Support for Staffordshire mental health cell campaign
There has been a national call for change following the success of a Staffordshire scheme which saw the number of people with mental health problems being placed in police cells fall by two-thirds.
Staffordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Matthew Ellis, placed pressure on mental health service providers to agree to a protocol that ensured alternatives to custody are in place. This partnership saw the number of people detained in police cells fall by 59%, reports the Express and Star.
Mr Ellis said: “Police custody is fundamentally the wrong place for an individual who is in mental health crisis to be kept if they haven’t committed a crime. We need to stop criminalising people who are simply ill and ensure officers are not tied up with issues they are unqualified to deal with. The ambition for cross-agency working has really taken hold in in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, which has led to a drop of almost two-thirds in mental health detentions in custody. A community triage system, which I initially funded, where mental health professionals work with police officers has proved effective and will now be funded by the NHS going forward. However, there is still work to be done. In recent weeks there have again been Section 136 detentions in police custody in the north of Staffordshire because there was not an NHS bed available. This is simply not acceptable and I am putting pressure on the NHS to address this as a matter of urgency.”
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