APCC response to today’s Section 136 data
Matthew Scott PCC, the APCC Portfolio on Mental Health and Custody, has commented on the numbers of police detentions under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act (April 2016 and March 2017), published in today’s Home Office Annual Data Return said:
“The data shows there were 26,328 times last year when a police officer needed to detain someone under Section 136, in the interests of the person’s safety or the safety of others.
“When someone is suffering a mental health crisis is it vital they get the care they need from the right person at the right time, yet in almost 11,000 cases last year a police vehicle was used to transport the detainee to a place of safety. That is not always the best thing for the person – whose condition could be exacerbated by police involvement – and nor is it the best use of finite police resources.
“The Mental Health Act will soon outlaw the use of police cells as a place of safety for young people and this cannot come soon enough. Furthermore, the APCC believes this ban should equally apply to adults so that people in mental health crisis are not finding themselves in custody when there is no need for them to be there.
“However, local NHS providers must also ensure that adequate alternative provision is in place.”