PCC Sue Mountstevens addressing attendees at her Mental Health Conference at The Station in Bristol
Evidence, submitted by Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Sue Mountstevens and Avon and Somerset Constabulary, to the Home Affairs Select Committee on Policing and Mental Health has been published.
The Home Affairs Committee announced in March 2014, an inquiry into Policing and mental health asking for views from members of the public and in particular responses for those in the front-line delivery of mental health care and policing.
Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: “Mental health and Policing is a subject that I am very passionate about. I have always been very vocal that police cells are not an appropriate place for people suffering mental illness.
“For too long people suffering mental health crisis are not receiving the right support, from the right people, in the right place. It is a focus of mine to address this in Avon and Somerset and the recent Mental Health Conference I hosted is enabling us to work closely with partners to develop an action plan.”
In Avon and Somerset in 2012-13, 1086 people were detained under the Mental Health Act and 646 of those ended up in a police cell.
Sue continued: “Reports indicate that responding to the needs of individuals in mental health crisis can account for 20% of police time. When in many cases, many of the individuals need help from health and social care agencies, not the police.”
Speaking at the launch of the inquiry, Rt Hon Keith Vaz MP, Chair of the Committee, said: “A lot of police time and resources are taken up responding to incidents involving people with mental health problems. A person experiencing a crisis might need to be taken to a Place of Safety using the s.136 of the Mental Health Act.”
He continued: “The Committee wants to investigate what can be done to improve the use of police and mental health resources, and reduce the number of people with mental health problems who find themselves in a police cell when they should be in a hospital.”
The announcement of the publication of the evidence comes during Mental Health Awareness Week (12-16 May).
To view the written evidence submitted by the Commissioner and Constabulary click here.
Read more about how PCC Sue Mountstevens is supporting people in mental health crisis in Avon and Somerset here.
Posted on Friday 16th May 2014