Police and charity officials have launched a pilot project which they believe will make it easier for people requiring emotional support to get the help they need.
Under the new initiative, members of the public who approach officers or police staff can arrange to be contacted by Samaritans volunteers to discuss their worries.
Members of the charity’s Lynn branch, together with those in Norwich and Yarmouth, are taking part in the scheme.
David Saunders, director of the Norwich group, said: “We are looking forward to developing this partnership with Norfolk Police and to offering a confidential listening service to callers who would welcome emotional support through a difficult time in their lives.”
The programme is designed to support people who approach frontline officers or staff either in person or by telephone.
Officers will give them information about the services provided by Samaritans and, if they give their consent to be contacted, a first name and contact telephone number, arrange for a volunteer to contact them at an agreed time,
The force stresses that the content of subsequent conversations between the individual and the charity are confidential and no information will be passed to police or any other organisation.
Temporary sergeant Marie Reavey, of the Norfolk Police control room, is leading the project.
She said: “Our frontline officers and staff are experts in dealing with criminal matters but if someone is struggling to cope and needs the time and space to talk, then Samaritans offers a support service round the clock, every single day of the year.
“As much as we try to offer support and help we want to point people in the right direction to gain the best help on offer.
“We can be reassured that they then have had the opportunity to seek the support they need.”