Twice as many people are detained in unsuitable police custody for assessment under the Mental Health Act as are taken to hospital by police for this purpose, a report published by the Independent Police Complaints Commission has revealed.

Police Custody as a "Place of Safety" says that between 2005 and 2006, more than 11,500 people were detained in a police cell as a place of safety under section 136 of the Mental Health Act, compared with 5,900 who were taken to and detained in a hospital.

Ian Bynoe, IPCC Commissioner with national responsibility for mental health, said: "Police custody is an unsuitable environment for someone with mental illness and may make their condition worse, particularly if they are not dealt with quickly and appropriately or don't receive the care they need."

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