North Yorkshire mental health safety units delayed

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The opening of North Yorkshire's first "place of safety" units for people with mental health problems has been postponed.

The county is the only place in England not to have facilities for people who are detained by police under the Mental Health Act.

Units in Scarborough and York were expected to open this month but have been delayed until January.

The county's crime commissioner said the problem was due to planning issues.

Julia Mulligan, North Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), said she was "disappointed" by the hold up.

She said the delay in opening the unit in York at Bootham Park Hospital was down to the building's Grade I-listed status.

"They have to get planning permission to make alterations and there has been some issues with that, " said Ms Mulligan.

"It is going before the planning authority at the beginning of next month and then it is a four-week build process to make the alterations from then on in."

According to figures from the PCC, 426 people were detained by police under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act in North Yorkshire last year.

Under the current system many were held in police cells.

Janet Probert from the NHS commissioning groups in North Yorkshire said it was important that people with mental health problems were assessed by specialist staff.

She said: "The options at the moment are to take them to a police station or an accident and emergency department. "Neither of those environments are ideal for somebody with a mental health problem."

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