Legislation to amend the the Mental Health Act 1983 so that police stations are no longer designated as a place of safety for both adults and children detained under section 136 is urgently needed, the President of the Superintendentsâ€™ Association has said.
Many previous reports by HMIC and others, including the Mental Health Joint Inspection Report in 2013, have identified the use of police cells as a serious concern, but none have resulted in any change to legislation. The change to the Mental Health Act that was recently proposed by the Home Office relates only to children.
Responding to the latest HMIC report on the use of police custody for people with mental health problems, Chief Â said:
â€œI have had serious concerns for a long time about the use of police stations as places of safety for vulnerable adults and children with mental health issues. A police cell is simply the wrong place for someone in crisis who needs specialist medical support in a health environment: the practice of using a cell as a place of safety needs to stop.
â€œThe Home Affairs Committee supported this position in its report last month, and I am disappointed that today’s report isnâ€™t more robust on this matter.
â€œIn 2013, HMIC said it would review the position in April 2016, but another year is a year too long to wait for something to be done. Action needs to be taken now to ensure that vulnerable people in our society are treated for being ill, instead of being treated as criminals, and receive the right help in the right place for them. Many other countries around the world are able to do this and itâ€™s time that we did so too.â€