Police announce specialist mental health task force

    Inspector Wayne Goodwin

    A GROUP of police officers are set to form a dedicated Mental Health Team, it has been announced.

    Kent Police have decided to create the new specialist division in response to the large amount of police time – around a third – taken up with people experiencing a mental health crisis.

    Inspector Wayne Goodwin, who will be part of the new team, said: “Kent Police has always maintained that mental health is not a crime, but in fact a health and welfare issue. However, we are committed to making sure those who suffer a mental health crisis receive the best and most appropriate care, and to working hard with our partners to that end.

    “As part of that work, we will soon be creating a dedicated Mental Health Team featuring six officers who will build on the established links we already have with mental health venues across the county.”

    One such link will open next Thursday [April 20] in the form of the Solace Café at West Kent Mind’s Wellbeing Centre in St Mary’s Road.

    It will be open on Thursday and Saturday evenings from 5-9pm, and the charity’s aim is for it to provide a ‘safe and non-judgemental environment’ for those ‘who are at risk of developing a mental health crisis, and are in need of support and social contact’.

    The project has been championed by Kent Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott as a way to alleviate officers’ time, and provide the appropriate care for those with mental health problems.