SELECTED frontline Gwent Police officers will undergo ‘enhanced’ training to help them better respond to call-outs where someone is suffering from mental health issues.

The force – in response to a Freedom of Information Act request – said this additional training for officers for when they are called out to someone suffering a mental health episode will be rolled out in the next six months.

“Gwent Police are developing the expertise of certain frontline officers who have expressed and an interest and who will be receiving an enhanced level of mental health training,” a Gwent Police spokesperson said.

They added that training would be rolled out in the next six months.

Under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act 1983, the police are given the power to remove a person from a public place to a safe space, or to detain a person in a safe place, if they are suffering from a mental disorder and appear to be in immediate need of care – either for the person’s or the public’s safety.

Gwent Police was also asked to describe what methods it currently uses to help officers who are called out to people suffering mental health episodes.

“Gwent Police directly employs a team of five mental health professionals and a manager who provide a service from 8am to 2am seven days a week providing information and advice to police staff and officers involved in dealing with any mental health incident," it said.

“The team is supported by partner agencies with the result the team has read only access to health and social care databases in order to inform decision making. 

“Although the team is open to both health and social care professionals, the majority of the current team are Approved Mental Health Professionals with a social work background.

“The team provide information and advice directly into Storm (the system used to manage ongoing incidents), speak to officers in the community and act and provide consultation where the use of Section 136 is being considered, liaise with partner agencies to secure support for people in mental health crisis and speak to the person in crisis themselves where necessary to establish the support they require.”