Skip to main content

General enquiries:

(04) 496 6800


0800 500 122

Members of the Wellington Co-Response Team in 2022. The multi-agency mental health initiative was devised and piloted in the capital and now operates in six Police districts.

The Metropolitan Police in London says it is saving 34,000 officer hours a month since it introduced the Right Care, Right Person (RCRP) mental health initiative.

The Met gave other related agencies six months’ notice that it would implement RCRP on November 1, 2023, meaning its officers would stop attending medical calls where a healthcare professional was more appropriate. Since RCRP was introduced officers have attended 6000 fewer jobs each month, the Met says.

Meanwhile, New Zealand is still formulating a plan to shift some of its 80,000 mental distress callouts each year away from a Police-led response to a multiagency response.

Minister of Mental Health Matt Doocey told Police News that he and Minister of Police Mark Mitchell took a paper to Cabinet early last month “with an update on the work to develop a five-year transition plan”. They will return to Cabinet in November with more detail on what will happen in years two to five.

Police Association president Chris Cahill says it feels like yet another delay.

“It’s just more planning of a plan with vague, distant timeframes. Health needs to step up and step up now. We’re not seeing any action from their end.

“This isn’t a police role, it’s a health role. People in mental distress are not criminals. Police should only be involved when there is a risk to someone’s safety. They cannot sustain the demand that is happening and be continually pulled away from core policing.”

Matt Doocey says some work is under way. In March, he announced an initiative to embed people with first-hand experience of mental illness in emergency departments (EDs), saying the first service was expected to be up and running next month.

“Health NZ has begun working with the eight EDs with the highest volume of [mental health issue] presentations… all have expressed an interest in trialling peer support.”

He said Health NZ was still determining which four hospitals would be in the first tranche of the trial and that it would take two years to extend the trial to all eight EDs.

Meanwhile, he says, the Ministry of Health, Health NZ and Police would spend the next six months on a data project to build a stronger picture of the needs of people calling 111. “This will help inform design of the multi-agency response and any other appropriate interventions (years two to five of the transition plan).”

Six Police districts already have staff dedicated to mental health through the Co-Response Team trial. The multi-agency model has resulted in police officers spending 30% less time at mental health incidents, Chris says. “However, the association would like to see a response model that did not include police at all. They are not qualified and they are not who people suffering mental distress need.”

Who's who in the Co-Response Teams

Waitematā DistrictDistrict-wideNorth Shore Policing Centre

1 x sergeant
2 x constable
3 x mental health (MH) clinician

Counties ManukauDistrict-wideMental health crisis office, Wiri3 x sergeant
No dedicated MH clinician
WaikatoHamilton cityWaikato Hospital3 x constable
1 x MH clinician
TaranakiResponse: New Plymouth
Support: wider Taranaki
Taranaki Base Hospital2 x constable
2 x MH clinician
2 x kaimahi
WellingtonDistrict-wideWellington Central Police Station2 x sergeant
3 x MH clinician
1 x paramedic
SouthernDunedin metroDunedin Central Police Station2 x constable
2 x MH clinician


Latest News