A controversial scheme which will see police in Norfolk no longer respond to certain mental health calls will begin next week - despite fears from campaigners that it could cost lives.

Norfolk Constabulary's introduction of the so-called Right Care, Right Person (RCRP) protocol was placed on hold earlier this year following the deaths of four family members in Costessey.

But the force has now confirmed the start date for the contentious approach - which will see officers attend mental health-related call-outs only if there is an immediate risk to life.

The constabulary says the measure will free up officers to focus on crime prevention and investigation, while aiming to ensure people in crisis are responded to by the appropriate medical professionals.

But campaigners fear the region's already overstretched mental health services will not be able to cope and the move will put lives at risk.

Eastern Daily Press: Mark HarrisonMark Harrison (Image: Newsquest)

Mark Harrison, chairman of the Campaign to Save Mental Health Services in Norfolk and Suffolk, said: "To do this now is both unsafe and reckless.

"This is unbelievable, so soon after people tragically lost their lives in Costessey.

"The mental health service and the police are not working together."

Mr Harrison said the timing of the move was particularly concerning as the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, which is responsible for mental health care, is planning to temporarily close one of its Section 136 emergency suites for six months of refurbishments.

These are specific facilities for patients in crisis who have been detained under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act and which police are often required to take people to.

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The roll-out of Right Care, Right Person was paused in February in direct response to concerns raised after the deaths of four family members at a house in Queens' Hills, Costessey.

The tragedy saw 45-year-old  Bartlomiej Kuczynski kill his two daughters, Jasmin, 12 and Natasha, eight, and their aunt Kanticha Sukpengpanoa, 36, before taking his own life.

Shortly before the bodies were found, Kucynski called 999 because he was "confused" and concerned about his mental health.

Officers were not sent to the property and the bodies were only discovered after a member of the public raised the alarm.

The incident sparked a review of the RCRP plans from the College of Policing - but with this review now completed the plans are going ahead as of Wednesday, May 29.

Eastern Daily Press: Nick DavisonNick Davison (Image: Archant)


Assistant chief constable Nick Davison. who is overseeing the rollout, said: "This initiative has aways been about getting people in crisis the right are from the right profession.

"While we believed it was right to introduce RCRP and were prepared to go live in February, we postponed the roll-out to give us extra time to address to concerns and commentary brought about by the tragic events in Costessey."

He added that the review, and a separate probe into 999 call handling from His Majesty's Inspectorate, had provided "additional reassurance" over the roll-out.

Eastern Daily Press:

Tracey Bleakley, chief executive of NHS Norfolk and Waveney's integrated care board, said: "All partners are committed to working collaboratively and carefully together to implement RCRP.

"We have taken steps to tailor the model for Norfolk and are working together with our partners so we can make the necessary changes to service provision and ensure vulnerable people are given appropriate care."



The controversial model is already in use by several police forces across the country.

It is based on an approach piloted by police in Humberside and has also been adopted by the Metropolitan Police in London.

Under the approach, police will still attend mental health-related incidents in which there is an immediate threat to life.

But officers will not attend routine welfare checks related to mental health or accompany patients in hospital while they await assessment.

In 2023, Norfolk Constabulary received almost 23,000 calls requesting welfare checks. Officers attended in 12,638 cases.