Rethink Mental Illness response to HMIC report on people with mental illness held in police cells

A new report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) has warned that many people – including children and young people – experiencing mental health problems are being held in police cells, because of the shortage of appropriate crisis care services available across the country.

In response, Brian Dow, Director of External Affairs for Rethink Mental Illness said:

“It’s scandalous and shameful that thousands of people – including children and young people – experiencing mental health problems are being locked up in police cells. It’s unacceptable that there simply aren’t enough suitable crisis services available across the country, and where they do exist, they are badly underfunded and overstretched.

“This has got to change because it’s costing lives. We need commissioners of local health services to put much greater investment into crisis care, so that anyone experiencing mental health problems can get quality emergency support locally, when they need it. We also want to see more funding for early intervention services, to help people avoid reaching crisis point in the first place. Without that investment, the system will continue to fail people when they are at their most vulnerable.”


For more information or to set up an interview with Brian Dow, please contact Brian Semple, Media Manager for Rethink Mental Illness, on 0207 840 3043 or

Notes to editors

Rethink Mental Illness is a charity that believes a better life is possible for millions of people affected by mental illness.

For over 40 years we have brought people together to support each other. We run services and support groups that change people’s lives and challenge attitudes about mental illness.

We directly support almost 60,000 people every year across England to get through crises, to live independently and to realise they are not alone.

We give information and advice to 500,000 more and we change policy for millions.

For more information go to

Brian Semple
Media Manager
020 7840 3043
Follow me on twitter @SempleSemple