Responding to the HMIC’s thematic report ‘The Welfare of Vulnerable People in Police Custody’, Martyn Underhill, Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner and the APCC’s lead on Mental Health and Policing, said:
“We welcome HMIC’s thorough inspection of the welfare of vulnerable people in police custody. This is an incredibly important issue and I am pleased that the report identifies that often police custody is used as a substitute for social and health care. This is an area that Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) are particularly concerned about and are working hard to address. PCCs have long said that custody is no place for those in crisis or for the vulnerable.
“PCCs and their forces are working hard to reduce the number of overnight detentions of children and people with mental health issues, but it is nonetheless a concern that it is happening in still too many cases – often due to difficulty in finding appropriate alternative accommodation.
“This HMIC report provides further evidence that a victim/ public focused Liaison and Diversion pilot scheme is needed. In my recent letter to the Deputy Prime Minster, I called for his backing to develop four Liason and Diversion pilots to identify and support those who come into contact with the Criminal Justice System, but who are not offenders. PCCs believe the HMIC report provides further evidence that lends weight to their case for funding and expertise for the pilots.”