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Police resources still strained by demand from other services

Police responded to almost 2,000 missing episodes in six months  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Police responded to almost 2,000 missing episodes in six months Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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Demand on police from mental health incidents and children repeatedly going missing is still putting strain on resources, according to new reports.

An update on safeguarding children and young people reported 1,888 recorded 'missing episodes' between February 1 and July 25, covering 893 people, including 420 children.

Temporary Assistant Chief Constable, David Cutler said monthly multi-agency meetings were being held to look at cases of high-risk missing children and check that other services were fulfilling their responsibilities.

"These are often really complex, challenging individuals, likely to be in care, which exacerbates their vulnerability," he told a meeting of the police and crime commissioner's accountability and performance panel.

"We've seen success from these tasking group meeting and from the youth gangs prevention team in turning lives around.

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"There is more we can do with children's homes in terms of keeping the challenge on them when it comes to children who go missing multiple times."

From October, the current Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) will be replaced with the new Suffolk Safeguarding Children's board, placing responsibility for delivery of safeguarding plans on the police, health service and local authority.

In the year ending August 2019, there were 58 'child remands' requested for transfer to local authority care. Fourteen could not be found accommodation, while 35 cases were deemed not suitable to be transferred because of a welfare, or security risk.

Meanwhile, seven people were detained under section 136 of the Mental Health Act while under investigation for other offences at police investigation centres.

Ass Ch Const Cutler said data had been discussed with the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT), which is collaborating with the constabulary to provide extra support to those the police regularly encounter due to mental ill-health, with two high intensity liaison officers providing support to the most vulnerable people whose mental health impacts disproportionately on police, health and social care services.

The two year pilot is being funded by the NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk and West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Groups, the police and a grant from the Transformation Challenge Award.

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