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PCC's aspiration to have no mental health detainees in police custody

Sue on a bench

PCC Sue Mountstevens

To mark World Mental Health Day, Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Sue Mountstevens outlines her aspirations that no individual will be detained within police custody under s136 from April 2014.

In a letter, sent to the Clinical Commissioning Group, Ms Mountstevens wrote that ‘once the transfer to new police custody centres in Bridgwater, Keynsham and Patchway is complete, I hope no individual will be detained under S136 of the Mental Health Act 1983’.

The announcement comes following the publication of a joint report by the PCC and Chief Constable ‘Our Financial Future’ which makes reference to the number of Mental Health Act cases in custody in Avon and Somerset.

Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: “On World Mental Health Day I want to take the opportunity to reiterate that a police cell is not an appropriate place for someone suffering mental health problems and it is our duty of care to ensure that those who are mentally unwell receive the help and support they need in order to get better.

“All custody sergeants and detention officers receive tailored training in Mental Health however they are not qualified to the extent of a paramedic, nurse or doctor whose primary role is to manage the welfare of patients.

“Far too often those most vulnerable are placed in cells because there are no other safe places to go. Working together with partners, Health and Wellbeing Boards and Clinical Commissioning Groups I hope we can change the outlook, not only police custody but also for those experiencing mental health problems.”

The total number of people detained under the Mental Health Act and detained in police cells in 2012/13 was 646.

The landscape for custody is changing in Avon and Somerset as the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) custody centres are set to open in Patchway, Keynsham and Bridgwater in April 2014.

As a result custody provision and service is under the spotlight as the Commissioner and Constabulary are consulting, encouraging you to have your say on scoping the future of custody services.

To have your say visit http://www.consultation.avonandsomerset.police.uk/

 

Posted on Thursday 10th October 2013
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