Independent Review: Deaths in Police Custody Debate

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Department: Home Office

Independent Review: Deaths in Police Custody
Sir Edward Davey Excerpts
Monday 30th October 2017

(2 years, 3 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Home Office
Mr Hurd Parliament Live - Hansard
30 Oct 2017, 5:11 p.m.

The hon. Gentleman uses his experience to make a very important point. I am sure that he is aware that additional funding worth some £30 million has been made available to secure alternative places of safety and I welcome that. On his broader point about mental health, he knows that, at long last and as a result of campaigning across the House, more investment is going into mental health. He will also know from talking to his local police force that more and more police time is being spent safeguarding and looking after people with various mental health conditions and that should not be their job. The discussion for us, both at a local and national level, is about responsibility, investment and resources to make sure that those who are suffering on the spectrum of mental health, anxieties and disorders are being treated in the right way and in the right place.

Sir Edward Davey Portrait Sir Edward Davey (Kingston and Surbiton) (LD) - Parliament Live - Hansard
30 Oct 2017, 5:11 p.m.

I thank the Minister for his statement, his personal commitment to following this matter through, and especially the better support for bereaved families. May I take him up on his point about making sure that we find the right places in which to detain people? We have heard about it in respect of people with mental health problems, but I want to press him on the point about those who are intoxicated. Dame Elish makes a very strong recommendation—recommendation 22—that the Government should consider drying-out centres, which international evidence suggests may be safer and cheaper than police custody. What is the Government’s response to that specific recommendation? Could not this idea reduce pressure on the police and A&E and provide a much safer environment for these people?

Mr Hurd Hansard
30 Oct 2017, 5:12 p.m.

I thank the right hon. Gentleman for his point. I am very committed to this matter. Having sat and listened to families talking about their ordeal, it is impossible to leave the room with any sense of neutrality or indifference. This is the moment when we must drive change. On his point about drying-out centres and alternative places of safety and support, the Government must be open minded. If there are good examples of places where that works, and the evidence supports it, we must consider it. That will be something that we take to the ministerial council, which has been charged with the follow-up to this review.