Policeman tweets about 16 year old kept in cell because of lack of NHS beds

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: (Published 02 December 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g7408
  1. Jacqui Wise
  1. 1London

The case of a teenage girl with mental health problems who was kept in a police cell for almost two days has again highlighted the strain on mental health services in England.

The 16 year old girl was found a hospital bed only after a policeman spoke out on Twitter, saying it was “unacceptable” that she was being held in police custody because apparently no beds were available.

Paul Netherton, assistant chief constable at Devon and Cornwall Police, tweeted about the case, saying, “Custody on a Fri & Sat night is no place for a child suffering mental health issues,” and, “This can’t be right!”

The girl had been arrested at Torbay Hospital after a breach of the peace on the night of Thursday 27 November, and on Friday lunchtime she was sectioned under the Mental Health Act. NHS England said it had …

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