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Mental Health Triage (208A/22)


I would like to ask under the FOI, which of these – if any – are in operation in your force area. You may also operate more than one for example it may be different in rural and urban areas, or it may differ in different Health Authority areas. It may also be that you operate something else altogether, in which case could I ask what for a brief description of it.

The 3 commonest interventions include:

  1. Highly trained police officers who respond to mental health incidents.
  2. Joint ‘triage’ patrols of police officers and mental health professionals who respond to incidents.
  3. A telephone ‘triage’ system where officers can ring a mental health professional when they are dealing with someone who is mentally


  • The West Midlands Police currently have a Mental Health Tactical Advisor Unit. The unit consists of 12 officers in 3 teams of 4. The team currently have 3 vacancies. The team work a 3 early shift, 3 late shifts and 3 days off. The team are on duty from the hours off 1000-0200. Each officer is an experienced response officer. They have also completed a 3-day course in Mental Health law. This qualifies them to be a Mental health Tac advisor. Tac Advisors in the police give advice to officers, often of a senior rank. The Team will review all logs with a mental health footprint and give advice. If the log is of a serious nature, for example a disturbance in a Mental health facility the team will attend. The team will also give advice to officers on the use of Section 136 Powers. This advice will be in relation to the officers use their powers or not. The Team advises that where possible the officers should take advice from a medical professional before using this power. The team can also direct officers to who they can speak to before this power is used, for example the local Place of Safety.
  • In Coventry the local MH trust have a CPN who is available between the hours off 1400-0200. They are available for advice and will attend incidents if required. The CPN will also provide a “Triage system” when called for advice
  • Apart from the Coventry model mentioned above there is no Triage system. However, officers do have the numbers for the local Place of Safety and will often call for advice and the patients’ history before using Section 136 powers where possible.



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