Right Care Right Person (RCRP) is a partnership approach between Dorset Police, the NHS, social care providers and other partnership agencies to ensure people in crisis are responded to and supported by the appropriate agency in a timely manner so they receive the best care.

In 2020 Humberside Police introduced Right Care Right Person (RCRP) following a four-year pilot. His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) recognised the model as good practice.

The resulting National Partnership Agreement brought together signatories from the Home Office, National Police Chiefs’ Council, Association of Police & Crime Commissioners, College of Policing, NHS England and the Department for Health & Social Care.

In Dorset, RCRP is being introduced in four phases with the first phase going live on Monday 22 April 2024 and relating to concern for welfare calls.

These are the calls that police officers are asked to attend because another agency cannot, but they do not have the right training to be able to provide the specialist expertise and support people really need. In these circumstances colleagues working in health or social care are best placed to offer help.

Listening directly to individuals who have experienced mental health crisis, it is known that police intervention can sometimes have a detrimental effect on patients who can feel they are being criminalised because of their health or social care issues.

The RCRP approach is solely about ensuring our communities receive an appropriate response from the individuals and agencies best equipped to support them.

It will not stop Dorset Police’s immediate response to attend incidents where there is a threat to life. They have a duty to protect our communities and will continue to do so.

Every call to a police control room is assessed using the national College of Policing RCRP decision making toolkit. This ensures officers are supporting partners appropriately and improving the response to core policing responsibilities, such as preventing and detecting crime.

Subsequent phases of RCRP in Dorset will include ensuring a better partnership operating model to respond to patients walking out of health or social care facilities, detention under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act and transporting patients to hospital and secure facilities.

Jenni Douglas-Todd is chair of the Our Dorset, Integrated Care System (ICS). She said “Mental health is as important as physical health and as such we should be ensuring the right care is available when people need support.

“The Right Care Right Person approach will mean that people who may otherwise seek help from Dorset Police in times of crisis are directed to a more appropriate service.

“There are many ways people can get help for their mental health, from low level support for times when they are feeling down, through to focussed care in times of a crisis, and I encourage people to find out more about the help that is available.”

If you, a friend or loved one requires mental health support you can access a range of services including:

  • Dorset Healthcare, as part of Access Mental Health Dorset (dorsethealthcare.nhs.uk).
  • Connection– a 24/7 helpline open to all ages. Dorset residents or people visiting Dorset can call 0800 652 0190 or NHS 111 for free.
  • The Retreat – open to anyone aged 18 or above, providing a safe space to seek face-to-face help and support.
  • Community Front Rooms – open to anyone aged 18 or above, providing a welcoming, safe space where you can discuss problems and work towards possible solutions at locations in Bridport, Shaftesbury, Weymouth and Wareham.