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Police cells 'not suitable' for the mentally ill, says Dorset's PCC
3:58pm Friday 13th September 2013 in News
DORSET’S Police and Crime Commissioner is calling for health professionals to patrol with police officers.
It comes after Home Secretary Theresa May said that police officers across the country spend one fifth of their hours on duty dealing with people who are mentally ill.
Dorset PCC Martyn Underhill said he wants to see fewer people with mental health disorders detained in police custody as a ‘place of safety’.
He said: “I will never accept that a police cell is a suitable place for a person in total crisis.
“In Dorset and across the country, the NHS needs to provide enough suitable ‘places of safety’ in every area.”
He added: “In relation to people with mental health issues committing crime, Dorset is ahead of the game.
We have mental health professionals working in our cellblocks to help support and assess those who are brought into custody.”
Mr Underhill also called for greater co-operation between the NHS and the police, and for the creation of a street triage service where mental health nurses accompany police officers to incidents.
In the comments made in his online blog, Mr Underhill stated that he and other PCCs have written to the Home Secretary on the matter, and that he is exploring whether PCCs, the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and the Police Federation could work together to lobby the government.
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