A NEW agreement to improve the system of care and support for people in a mental health crisis has been signed by the Welsh Government, police forces, the NHS, councils and other agencies. The crisis care concordat commits the organisations which have signed up to work together to intervene early and, if possible, to reduce the likelihood of people posing a risk to themselves or others as a result of a mental health condition. A key part of this approach are new proposals to reduce the use of police custody for people suffering with mental health problems. People with suspected mental health issues who are detained under the Mental Health Act should be assessed within three hours and not be held in police custody for more than 12 hours.
All organisations which sign the concordat have made a commitment to find the most appropriate support needed for people in whatever situation and whichever service a person turns to, making sure that any intervention is carried out without any unnecessary or inappropriate placement; for example within police custody. Other commitments include: People under 18 who experience a mental health crisis should never be held in police custody unless in exceptional circumstances; Police vehicles will rarely be used to convey people in crisis, except the most violent of individuals and only in exceptional cases to transport people between NHS facilities; NHS transport or other health vehicles, but not necessarily an ambulance, should be commissioned to take people in a mental health crisis to hospital; If a young person under 18 is detained under section 135 or 136 of the Mental Health Act and taken to a police station for assessment, a case review will be held within seven days to determine whether this could have been avoided in order to learn from that incident; Monitoring groups within health boards will review every section 135 and 136 detention within police custody to determine its appropriateness.
Health and Social Services Minister, Mark Drakeford said: “This new agreement is about providing the most appropriate care and support to those facing a mental health crisis, whatever the time, every day of the year. “It is about all those who have signed up working closely together so we avoid people being wrongly kept in a police cell and instead being given access to the right treatment for them. I am delighted this deal has brought together so many organisations that have a vital role to play.” Jon Stratford, assistant chief constable, South Wales Police said: “Too many people end up in police cells when detained for their own or others’ safety under the Mental Health Act instead of receiving appropriate support and help. We welcome the development of the crisis care concordat. “The signing of today’s agreement is an important step in improving how all agencies work together to protect vulnerable people.” Sara Moseley, director of Mind Cymru and chair of the Wales Alliance on Mental Health, said: “When you are in crisis you are at your most vulnerable. You may be experiencing delusions or hallucinations, you might be suicidal or self-harming, it can be very frightening – you need the right help urgently.
“A police cell is a completely inappropriate environment in which to receive that care and support. Mind has been campaigning for action on reducing the use of police cells for people in crisis for many years. Bringing together so many agencies including the police, the NHS and the third sector is a great achievement and shows how determined we are to create change. “This is a crucial first step. There’s a lot more to do to make sure that anyone experiencing a mental health crisis gets the right care. We need to make sure that mental health services can cope with demand and get people the help they need early on to prevent them reaching crisis point in the first place. Great crisis care exists but we need to make sure it exists for anyone in Wales who needs it.” Dyfed-Powys Police and Crime Commissioner Christopher Salmon said: “I welcome this Concordat. “I raised this issue with Welsh Government two years ago and I’m glad that Dyfed-Powys Police and Hywel Dda University Health Board have led the way.”
Explaining how Dyfed Powys Police had taken steps to anticipate the Concordat, Mr Salmon continued: “I’m delighted that – a year after we launched our Street Triage scheme to help those in mental distress during police incidents – the Concordat will recognise the importance of treating mental illness as a health issue, not a police one. “The work of all those involved in delivering our local service is to be applauded; a huge amount of effort and expertise has resulted in a great new project.” Mr Salmon concluded: “In the past, many people have been locked in police cells when what they’ve really needed is health treatment. Across the Hywel Dda area – Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire – they now get that treatment. “The Concordat has been a long time coming but will put clear responsibility on health services to treat mental health cases. The police will be there to help, not the other way round. It’s a great example of work between the police and the health board.”
New Quay RNLI rescue two people in the water
ON FRIDAY (Jul 16), New Quay RNLI’s inshore lifeboat was requested to launch by HM Coastguard following reports of two people in the water off Ynys Lochtyn, near Llangrannog, having capsized their kayak.
At 10.40am New Quay’s inshore lifeboat Audrey LJ launched with three volunteer crew members on board and made good speed down the coast in excellent weather conditions.
Huw Williams, New Quay RNLI’s helm said, “When we arrived on scene we found one person had made it back onto the kayak and one still in the water. Both had been in the water for 30 minutes and were struggling in the tidal current so it was important that we got them on board to be assessed.
