Use of police cells as safe environments investigated

Research into the use of police cells as places of safety for
people detained under the Mental Health Act will be carried out by
the Independent Police Complaints Commission, writes
Sally Gillen.

Deputy chair of the body John Wadham said they were “no
substitute for psychiatric hospitals,” adding the IPCC would
like to see more places available in secure psychiatric units for
peopled detained by the police.

“Cell blocks can keep somebody safe in the sense of
‘under lock and key’ but they cannot provide the
skilled medical care that a mentally ill person needs,” said

He added that it was a “concern” that only one in 10
Accident and Emergency staff has any formal training about section
136 of the Mental Health Act, which allows people to be detained at
a place of safety.

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