Police co-response teams urgently needed in the regions: Greens

Greens spokesperson for Mental Health Hon Alison Xamon MLC has called for the further expansion of the Mental Health Police Co-Response Teams program as a matter of urgency– saying more needs to be done to support people living in the regions.

“Recent events highlight how acute the need is for this program no matter where you live in WA .  There is absolutely no doubt that the regions need access to the co-response teams now,” Ms Xamon said.

An evaluation of the program found it to be a resounding success – finding that the teams had made an enormous difference in de-escalating situations and reducing the number of people having to be taken to hospital.

“Police themselves recognise the value of the program and want to see it more widely available. I appreciate that the Government committed in May to a further rollout of the Co-response teams but as we can see it is becoming critical that urgent priority be given to the regions, and in particular our large regional centres,” Ms Xamon said.

Ms Xamon said she recognises there are logistical challenges to extending the programs out across the state, which is why she has been calling for a staged roll out of the co-response teams.

“As larger regional centres Bunbury and Geraldton would be ideal locations to begin with.   Each of these two cities have sizeable populations and each operated as hubs for service provision.

“Having co-response teams in the regions will result in significant savings for the health budget and increase wellbeing for the people there.

“I urge the Government extend this highly successful initiative to regional areas as a matter of priority.