by: Exeter Express and Echo
published: 13 February 2014
As the family of Thomas Orchard continue to fight for justice after his arrest and death more than a year ago, the force’s new deputy chief constable said now is the right time to address issues surrounding mental health sufferers in police custody.
DCC Bill Skelly has been with Devon and Cornwall Police since December and has refuted claims that they have been slow to respond to growing concerns.
But he accepted a more joined up approach with health providers and social services was needed and acknowledged that some people have had to stay in police custody when it was not the right place for them – simply because they had no-where else to go.
He was speaking as investigations continue into the circumstances around the death of Mr Orchard. The church caretaker was arrested in Exeter city centre in October 2012 and died after losing consciousness at Heavitree Road police station.