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The impact of street triage on section 136 detention in Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust, England

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Patrick Keown, Dr Iain McKinnonORCiD


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AIMS AND HYPOTHESIS to test the hypothesis that street triage reduces section 136 detentions (S136). BACKGROUND Police detentions under S136 have risen significantly in recent years. To address this, street triage was introduced as part of the Crisis Care Concordat. It involves police officers working alongside mental health clinicians. This paper evaluates the impact of Street Triage (ST) in Northumberland, Tyne and Wear (NTW). METHODS The total population covered was 1,420,800 in six localities. The numbers of ST contacts and S136 detentions were gathered from September 2013 to October 2015, and rates per locality calculated. Changes in S136 detentions were compared to the rate of ST. Detailed outcome data on detentions and voluntary admissions were obtained from one locality (Sunderland). RESULTS The annual rate of S136 detentions for NTW reduced by 56% in the first year of ST (from 59.8 per 100,000 population to 26.4 per 100,000). ST was implemented over a period of 10 months; when ST covered all six localities the reduction in the monthly number of S136 detentions was 75%. There was a linear relationship between rate of ST in each locality and the reduction in rate of S136. In the first year of ST in three of the localities there were 1,623 ST contacts and 403 fewer S136 detentions, suggesting every 4.7 ST contact leads to one fewer S136 detention. The data from Sunderland indicate a 78% reduction in S136 detentions but their outcomes did not change. Fewer individuals were assessed in police cells and A&E. There were fewer voluntary admissions, fewer section 2 detentions, a slight increase in section 4 detentions, and no change in section 3 detentions for working age adults. CONCLUSIONS There is strong evidence to support the hypothesis that ST decreases the rate of S136 detention. When operating across the whole of NTW, ST resulted in 600 fewer S136 detentions a year, leading to substantial savings of police, health and social care professionals time. There is now a need to evaluate the outcomes for those seen by the ST service.

Publication metadata

Author(s): French J, Keown P, McKinnon I, Gibson G, Newton E, Cull S, Brown P, Parry J, Lyons D

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: International Congress of the Royal College of Psychiatrists

Year of Conference: 2016

Acceptance date: 05/04/2016