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Police Cells Used as a Place of Safety Under the Mental Health Act Since 2014

Question

How many times each year in each of the past three years between May and April have police cells been used as a place of safety under the Mental Health Act? And can you tell me how many were juveniles and adults, how many were male and female, and how many were black and of Asian descent?

Answer

Please see the tables below for the total number of detentions in custody under section 136 of the Mental Health Act.

Since June 2016, Avon and Somerset Constabulary have prohibited use of Police cells for those aged under 18 years and who have been detained under the Mental Health Act 1983 in any circumstances. For those aged over 18 years, the Constabulary will only permit the use of Police cells for those detained under the Mental Health Act 1983 in exceptional circumstances – circumstances in which they cannot otherwise be safely managed in a health-based setting due to a high degree of agitation or aggression.

This policy is shortly to be reflected in law when sections of the Policing and Crime Act 2017 (which will amend elements of the Mental Health Act 1983) will be enacted.

Since Avon and Somerset Constabulary introduced this policy, there has been a dramatic drop in the use of Police cells for those in crisis. Between June 2016 and the present, just five people have been accepted into Police custody. The Constabulary intrusively monitors these occurrences to ensure that cells remain an option in the exceptional circumstances referred to above.

May 2014 – April 2015

Total

Of which are

 

Male

Female

under 18

over 18

black/asian

May-14

1

1

0

1

0

0

Jun-14

1

0

1

1

0

0

Jul-14

27

18

9

1

26

2

Aug-14

21

13

8

1

20

1

Sep-14

17

12

5

3

14

2

Oct-14

14

8

6

1

13

2

Nov-14

14

8

6

3

11

0

Dec-14

17

10

7

0

17

1

Jan-15

19

11

8

1

18

4

Feb-15

26

11

15

1

25

4

Mar-15

21

7

14

0

21

2

Apr-15

24

14

10

0

24

1

May 2015 – April 2016

Total

Of which are

 

Male

Female

under 18

over 18

black/asian

May-15

41

24

17

1

40

3

Jun-15

19

10

9

2

17

3

Jul-15

38

17

21

1

37

2

Aug-15

12

7

5

0

12

2

Sep-15

8

3

5

0

8

0

Oct-15

14

9

5

0

14

0

Nov-15

16

9

7

0

16

2

Dec-15

16

10

6

0

16

1

Jan-16

23

14

9

0

23

1

Feb-16

10

6

4

0

10

1

Mar-16

12

10

2

0

12

0

Apr-16

13

5

8

0

13

0

May 2016 – April 2017

Total

Of which are

 

Male

Female

under 18

over 18

black/asian

May-16

20

11

9

 

20

0

Jun-16

0

0

0

0

0

0

Jul-16

2

1

1

0

2

1

Aug-16

1

1

0

0

1

0

Sep-16

1

1

0

0

1

1

Oct-16

0

0

0

0

0

0

Nov-16

0

0

0

0

0

0

Dec-16

0

0

0

0

0

0

Jan-17

0

0

0

0

0

0

Feb-17

0

0

0

0

0

0

Mar-17

0

0

0

0

0

0

Apr-17

1

0

0

0

0

0

FOI reference: 629/17.

Date of request: 15.05.17.