Mental health cases in custody should be axed

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THE police and crime commissioner has backed a call to prevent police cells from being used for people with mental health problems.

Hampshire’s Simon Hayes is supporting a Home Affairs Select Committee’s recommendation to change the Mental Health Act 1983.

The committee wants to amend the law so cells cannot be used as a place of safety.

It comes as Mr Hayes wants to stop this use by April.

He said: ‘Soon after coming into office I expressed my concerns nationally that those suffering mental health illness were wrongly taken into police custody.

‘This latest news from the Home Affairs Select Committee is most welcome and the government should recognise the importance to act on the recommendations in the report, not only in the interests of the patient, but also the drain it places on dwindling police resources.’

He has worked with the NHS to cut the number of people kept in cells for this reason.