HAMPSHIRE’S Police and Crime Commissioner has called on the NHS to do more to ensure patients with mental illnesses are not detained in police cells unnecessarily.
Simon Hayes spoke out after appearing on a BBC Panorama called Locked Up For Being Ill? last night which was filmed in Hampshire.
Mr Hayes said police regularly have to detain mental health patients when they should be being dealt with by psychiatric professionals.
He said: ‘The issues are two-fold. One is the treatment of mental health patients and what is the best treatment for them – clearly it’s not in a custody cell. The second issue is how much time and therefore financial cost as well the police incur in dealing with mental health patients to keep them safe. At the end of the day the patient is not getting any treatment when they are in a cell.’
He added: ‘I think the NHS needs to make greater provision for mental health beds, particularly out of hours.
‘They need to consider the pilot project we have been running on the Isle of Wight, that’s having a mental health professional in a police car to support patients when they need it so it’s a more immediate response.’