Essex Police Report

Hi guys, just a quick one today.

The Yellow Advertiser released an article regarding a government report about the custody units used by Essex Police. The article can be found here:

http://www.yellowad.co.uk/article.cfm?id=126970

Amongst the issues raised was the fact that the police use cells to hold people detained under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act on a too frequent basis.

Now, for those of you that don’t know, when a person in detained they should be taken to a 136 Suite which is a super safe place where the staff will look after them until their needs are properly assessed. As the article correctly states there are four such sites located within the county yet due to high demand and limited beds these 136 suites are often full.

If there isn’t a 136 suite available then the detainee will be brought into police custody. For all intents and purposes it works. They are in a safe location and are under the constant observation of the staff who work there. It’s not ideal though as the detainee may think they are in trouble and police cells, I would imagine, aren’t a particularly nice place to be at the best of times.

Why would the report and subsequent article condemn the police for doing their best to look after someone though? Surely if anything we should be focusing on the lack of 136 suites? I know there are four locations and money is tight but surely if supply can not meet demand for a medical facility then we should be able to create more 136 suites?

What about when a person is taken off of 136 and properly sectioned? The lack of beds in psychiatric wards in hospitals across the country means that people are pushed from pillar to post. They may have to be transferred to hospitals miles away from home not only causing stress for them but stress and expense for their families!

I understand that money doesn’t grow on trees and the government have to budget appropriately but using police cells because the hospitals are full just shouldn’t be a problem that we are facing.

The police are doing the best job they can at keeping people safe, as are the staff in 136 Suites and other psychiatric facilities. The government need to sort out some sort of budget for mental health services though. If that means privatising the NHS then so be it but they can’t keep playing with people’s lives as they are. I’m sure the police are fed up with having to give up their cells to people who really shouldn’t be there too!

Sorry if this came across as a bit of a ranty thread. I just know that the people on the front lines are doing their absolute best. It seems unfair to blame them for the idiocy of their leaders.

Thanks for reading.

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