Norfolk police has halted the introduction of a controversial new policy which would see it not respond to most mental health 999 calls following the deaths of four people in Costessey.

The force had been due to introduce the Right Care Right Person (RCRP) initiative next week but announced a suspension tonight.

Concerns had been raised about the policy in light of the deaths of Bartlomiej Kuczynski, 45, his two daughters Jasmin and Natasha and their maternal aunt Kanticha Sukpengpanao, 36, at their Queen's Hills home on January 19.

Police believe Kuczynski - who had mental health problems - killed his daughters and sister-in-law while his wife was at work, before taking his own life.

An hour before the bodies were found, Kuczynski called 999 to raise concerns about his mental health. But - although the RCRP policy was not in place - no officers were sent to the address and he was urged to seek medical help.


Norwich Evening News: The bodies were found at a property in Costessey on Friday, January 19The bodies were found at a property in Costessey on Friday, January 19 (Image: Denise Bradley)

Announcing the pause, Assistant Chief Constable Nick Davison said: “RCRP has always been about getting people in crisis the right care, from the right professional.

“We still believe it is right to implement RCRP and following 10 months of closely working with our partners in health and social care, we are ready to go live.

“However, we are acutely aware of the commentary and concerns the incident in Costessey has generated, which is why we took time to review our position."

He added: “Given some of the concerns, it is only right we postpone the roll-out to allow for a short period of consolidation to give us extra time to provide additional information and reassurance to the public and the wider health and social care system.

“We’ve carefully considered our approach to this and sought learning from other force areas.

"We believe this is the right thing to do to make sure people in mental health crisis get the right support, which all too often, can be better handled by another agency, and not a police officer. As we move forward we will keep the public and partners updated on our plans.”

Norwich Evening News: Sisters Jasmin and Natasha Kuczynska and Kanticha Sukpengpanao were found dead at the family homeSisters Jasmin and Natasha Kuczynska and Kanticha Sukpengpanao were found dead at the family home (Image: PA/Facebook)

Even before the killings, critics had concerns about the policy, which they claimed could leave people at risk.

A number of police forces have already introduced the scheme, saying mental health call-outs required huge resources, and that police officers were not qualified to deal with most mental health situations.

Under the policy, those calling 999 requiring urgent mental health support are passed on to health agencies.

However, police would continue to attend call-outs if there was a perceived threat to life or a person at risk of serious harm.

Norfolk Constabulary has already referred itself to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) over its handling of Kuczynski's call on the day of the tragedy.

The killings have also put a spotlight on the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, which provides mental health services and has been under fire for poor performance for several years.

Kuczynski was a patient and the trust is facing calls for a wider public inquiry.