfordwest as well as police were called at around 3pm today (Aug 16).

A van and a car are involved.

Avoid the area at the present time

The Herald understands that several people are being treated for minor injuries.

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Tenby: Hotel goes into administration as new owner’s business empire collapses

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A POPULAR Pembrokeshire hotel has gone into administration.

The Fourcroft Hotel in Tenby how faces an uncertain future. It’s parent company Northern Powerhouse Developments reportedly suffered a £14m operational loss last year.

The 40-bedroomed hotel, which had been in the ownership of the same family for over 70 years, was bought by Northern Powerhouse Developments for an undisclosed sum in January 2017.

New boss Gavin Woodhouse said at the time: “This is the first of four hotels we are acquiring and opening in South Wales to complement our existing hotels up and down the coastline of the United Kingdom.”

“The Fourcroft will be the sister hotel to the Llandudno Bay Hotel and Spa and part of the group’s premier hotel collection.

“We are keen to compliment the local businesses and hope to be part of the future success of Tenby and the surrounding areas.”

NPD was founded by Gavin Woodhouse to focus on investment in the leisure and tourism industry.

According to ITV News, at the High Court hearing, Justice Alastair Norris was told that Woodhouse had been withdrawing tens of thousands of pounds from a bank account he had kept secret from administrators.

Below: Video by The Guardian regarding the missing millions which have plagued Gavin Woodhouse’s businesses

Appointment of Administrators

In the High Court of Justice

Court Number: CR-2019-005297

FOURCROFT HOTEL (TENBY) LIMITED

(Company Number 00772050)

Nature of Business: Hotels and similar accommodation

Registered office: Unit D2 Elland Riorges Link, Lowfields Business Park, Elland, HX5 9DG

Principal trading address: The Croft, Tenby, SA70 8AP

Date of Appointment: 8 August 2019

Names and Address of Administrators: Philip Francis Duffy (IP No. 9253) and Sarah Helen Bell (IP No. 9406) both of Duff & Phelps Ltd, The Chancery, 58 Spring Gardens, Manchester, M2 1EW

Further details contact: The Joint Administrators, Tel: 0161 827 9000. Alternative contact: Chloe Chan, Email: Chloe.Chan@duffandphelps.com

Ag JG50885

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Coastguard call-out after missing cliff climbers fears

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EMERGENCY services were called to the Stack Rocks area on Thursday August 15, following concerns for the safety of two climbers.

The emergency services were called following fears over the safety of some climbers when climbing gear had been found at the top of the cliff near Bullslaughter Bay, with the owners nowhere to be seen.

At 9.11pm, Tenby Coastguard rescue team, St Govan coastguard rescue team, Tenby Lifeboats RNLI ALB, Angle Lifeboat RNLI ALB and Coastguard rescue helicopter 187 were called to search for possible missing persons in the vicinity of Stack rocks.

Tenby’s RNLI all-weather lifeboat was launched just after 9pm and made best speed towards the scene, 10 miles west of Tenby, while Tenby and St Govans Coastguard rescue teams and Coastguard rescue helicopter 187 also made their way.

An RNLI spokesman said: “Once on scene, the volunteer crew began their search from Stackpole Head towards Bullslaughter Bay.

“With darkness fast approaching, it was decided to launch Angle all-weather lifeboat so that the search for anyone in difficulty could be widened.

“Sometime later, the helicopter spotted some climbers and directed Angle lifeboat to their position, and, while speaking to them, they confirmed it was their climbing gear and that they were in no difficulty.

“All units stood down and returned to their respective stations, with Tenby lifeboat arriving back on station at about 12.15am.”

H M Coastguard Tenby, posting on Facebook, added: “Coastguard and RNLI were quickly on the scene with the Coastguard officers searching from land along the coastline and RNLI lifeboats commencing a water search.

“Once Coastguard rescue helicopter 187 arrived on scene they managed to quickly locate two climbers using FLIR [Forward-Looking Infra-Red].

“Angle RNLI was then directed to the persons and made contact with the climbers and confirmed that the equipment found belonged to them and that they did not require assistance.”

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