Mental health patients held in Kent police cells

Police cell Kent Police said since last June it had detained 34 people under the Mental Health Act

Related Stories

Mentally-ill people are being held too long in police cells in Kent due to delays in assessments by the NHS.

Kent Police's assistant chief constable said some people with serious mental health issues had waited more than eight hours to be seen.

The force's chief constable has asked health officials to address the issue.

The mental health trust for Kent said it was working with the police to try to limit the duration of assessments.

Kent and Medway NHS Social Care Partnership Trust said it aimed to provide "an effective and responsive service" to ensure that patients were seen swiftly.

'Place of safety'

However, when people were under the influence of drink or drugs, the assessment had to be postponed until the effects had reduced, it added.

In a statement, it said in the past year the trust had assessed 1,032 people at its five units across the county but "on occasion, people may have to be assessed in other locations, and these may include police custody suites".

Kent Police said it had detained 34 people under the Mental Health Act between June 2012 and the end of last month - 13 of whom were held in police custody suites or cells for more than eight hours as they waited for specialist NHS teams to assess them.

Assistant Chief Constable Paul Brandon said: "We have to take them to a police station as a place of safety, albeit a last resort we seem to be increasingly using them.

"And then obviously when they are there we have responsibility because of their vulnerability, almost in most cases, to give constant supervision, tying up police officers whilst we wait for the various assessments to be conducted."

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC Kent

Weather

Canterbury

20 °C 14 °C

Features

  • HandshakeKiss and make up

    A marriage counsellor on healing the referendum hurt


  • Pellet of plutoniumRed alert

    The scary element that helped save the crew of Apollo 13


  • Burnt section of the Umayyad Mosque in the old city of AleppoBefore and after

    Satellite images reveal Syria's heritage trashed by war


  • Woman on the phone in office10 Things

    The most efficient break is 17 minutes, and more nuggets


  • Amir TaakiDark market

    The bitcoin wallet with controversial users


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.