Teenagers with a mental illness will no longer be held in police cells

Home secretaryTheresa May Mentally has announced reforms to sections 135 and 136 of theMental Health Act which mean that teenagers with a mental illness will nolonger be held in police cells as a ‘place of safety’.

The joint HomeOffice and Department of Health review also recommends that adults witha mental illness should only be held in a police cell as a place of safety when their behaviour is so extreme theycannot be managed elsewhere, and that the maximum length of detention of someone in mental distress should bereduced from 72 to 24 hours.

The review comes after a 16-year-old girl in Devon was keptin police cells for two days because of a lack of hospital beds.

Home Secretary Theresa May said: “Too frequently it isa police officer who responds to a vulnerable person in crisis, and I amdetermined to put an end to children who are suffering a mental illness beingdetained in police cells.

“There is no place for this in our society. Vulnerablechildren and adults should be treated by police with respect and compassion,but I am very clear that it is the job of health professionals to provide theproper healthcare and support required.”