Narre Warren PACER unit

Ms GRALEY (Narre Warren South) — My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Police. The action I seek is that the minister, who I see is in the house, visit the Narre Warren police station to meet with the outstanding members of the police, ambulance and clinical emergency response (PACER) unit.

The PACER unit acts as a secondary response unit that can be requested by police for incidents that may require on-site clinical assessment of a person’s mental health, advice on mental health referral options and appropriate transportation options. They can also assist in de-escalating high-risk situations and in dealing with individuals who regularly contact and request assistance from emergency services. The expert assistance provided by PACER often ensures that transportation to an emergency department by police or ambulance is not required.

We have just had some debate on the Mental Health Amendment Bill 2015, and I think it is really important that the minister comes and sees the work of the PACER units, because they are doing some very comprehensive and fabulous work in this area. These units also allow the initial police response unit to return to other operational duties much sooner. It is a win-win situation for the patient and the family, and for the police force. In the past police officers who were concerned about an individual’s mental health would take them to an emergency department and be required to remain there until an assessment was made. This would often take many hours.

In an article headed ‘Fast pace against problem’, which was published in the Dandenong Journal, First Constable Travis Cute said he has:

… painful memories pre-PACER of languishing for his entire eight-hour police shift in Casey Hospital emergency department’s waiting room, just sitting with a mentally ill woman until she was assessed by medical staff.

Clearly this was not the best use of police resources; it is probably not even a good use of resources for the hospital. Now PACER units ensure that the majority of assessments are done at home with family, which allows a better outcome for all.

Members would all agree that this should be looked at for other areas in Victoria too. Individuals in need of assistance are now receiving the care and support they need much sooner, and police are able to get back on the roads and keep our communities safe.

 I know that the local community appreciates all that our brave police officers do each and every day, but they are really busy people. Their hard work and sacrifice ensure that we all feel much safer in our own homes, as we should. Everybody should feel safe in their own home. I thank them for all they do.

 I hope I will have the opportunity to welcome the minister to the electorate to meet with the local police force. I am sure police officers will have much to say about the wonderful work they are doing to help so many people in their community and provide this more effective use of police resources.