Following the tragic deaths of four family members in Costessey near Norwich, Norfolk Police has announced a pause in its plans to cease attending 999 mental health calls. The force had intended to implement the Right Care Right Person (RCRP) policy, which aimed to direct individuals in crisis to the appropriate healthcare professionals. However, the incident has generated concerns and commentary, leading the constabulary to postpone the roll-out in order to address these issues.
Norfolk Police Assistant Chief Constable Nick Davison emphasized that the force still believes in the importance of implementing the RCRP policy, but acknowledges the need to review their position in light of recent events. The bodies of Bartlomiej Kuczynski, Kanticha Sukpengpanao, and sisters Jasmin and Natasha Kuczynska were discovered with stab wounds on January 19. Prior to the incident, Mr. Kuczynski had dialed 999 for assistance and was directed to NHS 111.
The deaths of Jasmin, Natasha, and Ms. Sukpengpanao are being treated as murder, while Mr. Kuczynski’s death is not considered suspicious. The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) is currently investigating the incident. Save Mental Health in Norfolk and Suffolk, a campaign group, had previously expressed concerns that the proposed changes in the police response to mental health calls could lead to more deaths. In light of this tragedy, Norfolk Police has decided to postpone the roll-out of the RCRP policy.
The force aims to provide additional information and reassurance to the public and the wider health and social care system before proceeding with the implementation. The IOPC confirmed that Mr. Kuczynski had made a 999 call shortly before 06:00 GMT on January 21, expressing confusion and concern about his mental state. He was advised to seek medical advice and contact NHS 111. Police were eventually dispatched to the scene after receiving a second 999 call from a member of the public.
ACC Davison emphasized the importance of ensuring that individuals in mental health crises receive the appropriate support, which may be better provided by another agency rather than a police officer. In conclusion, the tragic deaths of four family members have prompted Norfolk Police to pause their plans to change their response to 999 mental health calls. While the force still believes in the importance of the proposed policy, they have decided to review their position and address the concerns raised by the recent incident.
The roll-out of the Right Care Right Person policy will be postponed to allow for the provision of additional information and reassurance to the public and the health and social care system. The incident is currently under investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct.