Dorset Police is working with the NHS, social care providers and other partnership agencies to ensure people in crisis are responded to and supported by the appropriate agency in a timely manner so they receive the best care.

The partnership falls within the principles of Right Care Right Person (RCRP) and is being adopted in areas across the country after a successful trial in Humberside. In Dorset, it is being introduced in four phases with the first phase relating to concern for welfare calls now live.

RCRP will not stop Dorset Police’s immediate response to attend incidents where there is a threat to life. Every call to a police control room is assessed using the national College of Policing RCRP decision making toolkit and this ensures officers are supporting partners appropriately and improving the response to core policing responsibilities, such as preventing and detecting crime.

Jenni Douglas-Todd, Chair of the Our Dorset Integrated Care System (ICS), said: “Mental health is as important as physical health and as such we should be ensuring the right care is available when people need support.

“The Right Care Right Person approach will mean that people who may otherwise seek help from Dorset Police in times of crisis are directed to a more appropriate service.

“There are many ways people can get help for their mental health, from low level support for times when they are feeling down, through to focussed care in times of a crisis, and I encourage people to find out more about the help that is available, such as calling the Connections service on 0800 652 0190.”

Subsequent phases of RCRP will include ensuring a better partnership operating model to respond to patients walking out of health or social care facilities, detention under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act and transporting patients to hospital and secure facilities.

If you, a friend or loved one requires mental health support you can access a range of services from Dorset Healthcare as part of Access Mental Health Dorset (dorsethealthcare.nhs.uk).

Connection – a 24/7 helpline open to all ages. Dorset residents or people visiting Dorset can call 0800 652 0190 or NHS 111 for free.

The Retreat – open to anyone aged 18 or above, providing a safe space to seek face-to-face help and support.

Community Front Rooms – open to anyone aged 18 or above, providing a welcoming, safe space where you can discuss problems and work towards possible solutions at locations in Bridport, Shaftesbury, Weymouth and Wareham. Anyone concerned about the immediate safety of a loved one should continue to call Dorset Police on 999 or 101.