Minister visits Crawley Police Station and Langley Green Hospital

From left, Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne and Karen Bradley MP
From left, Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne and Karen Bradley MP

The Minister for Preventing Abuse, Exploitation and Crime has visited Crawley Police Station and Langley Green Hospital.

Karen Bradley MP was given a tour of the town’s facilities on Friday ahead of today’s (Monday February 8) Home Office announcement of proposed restrictions to the use of police cells for people arrested under the Mental Health Act.

A Home Office statement said the changes would ban using police cells to keep under 18s safe and restrict the use to keep adults safe to “exceptional circumstances”.

Karen Bradley MP said: “The best place for people experiencing a mental health crisis is a healthcare setting, and those experiencing mental health problems should receive specialist care and support from healthcare professionals, rather than police officers.

“Too often and for far too long, vulnerable people experiencing a mental health crisis who have committed no crime have found themselves in a police cell because there is nowhere else to go.

“These measures will ensure a police cell is truly a place of last resort for vulnerable people experiencing mental health crises. Nobody wins when the police are sent to look after people with mental health problems; vulnerable people people don’t get the care they need and deserve, and the police can’t get on with the job they are trained to do.”

PC Chris Berke’s duties include responding to mental health-related calls in the Crawley area with a metal health nurse as part a scheme called ‘street triage’.

He said: “I’ve arrested people under section 136 of the Mental Health Act.

“If they’ve not committed a crime is the police cell really the most appropriate place? It can cause further distress.

“Very rarely now do we need custody unless someone is exceptionally violent.”

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