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Commenting on Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) report - A criminal use of police cells? Police & Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: “It is completely inappropriate that people with mental health issues are being taken into police custody particularly when they have not committed a crime. Far too often those most vulnerable are placed in cells because there are no other safe places to go.
“Last year 646 people were detained in police cells under section 136 of the Mental Health Act and 44% were there because their local hospital based place of safety was full. In Bristol, North Somerset, South Gloucestershire and Bath and North East Somerset there is one hospital based place of safety for a population of 1.1 million people. This is not acceptable.
“I am glad that Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) is highlighting this appalling situation. I hope that health organisations and social services review HMIC’s recommendations and act upon them.
“I would like to see urgent progress on matching capacity with demand. It is not right that nearly one in two people arrested under section 136 are being placed in a police cell. I am keen to work with Health and Wellbeing Boards and Clinical Commissioning Groups on this issue.”