A major change is being brought in by North Yorkshire Police in how it responds to calls after years of being required to offer support to people who really need specialist medical or psychological care.

From this week the force is adopting a "Right Care Right Person" approach, which it says means when there are concerns for someone’s welfare linked to mental health, medical or social care issues, partner agencies will be contacted.

The force is concerned police intervention can have a detrimental effect on vulnerable people who feel they are being criminalised because of their health or social care issues.

A spokesperson said: "In recent years police officers have often been required to offer support to those who really require specialist medical or psychological care. Under Right Care Right Person our officers will no longer be taking on this responsibility when it is not appropriate to do so."

Assistant Chief Constable Mike Walker said the force realises this will mean big changes for some partners. He added: “Our commitment to protect the most vulnerable in our communities is not changing and we will still attend where there is an immediate risk to life or a risk of serious harm.

Darlington and Stockton Times:

“However, when agencies call us about issues which do not meet the threshold for police intervention under the ‘Right Care, Right Person’ model, we will signpost them to the most appropriate service to take primacy.

“This puts the individual at the very heart of our decision making and means that a police officer is often not the right person to be providing this care.

“In some cases, we may need to deploy alongside medical or mental health workers where those agencies need to take primacy but there is still a risk to those involved.

“We realise this will mean some big changes for some of our partners, who have become used to calling us to help in these situations.

“That is why we have been working with mental health care providers, NHS representatives, local authorities and the ambulance service to let them know about our plans and give them plenty of time to make changes to the way they work.”

The threshold for police intervention will be if there is an immediate risk to life or serious harm to an identified person and a decision-making toolkit is being used by the Force Control Room to identify calls. ACC Walker said they will be using THRIVE (Threat, Harm, Risk, Investigation, Vulnerability and Engagement) principles and where the calls do not meet the police threshold for attendance it will be marked as non-attendance and closed.

Where police feel unsure they will go through police systems checks or liaise with a partner agency to help make a decision.

ACC Walker said similar schemes have already been successfully adopted by forces in Humberside, Lincolnshire, and Hampshire and the Met in London.

He added: “It is important for us to maintain trust and confidence in the ability of the police to meet their needs and to be sympathetic and engaged with our communities. Our message to our partner agencies is one of co-operation and working in partnership.”