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Mental Health(2014_19)


1) Please state the number of occasions your force detained a person in a police cell under the Mental Health Act in each of the following years:


  1. a) 2014
  2. b) 2015
  3. c) 2016
  4. d) 2017
  5. e) 2018
  6. f) 2019 to 28.01.19.


For each case, please provide:


  1. i) The age and sex of the person detained
  2. ii) The length of time (hours and mins) they were detained

iii) If they were held in a cell overnight


3) Where a person has been held on more than one occasion in a police cell over the period of the request, please provide the number of occasions that person was held.


This could be provided by stating the number of occasions that a person has been held, paired to a unique identifier to represent the person (person 1, person 2 etc.) as this would not reveal any personal data.


3) For incidents in the last six months to 28.01.19, please provide the free text description of the incident held in your recording system.




We can search for where ‘Mental health’ was one of the reasons for arrest. However, it should be highlighted that frequently people are initially arrested for other offences, e.g. assault or damage and it is then identified that they have mental health issues. It is quite unusual for people to be brought into custody purely on the grounds of mental health issues as policy dictates that they are taken to a place of safety. If you are looking for people who have been brought into custody instead of being taken to a place of safety this data will not supply this


We cannot determine whether a person has been held in custody previously as they are given a new custody reference number each time they are detained.


We cannot say if people have been held overnight without interrogating each record and knowing what the requester’s description of ‘overnight’ means.



For your first point, persons detained under the mental health act are taken to police cells on some occasions, where this is the only place of safety available due to a lack of an acute mental health unit place, as well on occasions and sectioned as a result of committing an offence where this offence is deemed to be mental health related. Can you please provide data on how many times this has occurred?


For your second point, you could complete a name match internally to provide this data, anonymising it before release, to provide this information.


For your third point, I would define overnight as being for a period of four hours or more between two days.


Please find attached our response.


Please note that these data should be interpreted with caution. Comparing numbers of incidents/crimes can be misleading and does not necessarily indicate the likelihood of someone being a victim of crime. In addition, the number of incidents/crimes recorded in an area over a period of time can be influenced by a number of factors. Consequently statistics on incidents/crimes for one period may not necessarily be a good indicator of future incidents in that area.


Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from a number of data sources used by forces for police purposes. The detail collected to respond specifically to your request is subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large scale recording system. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when interpreting those data.


The figures provided therefore are our best interpretation of relevance of data to your request, but you should be aware that the collation of figures for ad hoc requests may have limitations and this should be taken into account when those data are used