Custody is not an appropriate place for people suffering with mental ill health
After media reports highlighted the difficulties policing faces in detaining people experiencing mental ill health, due to shortages in beds, the APCC's Mental Health and Custody leads PCCs Lisa Townsend and PCC Emily Spurrell have issued a statement.
They said: “Nobody suffering with mental ill health should be detained in police custody or in a police vehicle. Unfortunately, the 24/7 nature of policing means the police are all too often the service of last resort.
“Police officers and staff have worked hard to reduce the use of police custody as a place of safety. This is clearly demonstrated by annual Home Office data, which for the year ending 31 March 2020 shows that a significantly reduced number of 159 people were detained in custody compared to 1,500 in the year ending 31 March 2017.
“As APCC Mental Health and Custody leads, we will continue to make the case nationally that custody is not an appropriate place for people suffering with mental ill health. However, policing cannot solve this problem alone. Early intervention must be prioritised, and health partners should ensure support for those in crisis maintains pace with demand, guaranteeing vulnerable people receive the required care and are not left waiting for hours at a time in police stations.”