Scrutiny concerned by delayed mental health suite
24th February 2023
The Children, Education and Home Affairs Scrutiny Panel questioned the Minister for Home Affairs yesterday and learned that the delivery of a mental health suite for those experiencing a mental health crisis has been delayed until June 2023. The panel is concerned about the continuing impact that this delay will have on the core services of the States of Jersey Police, with officers responding to 139 mental health incidents so far in 2023.
The Chief Officer of the States of Jersey Police noted a “welcome reduction” of 2.8% in the number of mental health incidents responded to by the police so far this year when compared to the same period in 2022, but also highlighted that the police were used as a “service of last resort”. The panel is keen to see progress on the delivery of a mental health suite to ensure the appropriate facilities are available to those who are experiencing a crisis and are in need of specialist support.
The panel also commented on their recent “inspirational” visit to the Jersey Sea Cadets, which is run by 40 voluntary tutors and provides a service for 170 young people with a focus on skills development. The Minister advised that the location for a new headquarters is not yet publicly available, and confirmed that the premises will be shared between the Sea Cadets and the Army Cadets, although they will remain as two distinct organisations.
The panel heard that securing a mechanism for French tourists to visit Jersey without requiring a passport is a priority for the Minister. A pilot scheme to enable French day trippers to use a carte d’identité is being developed with a view to supporting tourism during the summer season. There was also discussion of the viability of increased travel links to France through Gorey Harbour.
Deputy Catherine Curtis, Chair of the Children, Education and Home Affairs Scrutiny Panel commented: “We feel strongly that the creation of a mental health suite is a vital development that will enable our police service to focus on policing and allow those in mental health crisis to access the specialised services that they need. The panel heard that the States of Jersey Police dealt with almost 1500 mental health-related incidents in 2022, which indicates the level of resource necessary to properly support potentially complex issues.
“We look forward to hearing confirmation about when the mental health suite will be opened and ready for use.”
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