Academic journal article British Journal of Community Justice

MP's Select Committee Statement on the Detention of Mentally Ill People in Police Cells

Academic journal article British Journal of Community Justice

MP's Select Committee Statement on the Detention of Mentally Ill People in Police Cells

Article excerpt

In its report on policing and mental health published on 6 February, the Home Affairs Select Committee has said that the prevalence of people with mental health illness in the criminal justice system is a continuing scandal. The detention of children, in particular, must stop immediately. The committee's main findings include:

* The Mental Health Act 1983 should be amended so that police cells are no longer stated as a place of safety for those detained under section 136.

* It is clear that too many NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are failing in their duty to provide enough health-based places of safety that are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and are adequately staffed. CCGs must not only acknowledge local levels of demand and commission suitable health-based places of safety; they must also design local backup policies to deal with situations where places are occupied. CCGs need to provide more "places of safety" in NHS hospitals so the police are not forced into filling the gap.

* The police need to make sure they use their powers in relation to mental health correctly, to reduce the numbers detained and so reduce pressure on both the police and the NHS. …

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