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More joined up approach to mental health needed, says Commissioner

Cambridgeshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Sir Graham Bright, has welcomed the spotlight of World Mental Health Day, saying that more must be done to prevent those suffering mental ill health ending up in police care.

Sir Graham said: “I am quite clear that police cells are not an appropriate place for those with mental health problems and I want to see partner agencies working much more closely together to ensure these people receive the right care, at the right time and in the right place. Too much of our officers’ time is taken up dealing with people they are ill equipped to deal with and should instead be dealt with by other professionals in a place other than police custody.

“This is a national concern and one about which I am engaging with the Home Secretary. I want to see local authorities, the health service and the police working much more closely together on this issue and am working hard to raise awareness through my contacts within the county.”

Responding to a recent study suggesting that people with mental illness are three times more likely to be victims of crime than the general population, Sir Graham said:

“I am equally keen to ensure that people who are victims of crime with mental illness feel well supported and taken seriously by all authorities concerned. These people can feel exceptionally vulnerable at what is a very low time in their lives – they must have an equal right to justice.

“I welcome the spotlight that World Mental Health Day shines on these very serious issues and will continue to work tirelessly to promote a more joined up approach.”