juliamulliganPeople detained by police under the Mental Health Act in North Yorkshire will no longer be held in cells.

North Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Julia Mulligan (pictured) said the county's first "place of safety" for patients would open in Scarborough in October.

Secure hospital environment
The facility run by healthcare professionals will provide a secure hospital environment rather than the current system which saw some patients being held in police cells for up to 24 hours without the necessary care.

According to figures from the PCC, 426 people were detained by police under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act in North Yorkshire last year.

Unacceptable levels of risk & distress
Ms Mulligan said the current system meant people were being "exposed to unacceptable levels of risk and distress".

"We do have quite a lot of people in cells who should be in hospital," she said. "Our new places of safety will mean people being held by police under the Mental Health Act can be treated quickly by health professionals in hospital."

Overjoyed at planned introduction
David Smith, the chief executive of the mental health charity York Mind, said he was "overjoyed" at the planned introduction of "places of safety" but was worried about a lack of detail in the proposal.

A further two "places of safety" are planned to open in North Yorkshire before April next year.