“The Coastguard Rescue Helicopter was also tasked but was stood down after we confirmed that both casualties were safe and well, with no injuries.
“Having got the casualties and the kayak onto the lifeboat we transferred them to Llangrannog beach where we handed over to the RNLI lifeguards and the New Quay Coastguard rescue team.”
It was also a first shout for New Quay RNLI’s newest crew member, Will Best.
Will is an international yachtsman and, sailing on the yacht Alegre, he has chalked up wins in both the Rolex Middle Sea and Giraglia Races. He was also navigator on board the winning 2011 Sydney to Hobart race boat Loki. As well as sailing competitively, Will specialises in the design and installation of electronic systems on Grand Prix race boats and super yachts. He has also worked with a number of America’s Cup and Volvo race teams.
Roger Couch, New Quay RNLI’s Lifeboat Operations Manager said, “Will brings a wealth of seafaring knowledge and is a great addition to the crew. Welcome on board Will!”
Will added, “It has been great to join the New Quay RNLI crew. They are a great team and I’m glad I’ve got my first shout under my belt.”
Man, 22, charged with murder of John William Bell in Cardigan
A CARDIGAN man has been charged with murder after a man’s death in Ceredigion.
Dyfed-Powys Police said 22-year-old Ashley Keegan, of Golwg y Castell, Cardigan, has been charged with his murder.
A Dyfed-Powys Police spokesperson said: “Dyfed-Powys Police can confirm that Ashley Keegan, aged 22, of Golwg y Castell, Cardigan, has been charged with the murder of John William Bell.
“Keegan will appear at Swansea magistrates court on Saturday 24th July 2021.
“John’s family continue to be supported by specialist officers and the investigation is grateful for the support of the community whilst enquiries were conducted.”
This is the second major incident in the same area this month.
Another man was charged with making threats with a knife, he is again from Golwg y Castell.
Dyfed-Powys Police said they received a number of calls reporting a man brandishing a knife towards another man in Maesyfelin, Cardigan, at around 4.20pm on Wednesday (July 14).
Several police units swiftly made their way to the area, but the suspect had fled.
Dean Thomas, aged 25, was quickly located at his home in Golwg y Castell, where he was arrested on suspicion of affray and taken to custody.
Mobile phone footage was gathered from people at the scene, and statements were taken from witnesses.
Cardigan Inspector Owen Williams said: “Thanks to the swift attendance of officers, there were a number of people present who were able to provide evidence to assist with our enquiries.
“Thomas also made a significant statement linking himself with the incident, and was charged within hours of being arrested.
“I hope the speed with which we carried out enquiries into this incident reassures people living in Maesyfelin, who were naturally very concerned by what had happened.”
Thomas was charged with threatening a person with a blade or sharply pointed article in a public place and appeared at Aberystwyth Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, July 15 where he admitted the offence.
He will be sentenced on July 29 at Swansea Crown Court.
In relation to the murder, anyone with information that could help officers with their investigation is asked to report it to Dyfed-Powys Police, either online at: https://bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing email@example.com, or by calling 101 and quoting Op Reedham. If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908. Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555111, or visiting crimestoppers-uk.org.
Devastated family’s tribute to ‘loving and devoted’ son
THE FAMILY of the 37-year-old man who died in Cardigan in the early hours of Wednesday morning (Jul 21) have said he will be “hugely missed by all that loved him”.
John Bell, who lived in the town, was found on the road to Cardigan Bridge at around midnight.
His family has issued this statement: “We are devastated at the loss of John.
“He was a loving and devoted Son, Brother, Father and Uncle and he will be hugely missed by all that loved him.
“We ask for privacy at this time.”
John’s family is being supported by specially trained officers.
A 22-year-old man arrested on suspicion of murder remains in police custody.
Detective Superintendent Paul Jones said: “Our thoughts go out to John’s family at this very difficult time.
“We are currently focussing our investigation in Golwg Y Castell and the road between there and Cardigan Bridge, where Mr Bell was located.
“We are appealing for any witnesses who may have seen or heard an altercation in that area during the evening of Tuesday, 20 July, particularly the latter part of the evening, after 10pm, before police attended at around midnight.”
Anyone with information that could help officers with their investigation is asked to report it to Dyfed-Powys Police, either online at https://bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling 101. If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908. Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555111, or visiting crimestoppers-uk.org. Quote reference: DP-20210720-458.
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