A pilot scheme in which police are working alongside mental health nurses is to be expanded.
Three extra nurses from the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust are to join the Norfolk Police control room at Wymondham in a bid to ensure people with mental health problems get the right advice when they first contact police.
Officials say the move will mean specialist mental health staff are on hand to respond to calls seven days a week.
And they claim that the initiative has already led to a 30 per cent fall in the number of people being detained by police under mental health legislation so that they can be assessed.
The expansion of the scheme is being funded by investment from the county’s police and crime commissioner, Stephen Bett, and the Home Office totalling £170,000.
The commissioner’s office is providing around 40 per cent of the cost.
Mr Bett said: “The pilot scheme showed that we needed further support, so that is why we have put funding in place and decided to appoint further mental health specialists.
“With a pressing need to offer expertise and support to mental health patients, having additional nurses will also mean our officers will have more time to look after other policing issues in Norfolk.”
The initiative was developed as part of a scheme, known as the Mental Health Concordat, to encourage greater co-ordination between public bodies who work with mental health patients.