Holding mentally unwell in police cells is ‘damaging practice’

Bristol police held 242 people suffering a mental health crisis in police cells last year, figures from the charity Mind have revealed.

Mind said: “police cells are never an appropriate place for someone in mental health crisis”.

The charity has published statistics showing the number of people held under a section 136 for the period between April 2015 to March 2016.

West Yorkshire police fared worst of the UK’s 44 forces. They held 269 people during the same period, the highest number in the UK.

Paul Farmer, CBE, Chief Executive of Mind said: “When you’re in a mental health crisis, you may become frustrated, frightened and extremely distressed. Your behaviour could be perceived as aggressive and threatening to others, but you desperately need support and compassion. Being held in a police cell and effectively treated like a criminal only makes things worse. Now is the moment to ban this damaging practice once and for all.”

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