Children held in police cells under Mental Health Act

originally by: BBC News
published: 18 November 2012

Children as young as 11 were held in police cells in England and Wales in 2011 because officers thought they were mentally ill, the BBC has learned. There were 347 such detentions, some for more than 24 hours, figures show.

The Mental Health Act lets police take anyone they suspect of being mentally ill in “need of care or control” to a safe place for assessment. The Department for Health said it was developing better procedures to ensure young people get appropriate care.

The Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) says, in some parts of the UK, cells are the only option.

The figures, revealed for the first time by a Freedom of Information request to police, show that two forces locked up one child each for more than 24 hours.

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